Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Remembering Jim

It might seem like a strange thing to say, but today I attended the best funeral. Jim Teskey was friends with my dad "back in the day". Years later, after Jim had married Lynda and Dave had married Ellen and they had 6 kids between them, the Teskey and the Mills clans would hang out.

There were games nights and camping excursions, campfires with smores and watching movies on a BETA player at the Teskeys!! Jason and John were older than me - more the age of my siblings. So as the "older kids" got older, I was left tagging along with the adults. I didn't mind. Lynda didn't have a daughter and is definitely a girly-girl so having me around was like a surrogate daughter for her. We had lots of good times.

Memories of the Teskeys:
  • hearing stories of the trouble Jim & Dad used to stir up
  • camping at United Church Camp
  • pop and chip parties
  • seeing "The Nations"
  • Jim's ever-present suspenders
  • going to London Dairy
  • JIMLYN licence plate
  • Jim's love of the song "Lynda...Do You Wanna Dance" (and inspiration for me singing it almost every time I see her)
Jim was an easy-going, laid-back kind of a guy and a big ole teddy bear. He had a permanent post outside the back door at church where he would greet everyone going in. After giving him a hug and opening the door, you'd find Lynda inside asking where her hug was! He was the first person I knew that had hearing aids and I remember his constant leaning in and saying "eh?". He loved to joke with people and had a constant smirk on his face and twinkle in his eye.

We were all sad to hear that Jim had developed leukemia and even more sad when we learned that his days with us on earth were numbered. I went to see Jim one week ago. Lynda and I had a little cry when I got there, but she informed me that Jim didn't want any of that. In his last days he wanted all laughter and good memories and true to his word, he was still joking around as he sat on the edge of the bed.

The comforting thing about today is that Jim planned every last detail. He didn't want any suits and ties at his funeral...dress comfortably, casually and wear suspenders if you can. (Jim's trademark) The sanctuary today was a sea of suspenders :) Jim was able to ask each pallbearer, personally, if they would do the honour. He picked the music and scripture. The service was the most uplifting and inspirational funerals I have seen. It has "Jim" written all over it. My favourite details:
  • the family entered to the sounds of The Grundy County Auction
  • Jim exited to Louisiana Saturday Night
  • singing "I'll Fly Away" and "When We All Get To Heaven"
  • the poignant words of his sons
  • the pastor in a golf shirt
  • playing his & Lynda's song "Lay Me Down" by Conway Twitty (who else would play this song at a funeral? I was a puddle)
  • the funeral procession passing their house and the purple truck parked out front
  • the squirt guns pulled out at the grave site!
During the service, they played a song called "Jesus Laughing". The pastor explained this is how Lynda saw Jim entering heaven. As I listened to the song, I could picture Jim walking up to Jesus and asking what took so long or something of the like. It was such a great mental image to think that he is in a better place with those that have gone before us. So many times at funerals we get caught up in how we are feeling and how we will miss our loved one but Jim made the most graceful exit of anyone I know.


Laurie said...

THAT is a GREAT POST! Wow, I want my funeral to be like Jim's! What a GREAT celebration of a the life of obviously a wonderful man and not only this but truly a celebration of his love for everyone he knew and his wife! Thanks Janice. If we all could have such a wonderful entrance into heaven.

Lynda Teskey said...

My sweet Pgirl....You have blessed my heart with such a tribute and through loving tears I write to you. The memories...oh such sweet memories. All the times we shared over the years...lots of good times. And good times still to come. Thank you so very very much. I've printed off your blog tribute to share with all who will listen. So glad your feelings about Jim's service were as we had hoped...letting everyone laugh, sharing treasured memories, teachable scripture and fun music. He was such a wonderful loving guy n will be greatly missed by many. Love you much and BIG THANKS.