Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Last year an amazing family came into our lives. And when I say family, I mean a whole extended family of grandparents, children, and grandchildren. This family touches everyone in their path with kindness, generosity, friendship, encouragement, and many other blessings.

If you ask them, these compassionate qualities were instilled within them and modeled by their husband, father, and grandfather, Dennis Jaasma. A thermodynamics professor at Virginia Tech, Dennis made an impact on his students, friends, local mechanics, church youth in the nursery, those in Young Life, and on all others with whom he came into contact. He was also the world expert on wood stoves, I believe. Any case that needed an expert witness in this area called upon his expertise. He was a truly wonderful and inspirational man.

When I met him in September of last year, he deeply impacted me, as well. He was eight years into his journey with Alzheimers and was only 62 years old. Always smiling, laughing, and singing, Dennis was a true example of how our soul renews each day. I was fortunate to spend ten months by his side almost every day and he affected me for the better.

It's very hard for me to articulate his impact on me. I've been struggling to put words to my feelings for and time with Dennis and I think I've come to determine that it's just one of those un-speak-a-bles that can only be felt with the heart.

Tuesday, in the company of his wife, children, and grandchildren, Dennis went home. Our hearts ache for the life that ended too soon and for the disease that impacted those last years. Dennis leaves a beautiful legacy in his family and with those who came into contact with him during any of his sixty-two years. We can have HOPE that he is in heaven and now is reunited with his brother and parents.

Rest in peace, Dennis Roy Jaasma.
Blacksburg is missing one of its finest, kindest people.

And, his favorite song was "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel. One of my favorite songs.... great taste and quite appropriate.

When you're weary 
Feeling small 
When tears are in your eyes 
I will dry them all 

I'm on your side 
When times get rough 
And friends just can't be found 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 

When you're down and out 
When you're on the street 
When evening falls so hard 
I will comfort you 

I'll take your part 
When darkness comes 
And pain is all around 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 

Sail on Silver Girl, 
Sail on by 
Your time has come to shine 
All your dreams are on their way 

See how they shine 
If you need a friend 
I'm sailing right behind 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will ease your mind 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will ease your mind


  1. I'm sorry, Kathe. Gee, this is the year of losing some very incredible men.... You and this family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. I send my love to you and Jim. I know you were such a loving caregiver. He blessed you. You blessed him.