Are you better, Bob?



Bob Jewel was transferred to Bourbonnais, IL to manage the local Wal Mart. We met him when he came to church and loved him instantly.  His smile was infectious. He loved the Lord and became a servant for him.


He would play his guitar and sing at the bonfires and hayrides we had at our house.  When he and Sandy married,  our sons were part of the wedding party. He was a friend and my brother in Christ.


At a very young age Bob developed ALS. Even though it took over his body, it never took over his relationship to God and his family.  That dedication inspired this eulogy.


"Are You Better, Bob?"


Bob had ALS. I had the blessing of his company on Wednesdays. We would share stories, laughter, tears, movies, and scriptures.


One day while I was with Bob his mother, who has dementia, came to visit.  While many of her thoughts are unorganized she has one small, be it ever so slightly connection to reality.  She knows her son is sick and wants to see him.  Her daughter, Cindy makes the 3 hour trip from Peoria to bring her to see Bob. I have been to Peoria several times and enjoyed the drive there admiring the scenery, but after spending just ten minutes with Bob's mother, I could only imagine how long the ride was for Cindy and admired her for taking this journey.


His mom repeats every sentence 3 times in a loud voice.  But, I couldn't help but to notice that every 5th sentence or so is a question asked by a loving, concerned, mother.


"Are you better Bob?' "Are you better Bob?" "Are you better Bob?"


She is unaware of the delicious egg salad that Sandy, Bob's wife, prepared for them, but is proud of the drink she is holding from a stop on the trip to see Bob. She proceeds to tell everyone about it several times. 


"Are you better Bob?" "Are you better Bob?" "Are you better Bob?"


There are three generations visiting in the kitchen who are no longer going through the "normal" stages of life.  Bob's mother took care of him when he was young, and one day Bob would be helping to care for her.  But he will not, for he cannot care for himself. Bob helped raise twin sons who are now in college.  When he is older his sons would help to take care of him.  But they will not be taking care of him in his old age, they are taking care of him now. 


"Are you better Bob?" "Are you better Bob?" "Are you better Bob?"


Yet, with all the upheaval of the everyday life of this family, they are so normal. They question God, but have faith in God. They rejoice in the happy memories and cry for the memories that will not be.  They sacrifice their time, they long for their time. They become angry at all that is happening; they become stronger from all that is happening.


"Are you better Bob?" "Are you better Bob?" "Are you better Bob?"


Bob's mom walks around the room leaving for work because it is pay day. She walks to a bedroom trying to find Cindy as she is convinced it is time to awaken her.  She walks over to Bob's bed to show him a picture she made for him in Art Therapy, a class offered in the facility where she lives.


"Are you better Bob?" "Are you better Bob?" "Are you better Bob?"


As a mother, my heart went out to Bob's mother that day. She may not totally understand what all has happened. But, if she as that one ever so slightly connection to reality again, I pray she knows that yes....


"Bob is better now." "Bob is better now." "Bob is better now."



In memory of Bob Jewel 11/9/59 -- 10/11/14.


Dedicated to my sister in Christ, Sandy Jewel.


Read Psalms 23 as that was one of Bob's favorite bible readings.


©Melinda Sutherland, 10/1/2016








Direct Page Link
Powered By
Click here to host your
own church web site today!