Insights into these Shoes' Soul

Welcome to our blog! You'll get glimpses into the fabric of our lives... find out what is happening in our family, learn what our latest adjustment is to life in the US, find out what is going on in our minds, see what makes us smile, and hear what makes us tick. You'll also get ministry updates! We hope these insights into our souls will make you smile, keep you informed and challenge you to pray for us.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A tragic death in the family

It’s hard to adequately explain how we felt when we got the phone call early April 11 from my sister, Brandi, telling us that our sister, Marti’s, youngest, Jonathan, had unexpectedly died during the night.  He was 27.  We were speechless, stunned, shocked.  J loved life and lived it out loud.  And he was suddenly gone.  An accidental overdose of prescription cough medicine.

Dan and I had returned the night before after a 5 day ministry trip to Jacksonville, FL.  After crying with Marti on the phone, we quickly did our laundry, re-packed, stopped by the office for a few minutes and headed north to be with Marti, Frank and the rest of the family in Columbia, SC.  [Devon had to work and Dawn was in school and also had work.  Neither were able to make it to South Carolina.]

Wordless hugs, crying and laughing at funny memories.  We were there for support and help in any way we could.  We cleaned the house, cleaned the kitchen after meals that were brought in – and only somewhat eaten, and ran errands.  As reality set in they set about putting together a funeral, a time of spiritual comfort, that would minister to the family as well as a time of remembrance and memorial that would show honor and respect of J where he was in life, something that his very large circle of friends would feel free to attend.  It was a delicate balance.  Marti and Frank were able to find that balance with a service that had 2 parts, giving people the freedom to attend one or the other or both.  Almost everyone attended both.

They brought many items from his childhood, his teenage years, as well as things from his house to chronicle his life, his many interests and the many things he did to the funeral home.  People were able to have a good insight into his life and who he was.  It was very well done…and heart wrenching to look at and realize that he was not there anymore. 

There were over 300 people at the funeral.  The chapel had standing room only; they even opened the doors and had people standing outside on the sidewalks listening to the service.  J touched many lives.  We were surprised to hear that he didn’t have any friends – he had best friends.  Many, many best friends.  We didn’t have much of a chance to get to know him because of our living overseas for so long as well as the fact that he lived several states away.  But we got to know him at the service.  Made us even more sad that we hadn’t had the chance to get to know him better in life.

We were there to give comfort with our presence.  I pray that we were able to accomplish that.

This is J (in the red) with his sister Rachel (in the purple), her husband, Rusty, and his oldest sister, Rebecca (in the blue). 

J and his sisters, 2008Here is his obituary.

Jonathan “Jonny” Corey Howard Bedell, or simply “J” to his family, age 27, passed away unexpectedly early Thursday morning, April 11, 2013. The celebration of Jonathan’s life will be Sunday, April 14 at Dunbar Funeral Home located at 7600 Woodrow St. Irmo, SC 29063. There will be a worship service beginning at 3:00 pm, followed by an opportunity to share stories and memories at 3:45. Bring your fondest memories of Jonathan to share.  There will also be an opportunity to leave Jonathan with your private written goodbyes. Visitation will take place between 5:00 and 7:00. Please join us for all of these events or any one event that fits your style.

Born in Columbia, South Carolina, on December 18, 1985, Jonathan was the third child born of Frank and Marti Cosper Bedell. J is survived by his sisters, Rebecca Hughes (Tim) of Florida and Rachel McKie (Rusty) of Tennessee.  J loved his niece, Alissa Hughes, and his new nephew, Justus McKie.  Jonny is also survived by his life partner, Amauri Almanza of Columbia, who is also loved by the entire Bedell family. Jonathan comes from a large extended family and will be missed greatly by his many aunts, uncles, cousins, niece and nephew and his grandparents, Cliff and Prue Bedell and Mary Anne Cosper.

Jonny brought joy, love, and friendship to scores of people around the world. An explorer at heart, Jonny was able to study in Scotland for his junior year of college. He loved to hike the Scottish trails, particularly Hadrian’s Wall and, most recently, the Great Glen Way.

Jonny was a runner who ran for many different reasons.  Sometimes he ran to be physically fit, to accompany a friend, or simply for the finisher’s medal.  He ran several half as well as full marathons. He was spontaneous and at times entered these races with little or no preparation, but  he always completed them.

Jonathan was unusually compassionate, both to people, especially the hurting or the underdog, and to animals, the injured and the orphaned. As a young man, he volunteered at Carolina Wildlife, Inc. for many years, later working part time for them until his passing. His work included  the at-home care of preemie squirrels known as “pinkies”. His dedication to these small animals was such that he would stay up all night tending to their needs.  His love for animals was further evident in the special bond he had with his cat Puffy Face, who was his best friend for sixteen years. His unique love for cats continued as he and Amauri took in three cats that needed a home: Alistar, Cotton and Robert, as well as two “porch” cats, Bobbin and Nubin.

Dreaming and planning for the future brought joy to Jonny. He enjoyed traveling immensely - many times overseas - doing projects around the house, and making trips with friends, just to name a few. At the time of his passing, he was eagerly saving all his coins in a large jar labeled “Cruise”.

His friends were  of paramount importance to Jonny. He showed his love for his friends through countless self-giving ways. He loved Facebook, and we all will miss his many informative and humorous posts. It brought Jonny great happiness to cook his favorite Indian dish for his friends and family. He also enjoyed a monthly supper club. It was a delight to Jonny to work at “sbux”, where he made many friends on both sides of the counter. In addition, he was loved by his coworkers at SCDEW.

Jonathan was kind, empathetic, smart, tenacious, passionate, and loved others deeply. He never missed an opportunity to say “I love you”. Since he was a child,  his favorite response to his mom’s “I love you” was “I love you more”.

Cherish and share the good memories forever. Jonathan, J, Jonny- you will always own a piece of our heart.

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