December 9th 1997 was a crisp night in north Texas complete with a star-studded sky. It was the annual Christmas party for the large auto dealership I where I worked as a manager.
My wife and I dressed in our best and drove out west to a beautiful country club where we visited with friends and started to make new ones. A good meal was shared by all, it was indeed a good evening. J had picked out a Christmas present for me to buy her the following week from the club house gift shop. (A custom I still follow…)
The night was so beautiful we decided to take a longer route home to stretch the time of holding hands like newly weds and good conversation. We talked of our future and how blessed we were to be debt free, have a new job with a $12,000 annual raise, and only a few short miles from home. I will never forget that Tuesday night…
Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call from a neighbor, “Hurry home, the paramedics are with Jeanine”. I drove the 6 miles home knowing somehow that J was gone. My fears were confirmed when later that evening, a doctor came into the room and said, “I’m sorry Mr. Ogle, we couldn’t bring her back”.
Seventeen of the happiest years of my life ended with a gapping hole in my life that was loud and glaring and couldn’t be avoided. When I came home from work a deafening silence overwhelmed me. Late at night I waited for her boisterous laughter as she watched “I Love Lucy” or some other old sit-com. ….Only silence.
I’ll never forget the day I finally removed my wedding band. Inside was engraved our initials and the date of our marriage. I had never had it off for over 17 years, but I was not married now. She was not coming back….it was….final.
In the providence of God I met and married Carol who had lost a husband a few months before I lost J. Not very long after we were married she mentioned to me that she would like to reach out to people in grief, to walk along side them, to listen, to encourage, and to bring hope.
In September we will begin the last part of our eighth year of hosting grief groups. We have met some wonderful people, hurting, confused, angry, desperate, hopeless, and helpless, but each one precious to God, and hopefully to us. There have been great victories, healing has happened over and over again, and we have seen wrinkled brows and sad mouths change to warm smiles and tears of joy.
Along the way we met John and Maggie Dobbs. They lost their son, John Robert, just before he was to graduate high school. Even while they were and are still grieving the loss of their son, and John’s step-father, they care for others deeply. So, we are now a team. Carol and I are delighted to minister alongside John and Maggie as we continue to reach out to hurting people who have lost loved ones.
The date is the 2nd Tuesday of October. The place is Forsythe Church of Christ in Monroe, between Oliver and 19th St. on Forsythe. We meet at 5:30 p.m. If you want more information drop a note to RoyceOgle@gmail dot com. (sorry, have to keep the spammers on their toes!)
Have you lost a friend, a spouse, a parent, or other family member? Know someone who has? The way one person described the loss of a loved one was that it was as if the music had gone silent. The music of life is the joy of family and friends. Death stops the music.
Our only goal is to love people as they walk the dark path of grief until one day we can ask “Can you hear the music yet?” and hear the reply, “Yes, I hear it again”. That is our joy, to bind up the broken-hearted and send them on their way hearing the music again.
Thanks for sharing your pain, Royce. And thanks for sharing your joy. Life is full of both. Walking along with others through the pain back into the joy is a precious privilege. Love to you and Carol.
Thank you for sharing your story and your ministry to those who suffer. In 2002 my wife Laura and I welcomed the birth of our first child, three days later and without any hint, our son died. We have learned to hear the music again but we have never forgotten what it is like to hear nothing but the horrors of dead silence.
Grace and peace,
The memory of that silence… strong memory. Love ya Rex.
This was hard to read.
It will soon be 2 years since my dad passed. He was the first (& so far, the only) person really close to me to die. I don’t know if it was just him dying, or the events leading up to his death, but I was really, really bitter towards God.
I’ve since gotten over my bitterness, but my relationship with God will never be the same.
Being angry at God is a common reaction. We see it a lot.
Two years is really not a long time for grieving. Hopefully, after more time and concentrating on the character of God your heart will change so that your union with God through Christ will be full and sweet.
We live in a broken world, only a hint of what God’s plan is for it in the future. Broken, fallen people, even when they don’t realize it or fully appreciate it, are the objects of Gods love. We must trust Him.
I do wish you will on your Journey to Joy.
That’s a wonderful ministry that you are embarking on. May God bless you and Carol every step of the way.
Grace and peace,
Royce, thanks for inviting us into your past. This was hard to read. I admire what you are doing. Thank you. Dell Kimberly
I am so glad you and Carol found each other. I am still grieving for my precious Harold. It has been a year and eight Months. I am still waiting for him to come home from work. God Bless the four of you.
Even though this was difficult to read, it brought back precious memories that I will cherish forever until we see Jeanine again and laugh with her and sing with her in heaven. I always think of her in December and love and laughter fills my heart. She was one of a kind and there was never a dull moment when we were with her. Guess I felt robbed of the future when she died, but now we have a wonderful future to look forward to and a time of celebration. She always wanted the best for everyone and at times I was jealous of the ease at which she could be “Jeanine” no matter where or with whom. So thankful for the “sister” trip we all had together before she left us. So thankful for the wonderful brother-in-law she brought into our family. So thankful for the wonderful family God gave me. So thankful to you for sharing this glimpse into the past.
Love you sis. I’ve been keeping up with you and the family on FB
It was so good to see you again as the years seem to be flying by like geese in the sky..I never will forget that day as I had been on the phone with Jeanine just hours before.. She was going to call me back as she had to stop the conversation for a nebulizer treatment..I thought nothing about it until I heard your voice on the phone..I’m so glad that she brought you into our family..As Theresa said I too think of her every December as it was not only the joy she brought for Christmas but also the month of her birth..I used to tease her when I was young that she always got shorted presents because her birthday was so close to Christmas..Or that is what I would try to convince her had happened..She never fell for my attempt at teasing as she was always the queen of practical jokes..Not to mention her ability to win at everything she put her mind to..I’m so glad that you and Carol found each other and have such a great partnership in life..Love always…Tim…
Thanks Tim. It was good to see you all.
What kind words you had to say about my “precious” sister that has been dearly missed. It is like a piece of the puzzle is not there, so it is just not the same. However, we know that one day all the pieces will fit together perfectly and what a day of glory that will be. Jeanine loved to sing and laugh and did both quite frequently. There was never a time of being with Jeanine that she didn’t make you laugh. Even when she was doing or saying something mischeivous, you couldn’t help but laugh. I can’t belive it has been almost 13 years…….time passes so quickly and none of us never know when God is ready for us to come home. My husband, DW just lost one of his younger brothers and this makes two sons that his mother has buried. We just all need to be ready no matter what age we are. Royce, I just thank God for blessing Jeanine with a husband that has given her so many good memories and being a man of God and loving her so much. I am so glad you can hear the music and I know Jeanine is looking down filled with laughter and love for you. Thanks for being a wonderful husband to Jeanine and may your heart continue to filled with music. You will always be a part of our family.
Thanks Donna. Your words are kind. Give D W my love.
When I met Donna I knew this special person had a Great family and when I met them all I knew was I wanted to be a part of this family, that was in 1981. You show the overview of this family in your words of Jeanine, Loving and kind people. You are gifted by God to serve him in your words and life style. Your love for others shows very much. May God continue to use You and Carol to touch people. You have such a touch of softness for those in times of pain and death.
God bless the both of you.
I love you brother and know We will ALL be toghter soon in our final resting place,
What a day that will be.
May God have his way with you, leading and supporting your efforts each day.
You are one of a kind, stamped and approved by God.
The best to and for you
Thanks for the kind words D W. First, may God give you His comfort as you grieve the loss of your brother, really “brothers”.
Yes, our wives had a great family! One of my battles when Jeanine died was not only not having her, but I was also grieving the loss of her family. Even though everyone of you have been so kind and thoughtful, there is a dynamic that is gone forever….until we get home. I really miss the intimate fellowship of those years.
May God bless you and your family, I love you.