Jeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they taJeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be with his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they take this painful and unexpected journey.

A line in the sand

Since I wrote nearly two weeks ago, several things have happened. The first is that yesterday December 8th we met with Jeremy’s oncologist and he agreed with us that our best course of action is to cease treatment for his cancer. We have drawn “a line in the sand” and for very good reason.

I wrote on the 26th November that if all tests came back as satisfactory then he would start on the tablets debrafinib. The tests did come back normal, so on Tuesday November 29th he started taking 2 tablets in the evening. On Wednesday 30th he continued with this treatment. It was meant to be my last day at home before returning to school. That evening Jeremy had a very confusing spell trying to work out how “Watchdog” on the TV related to the chicken meal that he was eating as he watched. It took some calming down and convincing to persuade him there was no relationship between the two.

On Thursday morning I got up early to go to school and Jeremy became extremely agitated and seemed to be confused and disorientated. I felt awful leaving him and going to school but handed duties over to Lydia and then she to Joshua. I rang at lunchtime and the very kind person sitting with him said he had had a good day. I had a fabulous day back at school but got home early as a good friend was dropping in on her way home from work. She and I sorted out a prescription that he needed and she left. As the evening progressed he began to vomit, despite being on anti-sickness pills for a while now.

Next morning not only was he very agitated but he also kept vomiting. I left Lydia trying to feed him and give him his medication but she rang me at school in tears and in tears I had to contact the hospice team from school. They were amazing and sent a nurse out to Jeremy within the hour. When I got home at 11am she was sorting an injection to stop the vomiting. It was a very difficult and tense day and despite nearly being admitted to the Hospice as we just could not get on top of his symptoms, he eventually stopped throwing up, he then was able to take medication to ease the pain and slept peacefully. We kept him off the cancer fighting drugs in case these were the culprits.

4am on Saturday morning I turned over in bed. Boy do I wish I had not! Jeremy was bolt upright in bed and was being decidedly weird. He informed me he had been downstairs and made a cup of tea. I was horrified. He is not safe on the stairs and as for boiling the kettle; well! I calmed him down then heard a small voice “Mum can you get me a sick bowl and a glass of water?” Lydia was feeling sick. A few minutes later and heavy footsteps were heard and a deep male voice. On inquiry Joshua answered that he too had been sick. So it seems one had a reaction to his meds, another had a sick bug she had picked up from placement and the third had food poisoning. How random and what are the chances?

Saturday was an odd day with everyone lying around. Jeremy needed lots of care and was very forgetful. He needed loads of reassuring and as a result a Marie Curie nurse was offered to sit with him as he slept through the night. We all had an amazing sleep. Tom visited for 4 hours on Sunday and remarked how slow Jeremy was. We have kept the house as clam and peaceful as we can. We have had marvellous support from the Hospice Team. We have been visited by the District Nurse and the GP and by Monday Jeremy was in a much better space. I felt we actually connected. Tuesday was a fabulous day and he was able to chat on the phone to two separate people. He and I definitely connected as adults and we felt more like a couple. Jeremy was able to thank me for the way I was caring for him and it was a very positive day. Wednesday and yesterday have not been quite so good as he has been very sleepy but so much better than last week. It is our 27th wedding Anniversary today and we plan to go away for a couple of nights now that he is more stable.

And so it was we went to the hospital to see the oncologist. We had decided, having seen Jeremy on Tuesday in so much of a better space, that that is how we want him to be. Not the confused and agitated figure we had seen a few days before. I come full circle to the start of this post. He is on a lot of medication to manage the symptoms, has an even worse memory than he had before, needs lots of sleep but we feel peaceful. We have made the right decision and so we now wait. We look forward to being together for Christmas. We know New Year will be tough but as we enter what must be the last few weeks (as many as make months?) of having this wonderful man Jeremy in our lives, we are so grateful for the role he has played and we feel truly privileged to call him “husband” and “father”. We love you Jeremy James Clark and will always, always hold you close in our hearts. You have inspired many, walked the road confidently and we know that it won’t be long before you stand before your/our Heavenly Father and hear the words “good and faithful servant”. We rejoice that because Jesus has defeated death on the cross and made a way back to the Father you will be reunited with Ben and together you will be in His presence, singing praises to the Lord God, the Creator of the universe. How Amazing!

 

 

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Comments on: "A line in the sand" (41)

  1. Philip Denning said:

    Love you loads, you guys. God bless.

    Like

  2. Peter and Alison Turnpenny said:

    Dear Jeremy and Catherine,

    We send you and your family our love and prayers.

    With our love Peter and Alison

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  3. Tracey and Tim said:

    Thank you dear friend for bravely sharing this difficult news. We share in your pain and tears and hold with you onto the promises of Jesus.

    Like

  4. Big hugs and lots of love and prayers being sent your way. It’s good to know that in all things we have Christ our saviour by our side. Enjoy your time xo

    Like

  5. Rosemary Hampson said:

    May your faith uphold you and keep you all steadfast in the Lords hands

    Like

  6. David Judson said:

    Congratulations on your 27th anniversary. So glad you’ve reached this milestone. We continue to pray daily for you and the family. It was good to have first-hand news when we saw Jane and the family in Luton last week. Our love to you both, Margaret and David

    Like

  7. Tineke Zwinkels said:

    Very much in our prayers and may the Lord surround you all with love and strength. Tineke

    Like

  8. Sending love to you all. I always think of you guys at this time of year, I think it was 10 years ago in the autumn I did my placement with Jeremy… Every time I lead worship, every sermon I preach, every funeral I take, things I learnt from and with you are in my mind.

    Like

  9. As God gave Moses the opportunity to see the promised land from the mountaintop may He give you a period of peace in Him, enjoyment of each other and encouragement in the anticipation of your future endless intimacy together.

    Like

  10. Nigel and Jill said:

    27 years wow, congratulations. Thank you all, Jeremy, Catherine, Simeon, Tom, Joshua and Lydia for your brave and faithful witness. Not only is Jeremy a special person you all are very special to us and so many people. Our love and prayers are with you continuously.

    Like

  11. Rev Simeon Damdar said:

    Just returned from Israel, and everywhere reminded me of Jeremy and Catherine. And the number of times Jeremy sang the Lord’s Prayer in Maorie Language, and the Pilgrims who just could not leave without listening to Jeremy’s rendition in beautiful Jerusalem setting. Dear Catherine and the Family, I just want to say something in reverse order: ” Thee forsake nor Thee leave, Never will I”. This is The Lord’s Promise to us all. Thank you for looking up……Beholding the Face of the Man Who is God, Whose face was marred more than any man’s. Who knows of Death. Thus we worship, And our Faith Lift gives us a Face Lift. My phone number is 01303 256 318. Love and blessing to you and Family….Simeon.

    Like

  12. Jane Crocker said:

    Dear Catherine my love and prayers sent to you ,Jeremy and all your family God Bless
    Jane xxx

    Like

  13. Tanya marrow said:

    You are all so brave . Thinking if you all and sending lots of love X

    Like

  14. Lorraine Williams said:

    Our love and prayers go out to you all as we thank God for you We also thank God for Jesus for without him there would be no hope of eternal life Bless you all

    Like

  15. Bishop Bob Evens said:

    I have many memories of our time when as your local Bishop I tried to support you in your ministries. Now you both strengthen and inspire many people across the world through your ministry of trusting faith and honest pilgrimage through these difficult days. Safe in God’s hands you remain and you will always be so.

    Like

  16. Anthony Thomaa said:

    Love, peace and prayers to you all. God bless.
    Anthony & Jeannie.

    Like

  17. You’re very inspiring people. I’m not Christian so those parts pass me by.
    Hope you have a lovely weekend
    Nigel

    Like

  18. Val Parkinson said:

    Thank you so much Katherine for all the info,you are so brave.praying for you all, God Bless you, wrap his arms around you and continue to pour his peace into you. Much love Val & John x🙏

    Like

  19. Simon Law said:

    We’re praying for you both. With our love, Simon and Karen

    Like

  20. Caroline Colin said:

    With love from a grateful friend who, in our darkest time of need, gave us Jeremy to guide us through. To Him may the continued glory be. With love Cas x

    Like

  21. Jenni & Peter said:

    We hold you all close in our hearts and pray for you all every day. We pray for peace and calm and all your days and hours are precious memories.

    Like

  22. Diane Fraser said:

    Love and prayers for you all Paul & Diane

    Like

  23. Thank you for maintaining the blog even through all this. We are humbled by your example of life and love.

    Like

  24. Congratulations on your 27th year! I hope you still share some special moments through these times. All our love, katie & family x

    Like

  25. Lisa Smith-Paterson said:

    Thank you for sharing this very emotional time with us, as always in my thoughts , love Lisa Durban SA

    Like

  26. Praying for you all at this time. May He be your strength in everything. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Congratulations on 27 years of marriage. ❤ Beccy

    Like

  27. Harry Williamson said:

    Dear Catherine & Jeremy, as others have said thank you for sharing your journey as incredibly tough as it must be, both going through it and also writing about it. Love and prayers to you both. Harry & Angela from Blackpool xx

    Like

  28. Rachel Oster said:

    Praying for you all, that peace will reign in your home and that you will be filled with strength. You’re very special people, love to Jeremy and you all. Rachel & Richard

    Like

  29. Tears fill my eyes as I read your post. It’s such a tough place to be with hard decisions to make. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you all.

    Like

  30. Tricia and John said:

    We continue to pray for you all, Jeremy, Catherine, Simeon, Tom, Josh and Lydia.

    Like

  31. Peter Martin said:

    You all are in our prayers. May you have the comfort that Jeremy was able to give us when Nicky died. He made such a difference to our lives and we bless him for that. The blessing of the lord be with you all. Love Peter, Marian, Lydia and Isaac. xx

    Like

  32. God is with you in every step. Continuing to pray. Love Stefan

    Like

  33. Grandmerry said:

    Sweet Blessings upon your 27th Anniversary. So grateful for continuing with your writings, Katherine. My warm prayers and tender thoughts to all of you. God Keep You and Bless You as you continue to walk in the Lord! He is the Mighty King….Master of everything.

    Like

  34. Lynda & Paul said:

    We continue to pray and think of you all. Love and hugs xxoo

    Like

  35. Rachel Waddilove said:

    Thank you so much dear Catherine for sharing this with us. We continue to hold you all up to our loving Heavenly Father each day…..may you know His peace and His loving arms around you all each day and night. Lots of love and big hugs for Jeremy. Xx

    Like

  36. Joanna and Mike McNamara said:

    Dear Jeremy and Catherine, Many congrats on 27 incredible years of marriage. Thank you for inviting us to walk with you all through them. Lots of love from us all Mike and Jo, George and Sarah. Our thought and prayers are not far from you all and the family both in New Zealand and UK.

    Like

  37. Thank you all for your faithful witness. May you know the comfort of the everlastings arms that hold you and the glorious hope that lies before all who have put trust in Jesus the Lord.

    Like

  38. Thank you Catherine. Please pass my love onto Jeremy. I had time with Nick here in Christchurch last night – holding you all in my thoughts.

    Like

  39. David Williams, Upton said:

    “After this it was noised abroad that Mr. Valiant-for-truth was taken with a summons by the same post as the other, and had this for a token that the summons was true, “That his pitcher was broken at the fountain.” When he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then said he, I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I have got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who will now be my rewarder.”

    Liked by 1 person

  40. James Stickland said:

    Thinking and praying for you both.
    James and Michelle Stickland

    Like

    • Rev Simeon Damdar said:

      Thank you James, you and Jeremy worked in the Lord’s Service in your young and early Christian Life. You both are so much remembered at this time.W e must not cease praying for you Jeremy. Love you and Catherine and the Family very dearly.

      Like

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