Monday, August 09, 2010

Deanna and BJ in the Smokies, a week before landing in the hospital

Five years ago, we were on vacation in Tennessee.

My girls were not in relationships. BJ was just back from his second trip to Peru. Lauren had finished an internship at our former church. Whitney was entering into her freshman year as a nursing major (and meetings kept her from being able to go on vacation with us).

This was to be our first real vacation. Deanna and I had always used our vacation time to go to youth camps, mission trips, or family gatherings. We had never just gone somewhere together, that didn't involve someone else.

We were excited to do this together. Well, most of us were.

Because of his intense focus on the mission field, the idea of going on vacation seemed frivolous and unnecessary, to BJ. He didn't resist hard, but did resist. He understood our need to get away and have some family time, but he wasn't feeling great and this made him additionally hesitant.

We planned to stay in a cabin, where we could enjoy a time of hiking, and site seeing in the Tennessee mountains. The idea was appealing to all of us.

We arrived and settled in. Our schedule was not overly rigorous. It allowed us to do some things and take breaks. As enthused as we were, it was difficult to understand why BJ did not want to participate in much.

He'd play pool in the evenings, but wanted to rest when we went out. He'd stay back and study the Word or read other books for enjoyment.

Each of us in turn chided him for not going with us. He said he really didn't feel up to it. He sounded congested, and seemed to run a low grade fever, so we let him remain behind. We missed him. What we were doing, would normally have been of interest to him. He only went out with us a couple of times.

By the end of the week, we convinced him to hike with us. There had been bear sightings in the area we were exploring, just that morning. We had to be careful. The pictures from that hike, find him looking spent.

However, as I review photos from that week, and even some of the pictures included in the "I Would Die for You" video (found at I am reminded how stunned I was that we were getting some of the best pictures of him, we'd ever taken!

I even remember asking the Lord at one point, "why are so many of these pictures of him so good?" For some reason, it raised an alarm within me.

As I packed the car to head home, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that this would never happen again. I fought tears as I stowed gear. I didn't understand what was happening.

He grew more feverish, and struggled to breath normally on the return trip.

Upon arrival home, I took him to the nearest medical facility to be looked at. The doctor diagnosed him with "walking pneumonia."

I had peace in those moments, as our children had fought this before.

However, as the weekend unfolded, his fever climbed and he could not keep any fluids down, nor could he sleep.

I spent hours through the watches of the night, giving him cool baths and praying for him to try to bring him comfort. I prayed from the depths of my concern. I wish I could remember what we talked about. He'd lay is head in my lap and try to sleep.

We fought through the weekend and saw no healing result from the meds.

Monday morning arrived. This was to be Deanna's first day back at school after the summer break (This time of year continues to be difficult for her to trespass upon... she started back to school this past Friday). Deanna asked Beej if he wanted her to remain home with him that day.

"No Mom. Dad is here, and I'll be fine" he said.

She went to work.

A couple of hours later, as we waited for his doctor to call back, he made the request to go to the emergency room. We went... and the journey unfolded...

These days somehow seem hallowed. We step lightly through, with awe.

It doesn't get easier.

We miss him with desperation at times! Yet we have the peace and thankfulness of knowing that he spent himself in a way that few do, and that he is in the presence of the Almighty!

We will join him there one day.



At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Koteskeys are thinking of you guys as we also relive the days we walked five years ago. Love and miss you guys!

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying for you!

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Bart's email asking for prayers for BJ. I was drawn to his site and felt compelled to pray for him as well as for his family. All strangers yet a part of my family. I remember struggling to fight back the tears as I read of his advances and set backs, how they affected those around him. And how inspired I was, and am still, by his youthful strength of spirit and sold-out committment to follow Jesus. All of you have and continue to make such a positive impact on my journey with the Lord. Mark \0/

At 5:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this post caused me to re-read those five year old posts from 2005. Can't believe it's been 5 years since I was drawn to this site. Check it almost everyday.

God Bless...
Greenfield, Indiana

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Holly said...

The whole 8th grade class from our school read "I Would Die for You" and were very touched. Hard to believe 12 & 13 year olds can be touched, eh? We continue to pray for BJ that is now in a better place.

8th grade

At 1:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent and Deanna,
We love your family so much! Please know that we consider it a privilege to know everythng we can about BJ and the amazing way God continues to use him. We may not live geographically close to each other, but you are always close in our hearts!
Lifting you up especially during this time and remembering your precious son BJ.
Thanks for sharing such intimate parts of your lives. Big Hugs to Deanna as she starts back to school. I'd love to have her as a teacher!
In His Love,
Kevin, Kim, Kelsey, Kaleb, Konner and Kissy


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