BonaireTalkers make Bench for Ol’ Blue November 8th, 2012
Yesterday, a memorial long in the making was finally completed as a bench was placed at the Ol’ Blue dive site. Thank you again to all the BonaireTalkers that pitched in for the bench.
To the right of the bench is a break in the iron shore leading down to the coral rubble beach.
Embedded in the side facing the ocean is one of the small stones engraved with Jake’s name that I had made up to travel with us and leave around the world.
October 16th at Ol’ Blue/Tolo October 22nd, 2012
We arrived at Ol’ Blue around 5:30pm. Although sunset would be at 6:14pm, it was already darkening as the cloud cover was pretty thick except for this amazing break in the clouds which let the sun stream through.
We hugged and talked with everyone while we waited for the sun to set. Many people asked me why Ol’ Blue, as locals many of us only visit this spot when taking the new visitor on an island tour. For us Ol’ Blue has been a favorite spot for beach BBQs with dear friends while watching the sun set and making S’mores. Ol’ Blue is also far enough out to be a special trip which it is well worth.
We helped each other down to the sea as the coral stone beach slid under foot. Krystyana and Martin joined me for putting the ashes into the sea.
Angela had brought some white roses which she gave to each of us to float them out to sea. Pink bougainvillea joined the roses as we all said our good-byes to Jake.
Thank you to everyone that came out to be with us as well as those that could not attend but did so in the hearts.
Linda, Krystyana, and Bas
Stone Markers installed October 5th, 2012
With just hours to spare before we said our farewell to New Hampshire, the headstone and grave marker were installed in the cemetery. About 5pm on Thursday Sept. 27th, Krystyana and I arrived at the cemetery to watch as they placed the stones. This was the first time we got to see the finished stones instead of drawings and Photoshop ideas on a computer.
Now if anyone wants to visit they will be able to easily find the right place, just use the map from my previous post and look for the unusually shaped deep gray headstone – see picture. Colors in my photo are a bit off – the stone is a charcoal grey with almost sandstone like markings.
At the foot of the plot on the left is Jake’s personal marker. Again, see the picture. This was even harder to photograph as the dark areas are really a mirror shiny black. The big features were sandblasted and then the delicate shading was etched by an artist by hand using the original photo as a reference.
Some of you may recognize it. It was taken by Jake on our Antarctica trip while at Elephant Island. He posted it on the blog in September 2010 when he entered it into a NatGeo photo contest, here is the link if you would like to see the original http://www.jakestake.tv/2010/09/07/vote-for-me-at-national-geographic-photo-contest/.
The next day Krystyana and I dropped in with a couple pots of bright colored flowers to brighten it up a bit.
As mentioned at the start, the kids and I are now back home on Bonaire with all the fun of reopening a house after it has been very lightly used for over a year and a half. I expect to be having a very quiet putting the ashes into the sea thing Tuesday, October 16th, probably up at Ol’ Blue during sunset. All are welcome. Jake didn’t want a religious ceremony of any sort.
Linda, Krystyana and Bas
In New Hampshire August 10th, 2012
Today, I put Jake’s US based ashes into the cemetery in Chester, NH. Below is the information about the cemetery as well as a satellite map with the plot location marked. I had to do a bit of editing as the satellite picture was out of date and did not show all the pathways.
The Richter family headstone will be installed sometime around the end of August with Jake’s personal flat marker following a week or two later. Once the headstone is in, it can best be located by driving to the very back of the cemetery and looking back towards the main road – third row in, name faces the back pathway. General hours are dawn to dusk (April through November).
Great Hill Cemetery
Chester, NH 03036
Plans and Donations June 5th, 2012
For all our anal retentive planning, this I was not prepared for…
Requests for when service/memorial might be, or flowers, or donations.
So first of all here is the plan discussed with Jake. Jake is being cremated.
His ashes will be divided into three portions.
- One will be taken back to the Czech Republic so that it can be placed with his ancestors and be near his parents who live in Prague.
- Another will remain in the US. We are currently working on these plans but are hoping for a place in Auburn, NH as that is the town we were married in and the resting place of my grandparents who loved Jake dearly. Originally, we had thought some kind of scattering but our son, Bas, has requested a stone/urn so he has some place to call his Dad’s.
- The last will be returned to Bonaire for a scattering in the sea to occur sometime in the fall; we are thinking October. We will let one and all know when we have definite plans so you can join us at the beach.
And a slight variation on Jake’s wishes, we are making up small pocket stones with his name on them to be left at various destinations around the world, so that Jake can continue to travel with us. He started a list with the children during his last hospital stay.
The kids and I will likely remain in the US for the summer and return to Bonaire in the late summer/early fall. We have no definite dates but plan on taking our time and spending some of the tough special days ahead like birthdays, Father’s Day and our anniversary close to the support of family.
Anybody that wants to contact us, our home in the US is:
73 Derry Road
Chester, NH 03036
or of course, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations can be made in Jake’s name to any number of places. Here are a few suggestions that quickly come to mind.
Support Bonaire, Inc. www.SupportBonaire.org
Near and dear to our hearts, we started this US charity to fund various non-profit organizations on Bonaire.
Massachusetts General Hospital – Melanoma Center
Most of Jake’s care was under the direction of Dr. Keith Flaherty at MGH in the Melanoma Center. I cannot say enough good things about all the people that helped and cared for all of us at MGH, Concord Hospital, and NCI in Bethesda. If I started naming names, I would forget someone and feel badly about it. MGH has many clinical trials and researchers working to find a cure.
and last but not least…
Community Hospice House in Merrimack, NH
This hospice is a not-for-profit VNA. They are wonderful people doing an amazing job at end of life.
Jake’s Last Moments June 2nd, 2012
It was late at night, just past midnight on June 1st. Something woke me where I rested on the sofa bed in Jake’s room at the hospice. I looked to Jake and tried to focus my hearing on his breathing. I watched him through the dimmed light. At that point, a nurse came in to check on him. She went to him, listened for a minute, and came over to me. She let me know it would be soon.
We both went to Jake. I sat beside him and held his hand. She rested her hand ever so lightly on his chest. One short breathe and a long pause. Another short breathe and no more. We paused waiting for the next one that didn’t come. She got out her stethoscope and waited for his heart to fade away. She whispered he had passed.
She asked if I would like a few minutes alone which I did. I held his hand, caressed his face, kissed his forehead and said my good-byes.
Before I left to be with our children at home, the nurses gently took care of Jake’s body in the dim golden light. They laid a handmade quilt over him and lit a candle. I slipped out into the quiet night for the drive home under the moonlight.
Tell a Story, Share a Smile May 31st, 2012
One of the counselors here suggested we write down some of the stories Jake’s visitors have been sharing. I smiled and showed her this blog, … told her bout BT, …and the crew on Facebook, … and not to be forgotten – the dozens of people that have contacted me privately. Add to that the notebook, Krystyana and I picked up the first day we arrived at the hospice which we ask each guest to sign and date, and words to share with us but only if they feel up to it. I can’t imagine there will be too few Jake stories :-)
My parents vistied again last night. My mom said “I can’t believe how many have left messages on the blog – so many people.” My mom has always grinned at Jake and called him her favorite son-in-law (her only one). Jake would laugh back and hug his favorite mother-in-law. Being smaller than me (and my dad not much taller than me) my mom saved all her “tall jobs” for Jake.
A brief story from only a few days ago, I was sitting by Jake’s bed side, just holding his hand and looking out into the garden. A deer walked by, oh about 20 feet away. She paused, scampered around the corner and paused again where I could see her through another window, and then off she went. This morning I strolled through the garden with a hot mug of coffee in my hand. I stopped to lift a peony to my nose and inhaled deeply. This is a good place to find peace.
Nearing the End May 30th, 2012
We wait, we make him comfortable. He was alert briefly this morning and knew I was there. Since then, they have started him on a pain reliever infusion because he cannot swallow as he must. So the end is near but still unknown.
Bas has fallen asleep in my lap as we share some quiet time together while Martin and Krystyana are out getting more Coke Zero to sustain us.
Tired May 29th, 2012
I spent another night keeping Jake company. He has become restless and frustrated, unable to get comfortable. The nurses tell me it is very common and quickly began trying to ease the restlessness. But it took almost 4 hours to find the right combination and dose of drugs to make that happen. Jake is snoozing again after waking briefly this morning to let me know he was cold.
Jake has also lost his interest in lots of foods. I’m not sure he managed even a bite of our second attempt to get him sushi. All and all things are going faster than I had hoped.
Please know if anyone does desire to visit you are always welcome. Just know that Jake is quite groggy and unable to engage in lots of socializing. I have been letting Jake know the names of all those that have commented on the blog, Facebook, BT, emails, and such. Many names have produced smiles and grins, while others a little sadness or weeping as he would have liked to have seen you all one last time. Of course, it would have taken years for Jake to have had shared that last meal with you all.
Calmer and Visits with Friends May 26th, 2012
Only a short note today, the hospice was a good move. We all slept better knowing Jake was there and being well taken care of. And most important, Jake slept better.
Friends have started dropping by for short visits and long. Jake, my social butterfly, my cruise director of life, brightened up and enjoyed himself immensely catching up with all, drinking a toast, sharing a meal, and even enjoying music and song. I think a total of eight visitors today. We bought Jake a guest book to remember these moments.
Although Jake has not been reading all the blog comments or Facebook posts, I have been sharing with him all the people’s names and shown him the photos from the past. We had the smiling weepies a dozen times but that is all good. Jake is feeling the love and so are the kids and I. Thank you for the reminders of so many amazingly great times we have had together.