O Jeremy! O Jeremy!

An Ode from a Father Who Desperately Loves his Son


[Jeremy David Rankin, 1985-2020]


O Absalom! O Absalom! cries King David

For a son he dearly loved but failed to rescue


O Danny Boy! O Danny Boy!

The last and beloved son whom the father could not also bear to lose


O Jeremy! O Jeremy! How I love and miss you!

Were it only I who had to depart this mortal life early, and not you


Yet now you know the love of Jesus face to face.

And far better since your sufferings are over forever.


How I pine to join you when my race is done.

O Jeremy! O Jeremy! How I love you!


O Jeremy, why you did have to die so young?

The Psalmist in me cries out


Too, the One enthroned in the heavens

Is the One whose ways are far above the sod we trod


He is the One who walked and walks in our tear-strewn paths

And who raises us up on the Last Day


O Jeremy, you the kindest and a most private soul

O Jeremy, I who lived my life on the ragged sleeve


I who was stressed out in a surrealism across decades

Working against hurdle after hurdle


And all you craved was peace and stability

Yet the powers of hell conspired to rob you


You told me that I once saved your very life

But I did not really understand it until most recently


We each had many blind spots

Where we often missed each other even in the deepest love


Why, O why dear God, could I have not seen more clearly

And helped prevent the needless sufferings?


Yes, each in our own follies need God’s purging graces

But O Jeremy, why did you need to graduate so early?


No! No! No! I cry out

Surely, surely I could have been wiser, more prayerful, more …


How I longed to see the fulfillment of all your God-given dreams

How I wanted to simply enjoy your company for my remaining years


Yet, how many of the innocents across the millennia

Have been utterly ripped off by the ancient serpent?


I live in a privileged time and place

But what folly to think I might escape the distress of all men


I fought with every fiber to save your life but fell short

Indeed, we need the Savior for we cannot ultimately save ourselves


Whether our years are nine or ninety, we are mortal

And I know that my Redeemer lives, and all our dreams are fulfilled in him


Your best friend gave you his last words: “You are a great man”

Simply because you were a true friend, always putting others first


And, as the weight of the ages attest, suffering produces either humility or bitterness

And as you suffered, you only grew in gentleness and humility and worship


True greatness!

Therefore, your crown of righteousness is now fitted


How desperately I have clung to your mortal life

You, my beautiful, my beautiful son


Finally, I had to let you run along into the freedom of our Father’s glory

And as I looked several times into your eyes in desperate love


Saying spontaneously the last time, “You have such beautiful eyes”

And O, your most beautiful smile emerging against the emaciated frame


Many waters cannot quench love

And O how I am drowning in grief


Yet without the love of Jesus and friends

I would be overwhelmed and perish in a moment


An unchosen road I now trod, meeting fellow travelers along the way

O Jeremy! O Jeremy! May I honor you as I do, with every breath I take


For the rest of my years, whether it be a few or many

I will walk gently and carry a deep hole in my heart


Until yes, one day I will gladly put aside my earthly tent

And embrace you so tightly in the joy of the resurrection morn


Then the real introductions begin among the communion of the saints

With all tears, death, mourning, crying and pain forever abolished


Until then my beloved son

O Jeremy! O Jeremy! How I love and miss you!


[by John Clifford Rankin]