Recently, someone really close to my family died, and it has been hard on us all. I was going to write a poem about it, or some deep profound thoughts, but instead I wanted to share from my journal a bit of what I’ve been thinking as a result of it. Below are two entries about how I am dealing with this:

“Today John Miller died. Just writing these words seems foreign to me and I have a hard time believing them. It wasn’t that long ago that I sat down with him and talked with him about my life, love, writing, art, and hiccups. I remember driving him to his father-in-law’s, looking at stuff taxidermy with him, and looking for minks in the pond. It feels like it was only a week ago that I heard his story about him and Shelley (who loved each other more than anyone I know) and how they wrote letters back and forth; that he taught me what it meant to love, laugh, and follow Christ; that he talked about the time he accidentally flipped me onto the concrete floor – like in one of those old kung-fu movies; that he asked me to stand in front of the mirror and tell myself that I loved myself and who God made me; that we biked 210 miles together to Wildwood, NJ; that he let us film a dumb video in his basement; that he laughed as we watched ‘Extreme Days’ and that weird Christmas movie for the billionth time; and that he sat with me as I cried over a break-up and told me, ‘God has something way better for you, you just don’t see it quite yet.’

I miss him and his nachos and his heart and his words and his laugh.

I miss hounding him to see if he drew any new art each week at club.

I miss his puns and his laugh.

I miss the life that he had, but it is a life that is still living in me and in the lives of many others who interacted and lived with it.”


“Miller’s ‘Celebration of Life Service’ is Saturday and I am going through denial for the first time. I’ve never experienced death this close to home before – even with my grandmother. So I’m not sure quite how to react when he is still so alive in my head. Death is not, despite what I have come to tell myself, an easy thing to get used to. And the deeper I love, the greater the odds are that I will have to grieve the death of the one I spend the rest of my life loving. Odds are that one day my life will be a house of cards just like C.S. Lewis’ was. But a life lived well, and shared well, makes loving, with the risk of losing, worth it. The life of a loved one lost is a far greater thing than never experiencing that life. And so I will love no matter the risk; no matter what may come.”


* The picture above was drawn by John Miller it was one of his many pieces of art (he loved drawing things via pointillism).


About Jeremiah Dowling

I write poetry and take crazy pictures in an Orange Chair all over the United States while reading amazing books.

4 responses to “Life”

  1. Nancy says :

    Beautifully said, Jeremiah!

  2. torigiraffe says :

    I, too, was hit very hard when I heard that John had gone home.

    For five years now, John has checked in with me weekly, to see how I’m doing.
    Even after his own cancer diagnosis, he never forgot to ask how my father was doing, and how I was coping.
    He never forgot to remind me that he loved me, and that Jesus loved me.

    I will never ever forget it.
    I pray that I can love people the way John did.

    I hope Jesus tells John how much he meant to you, to me, and to everyone else he encountered.

    Prayers to you.


    • thestorymovement says :


      Yeah it was the same for us for my dad’s cancer. Actually one of the last things I remember him saying was that he wanted to stop in and try to see my dad, when he himself wasn’t feeling all that well.

      I miss him tons, but am so encouraged by his life and to have known him! And that fact encourages me to live a better life myself.

      – Jeremiah

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