I'm so sorry to report that tragedy has struck again: Jeff's first cousin, Travis Olmsted, died of sarcoma (a soft tissue cancer) at approximately 4 a.m. on Tuesday, November 18th. He was 27 years old. Travis's dad and Jeff's mom are brother and sister. So, that means that Jeff's grandparents have lost two grandsons in two months; his aunts and uncles have lost two nephews in two months; his cousins have lost another cousin, etc. So, once again, Bishop Tom will eulogize a nephew and the family will gather as they did for Jeff less than two months ago. It's all so unspeakably sad.
Travis's mom, Rosalie, gave me her permission to mention Travis on the blog and I thank her very much for that. Travis was diagnosed with cancer 5 1/2 years ago and Aubrey still remembers going to visit him in the hospital with her grandma. Travis was the youngest of four kids and, happily, lived long enough to see his big brother, Rob, get married at the end of October. Ironically, he died on Rob's birthday--Rob was one of Jeff's favorite cousins. They were close in age and both liked sports. Rob was a groomsman at our wedding and had come to visit us a couple of times in Wisconsin.
I found a local flower shop on the internet in Travis's hometown of Beattie, Kansas (which has a population of approximately 275 people). Of course, the flower shop owner knew everything about Travis and even knew who I was. She is apparently very fond of Travis's parents and grandparents and talked to me like we were old friends--telling me about Rob's recent wedding and all the details of the upcoming visitation and funeral. She even trusted me to send her a check for the flowers I ordered because she doesn't take credit cards. It was a real testament to her admiration for Travis's family and a sweet reminder of my own small hometown where I'm sure the local florist would do the same.
And, speaking of my small hometown, I just received a blast from the past when my old friend Chandra left me a blog comment. Chandra, when you mentioned Chi and Jodi and Lyndell, it made me think of all our band trips and high school plays and speech meets . . . those were the days!
Well, that's all for now. I hope to have better news next time. Until then . . .