Dear family: Good morning! Having attended Jennie's funeral program in Yukon Oklahoma, and spending time with John and their family, I wanted to share with you the things I recorded in my journal while there. It will be somewhat long, but hopefully it will be meaningful to you. I may send it in two or three segments.
24 September 2008: Journal Entry: Debbie, Jennie and John Adam's daughter called us to let us know that Jennie and John had been in an accident somewhere in Tennessee on their way to visit Johann and his family, and on the way to the hospital, Jennie suffered a heart attack and died. She said that they were driving up a hill in a fog and a large truck hit them from the rear and both Jennie and John were hurt, but John not so much as Jennie.
Needless to say, we were in shock as they had just come to visit us a couple of weeks ago to get to see Ruby, our sister, who has been in a nursing home for some time now..
While visiting with us, Jennie helped me with the music for "If Ye Love Me", a song which came to me back in June of 2008, but I didn't know how to write it down. So Jennie wrote it down for me in a music notebook and we all went to visit Ruby in the Regional Specialty Hospital on Sunday and had a wonderful visit and reunion with some of Ruby and Fred's family, and sang songs and shared stories about our poems and how they came to us.
Jennie and I have been working together for over 25 years helping each other with our poems and music, and it has been a most rewarding experience for both of us. Jennie wrote music for some 80 poems I had written and shared with her, and then she started writing her own poems and music for them as well, and spent many dollars trying to get them published so they would be worthy of sharing with the world.
Then she bought a midi-keyboard that would allow her to score the music through her own computer so she could publish them and share them with her friends and family.
Jennie had a beautiful soprano voice as you all know, and loved to sing her songs for others to bless their lives as they have blessed her life and ours.
She said to me one day that she had spent many hours in music stores trying to find music that would bear her testimony to the world, but now that she had been reading my poems and having the music come to her almost before finishing reading my poems which were her own testimony as well, she would never spend another day at the music stores trying to find a song that would bear her own testimony about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and His glorious gospel.
One of the many songs which came to her to go along with a poem I had written and shared with her was the poem, "Beyond" which she said was a most perfect song for a funeral service to comfort those who are grieving for the loss of their loved one.
She told me that when she first read that poem, no music came to her like it usually had done, but a few days later, she was watching "Fantasy Island" with the little man who always would announce the coming of "The plane, it's the plane, and Mr. Roark would prepare to greet the newcomers. On this particular day there was music in the background that was playing, and suddenly she heard it and listened intently, and realized it was the music she had been seeking to go along with "Beyond" and she turned off the TV and hurried to the piano to begin composing the music to "Beyond" and recorded it and sent it to us on a recording of it, first just playing the music then next playing and singing the words to it.
When we got the tape and listened to that song it was absolutely spell binding for both of us as Betty and I listened first to the music and then to the words she sang. For it was as if we had heard that song somewhere before, and both of us were very touched by it.
Since then I have sung that song many times in the quiet hours and was stirred very much by both the words and the music. So I planned on singing that song at Jennie's funeral but they aren't having a funeral as such so I have written out the words to share with John and his family while here in Oklahoma where they live.
I was going through some of the 20 volumes of e-mail heart thoughts which I have sent out over the past few years since 1998, which Jennie recorded and had bound and sent to me, and found between the beautiful books a single poem on cardstock which Jennie had written and sent to me, which I plan on sharing with her family while here in Yukon. It is absolutely beautiful and a perfect "farewell" message to each of her children and to her husband John and also you and me. Here it is:
19 February 1999
If you wonder what this life's about
Just turn around and see
The sweetest faces you have known
Surrounding you and me.
We look and search our whole life through
And seldom do we find
The joy that overcomes the pain
Surpassing power and mind.
For family matters the most of all
Before and after days
Of needing life and happiness
The end of life's strange maze.
We want to know why pain is real,
Why sorrows come so fast,
The fleeting days of childhood
The glories of the past
Will stand as brilliant monuments
To all the times we spend,
Reminding us of moments gone
Before our journey's end.
So stop and listen carefully
The echoes all around
Are calling you to come and see
The happiness you found.
It's not tomorrow that you see
But this moment in time
Cherish every moment
Making life sublime.
Jennie Lee Adam
28 September 2008: I flew in last night to be here with John and his family to help them through the ordeal of having to bury Jennie. Today is Sunday, and they will be having a viewing this evening and a graveside service tomorrow at the Ft. Sill National Cemetery in Elgin, Oklahoma, as John was in the Navy during the 2nd World War, and is entitled to be buried there, as well as his wife, and so that is where she will be buried.
John is 87 years old this year, and taking the death of his sweet wife very hard as they have been married nearly 60 years now, and Jennie has been a "take charge" person in the family as most mothers are. And he will surely miss her.
John has asked me to sing our song which I planned on doing anyway, as a tribute to Jennie and to Heavenly Father for His love and kind watchful care, of each of us through the years, and His sharing of our talents with us before coming to earth so that we might share them with others as well, to bless their lives as they have blessed ours.
When Jennie and John moved here to Yukon Oklahoma, Jennie was hoping to be able to share her music with the wonderful folks in her Ward, but was told that she couldn't do that as they only allow songs from the hymn book, to be sung, and she was very disappointed, but I think she has shared one or two of her songs and our poems with the Relief Society sisters here, and they loved them.
We went to church today, John and I, and it was Fast Sunday, and the member of the Bishopric announced Jennie's passing, and how sorry he and others in the Ward were. Then the first lady got up and said how much she loved Jennie and how sorry she was that she would no longer be here to share her poems and music with her.
After she finished, I got up and bore my testimony, and shared Jennie's poem she wrote as a farewell message to one and all of us.
Others stood and bore their testimony concerning God's love for all of us.
After Sacrament Meeting, several came up and told John how very sorry they were to hear of Jennie's death, and told them that they would help him any way they could, and even the Oklahoma Temple President came up and expressed his sympathy at John's loss. He and his wife are in the Ward, and the Temple is right next to the Ward. John has worked in the temple as an ordinance worker so he knew him. I gave him and his wife a copy of my book on doing genealogy and temple work. They appreciated the gift.
Sunday afternoon we came home and rested a while then the Relief Society came with some wonderful food and we ate and were filled. Then we spent some time sharing things with each other, including singing some of the songs which Jennie had written, while James played the piano, and I sang along.
At 6:00 PM we left for the Smith and Turner Mortuary in Yukon, Oklahoma to attend the viewing where Jennie was laying in a beautiful casket looking like she could wake up at anytime and ask, "What are you doing here?"
A number of the ladies from Jennie's singing group at the Senior's Center, came and some of them were even there before we got there, waiting to share their feelings with us concerning Jennie's loss, and to tell us how very special she was. One lady said that every time Jennie came to the center, the minute she walked through the door, she brought sunshine and happiness with her, and enthusiasm as well. They dearly loved her. They wanted to sing for Jennie but part of the group didn't come, so they just visited with the family, sharing their love and sincere sympathy in the loss of their mother and wife. And also to me, in the loss of my dear sister.
Others came from the Ward and said how much they would miss Jennie and how much they loved her.
I shared a copy of Jennie's poem with Bishop Mike Brown, and invited him to make copies of it for the sisters in the Relief Society if they desired a copy and he said he would. I also gave the High Priests person in charge of genealogy and temple attendance, Ron Phelps, a copy of my book Heart Thoughts on Doing Genealogy and Temple Work, and asked him to share it with others, and he told me he would do that. He loved my poems. He also wants to be added to my heart thoughts list.
After the viewing we held a special service with just the family and had a special prayer, after which I chose to share my poem which I had prepared and put on cardstock along with Jennie's farewell message with them and gave them each a copy of it, and told them that they needed to say their last goodbyes to their wife and mom and grandma which they and I did, then they had the lady come and close the casket and we left to come back to John's home.
James and I began working on the music which Jennie had helped me with when she came to visit us, and we were up until after 11:00 PM. We also sang some of the songs from Jennie's song book which I was familiar with and had an enjoyable time doing that. Some commented on how much they loved our doing that.
29 September 2008: We left around 9:00 AM and drove for 1 1/2 hours to the Fort Sill National Cemetery in Elgin, Oklahoma and arrived there at 10:30 waiting for others and then Bishop Mike Brown arrived, with his wife, and Counselors, and we all went to the beautiful Memorial Pavilion located there, where the casket was brought for display in front of the rows of seats where we soon were sitting to participate in the services.
The Bishop took charge and announced what the services would entail, and then invited Bob Clawson to give the opening prayer, and then Rebecca gave a beautiful Eulogy about Jennie's life and then I sang "Beyond" accompanied by James Adam on his organ, and then it was opened to anyone who wanted to get up and say anything about Jennie, and after some of the members of the family expressed their feelings, there was a quiet time, and so I chose to get up and read a poem I had written and sent out about Jennie's graduation, and then the Bishop thanked one and all for sharing what we did, and we all were given copies of "Be Still My Soul" and we sang the song while James accompanied us, and then Julie Goyette gave the closing prayer, and then they announced that the services were over, and for us to leave and come back around 1:30 so that we could dedicate the grave.
So we went to lunch at the Golden Corral, and then returned at 1:30 where John dedicated the grave, with the help of Bishop Brown, and then we left and drove back to John's house.
On the way home from the cemetery I shared some of my poems and stories of how they came to me, with those in our van, and gave copies out to them. John rode with us and I talked to him about working on his genealogy line, and doing the work which they needed to have done for them which only he could do for his ancestors. We had talked about that before at other times, and I explained to him that without their work being done for them, they could not progress, nor could they be able to go into the Celestial Kingdom and be with their families forever and ever without the keys and tokens necessary to pass through the veil into the Celestial Kingdom. He told me that he and Jennie had sent in the three generations which he was able to find, and every time they went to check to see if any more information had been found and posted, that only those names which they had submitted were there, and no others. I told him not to give up as they were depending on him to do that work for them.
James and I worked on the music "If Ye Love Me" again and we practiced it over several times to make sure it was right, and he played it on the big Organ which Jennie and John bought some years ago from their Ward when they got a new one. I also got to play it too.
Johann and Rachael gave me CDs with pictures on them from their computer to take home, and I gave each of them copies of my Heart Thoughts About the Savior, and told them the story about "His Source of Love" which Jennie had asked me to write a poem about, so that she could make a song out of the story, but she never did add music to it as it was too long.
I will be returning home Tuesday at 11:00 AM. It will be so nice to get back home.
Here is a poem I found on Jennie's desk which I had written some years ago as recorded in my 71st spiral notebook titled Family Relationships which I wanted to share with the family but didn't get to do it. So I am going to include it here.
The family relationship began in heaven above,
Where we chose one another, and formed a bond of love,
And harmony of spirit, and unity of soul,
Which helped us be united toward a selfsame goal.
We vowed to help each other when we came down to earth,
To overcome temptation, and gain eternal worth.
Our spirits there were happy to be a family,
Not only for this lifetime, but for eternity.
We chose our loving parents, and vowed to do our best
To try and help each other, so we'd be heaven-blest.
We came to earth, their children, they taught us right from wrong,
And schooled us through their teachings, and shared with us their song.
Together we're a family of kindred spirits here,
Who knew and loved each other in heaven's atmosphere.
We're here to help each other to gain the victory
While building a relationship to last eternally.
Oh may we come to realize how blest we are to be
A living, breathing part of our eternal family,
And may we work together to help each other here,
Prepare for life and living in a loving atmosphere,
So when this life is over, and gone our cares and woe,
Our hearts will be united in a heavenly afterglow.
James H. Lee Jr.
Jennie May Lee Adam was born 11 March 1930 in Barstow California to Jennie May Woodbury Lee and James Horald Lee. Dad Lee taught us all to sing as he played the guitar and mother Jennie May Woodbury Lee played the 12 bass accordion. In American Fork in 1943 I studied voice with Doctor Kenneth J. Bird at the high school there. At Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah in 1947 I studied with Don Earl of the Music Department there. I still love to sing and play the organ and the piano and the electronic keyboard that I use for writing music to the computer.