Adam McCloud's Journal
A Note About my Family
Written Oct 11, 2012 4:04pm
Nobody deserves to lose a child ESPECIALLY to a violent act. However, I can’t help but feel that this is somehow more unfair because of who my in-laws are.
Many years ago, after a difficult (but teenagey) breakup my father pulled me aside and suggested that I focus on finding girls with similar values to the ones that I grew up with. When I got to know Karen and Tim, I knew he would approve.
I’m sure my mother-in-law will be mortified that I’ve put it in writing (she’s that strong Swedish type that is uncomfortable with praise) but they are strong, hard-working, caring people who put a lot of faith in God (even in the tough times) and family. They bore the world a caring, hardworking, goal driven oldest daughter; a fun, caring, and somewhat chatty J middle daughter; and their gregarious, caring youngest child who we all love.
Contrary to popular belief, our move from tropical Florida to the ridiculous climate that is Minnesota (not my native Ohio) was never a given. My parents are significantly older than Tim and Karen and I was not on-board with staying away from home. Through many discussions with a trusted Christian advisor, and a lot of prayer and discussion, I came to realize that my Minnesota family offered my future children a sense of family and community that was simply not available in Ohio given my parents age and life situation.
This was good, because it wouldn’t be long after we learned that we were going to have a baby that we discovered that dad had a very serious form of cancer. Had I not taken the time to prayerfully think through my decision – I could have resented the move. Instead, I turned to Karen for counsel. She had lost her mother a few years earlier. She became my closest advisor – a role that she has played for many, many people. Her quite words of wisdom and understanding and the sheer ability to just have someone to vent to – who understood my family’s plight – made a LOT of difference.
When the babies started to come, I saw a new side to my father-in-law. I’m sure at some point in human history there was a man who doted on his grandchildren more, but I doubt that there are many in that fraternity. He is an honest, hardworking man who shows up every day for my kids. Every day.
I suppose that it is cliché to say, but these things happen to OTHER families not to mine… except when they do. On this side of heaven, you are not protected from sin and death – even if you are not the one behind it. Sometimes a spilled drink in a bar ends up spiraling into the unfair and unreasonable death of a loved and cared for man… and sometimes a family that has done everything right gets handed something very, very wrong.
That’s what has made this so much harder: our deep sense of loss was coupled by this terrible sense of injustice (not for the accused – who will stand his day in court), but for my in-laws who have lived close to God and community and steered their children in the same direction.
And through all of this, their quite strength still supported all of us. I’m very proud to be a member of this family in this difficult hour and look forward to the healing process as it progresses.
Eulogy by Tom Holmes
Written Oct 11, 2012 7:25am
My name is Tom, Adam and I met around 9 years ago. In Stillwater, Because of a girl of course and we hit it off right away. We shared many interests and simply put he was a lot of fun to be around. I played Music and he loved music, we were both in rough patches of our lives and were trying to figure a way out. And when we were together Life didn’t seem so bad.
When I heard the sad news that Adam had passed away a few days ago, my first thought was that a Big bright light had just gone out in the world. I sat in stunned silence at my desk for a very long time thinking about the influence Adam had on my life that, until that moment, I am not sure I fully appreciated. Adam had a passion for and an even bigger heart of gold. Looking around this room today makes it very clear just how many people’s lives Adam touched with that heart of gold.
Adam had a passion for life that was contagious; he had so many friends and great relationships with many family members. Wherever Adam was he was rarely by himself, whether working on cars listening to or playing music, and most recently Gold Mining. Whatever he was doing it was all or nothing He was a Full Force kind of guy. What’s not to Love or at the very least Respect about someone like that. Passion. That’s what I would like to focus on because no matter what he was doing or talking about doing he wasn’t kidding. I was a little skeptical when the gold business turned from a hobby to a career, But let’s take my ego out of this for a second and look at the real picture. Adam was passionate about this and no matter what I was going to say or several others he was not shaken. I don’t know about you but I want this for my life, and somehow with his Charm he talked others into this. Only a Man as passionate as Adam could swing this I believe. His Passion for this was again Infectious, I can remember thinking maybe he is on to something, and although the Gold business was not for me, He was onto something. Being ready to take risks, being ready to stand up to adversity, and being ready to stand up for what he loved. He also did that for people in his Life. He was ready to take on Risk, Adversity and Stand up for the People he loved as well. And as I stand here now, he is still teaching me to stand up for what I love, stand up for My Passions. And I hope he is doing the same in your hearts right now.
How was I supposed to choose from all those memories of joy and laughter, or the way he always seemed to know what his friends had been up to, because no doubt, he’d been up to the same things himself? I have many memories of Adam and me up to no good, laughing all the way. But those are not the memories I hold close. The ones that are closest to me are. Like when I invited him over to hang out and he showed up dressed to impress and what I really needed was help moving that day. In a torrential downpour he was in slacks dress shoes and a button up shirt helping me move heavy boxes, couches and personal things up and down many stairs for many hours. I have never seen it rain so hard. He took it like a Champ like a good friend would and never complained once; also when it was brought up it was followed by those Big Laughs of his. More Memories like Being on stage at a club in Minneapolis, with Tim and Adam and being the only white people there. Cabin trips Casino trips. Also the day I went to prison He acquired many of the things I held close to me as I knew they would be around when I was released, and they were, in typical Adam Fashion. Everything accounted for. Or The letters or the visits or the just picking up the phone when I would call, our common Love for music, Old Pontiac Bonneville’s and the list goes on and on, The point is he was always there for me. Even at my lowest He was there for me. And he didn’t know it but he is one of the biggest reasons I felt like I could get better and, do better, and be a better man. So with lots of help I did make the decision to Simply get better. I would call for advice and to hear the Passion in Adams voice to refresh my long crazy days and as my life slowly got better. God started to give me a way and our friendship was about to take the turn I had been waiting for since the day we met.
Needless to say a miracle happened. God Intervened and started to change Adam’s Life also. Adam started asking questions about faith and then God put on Adam’s heart the idea of going to church. And he listened. I will always remember that cold day in February, 2011 when he met me at Eagle Brook Church it was freezing cold and yet he had this Nervous yet Excited look on his face. And as the Service began you could see the Warmth of God set into his life and His adult Faith Walk would begin. Adam continued to show up and ask questions about Faith in God. And his Life began to get a little better and a little better every week. You could actually see God’s Holy Spirit working in him. And I never got to tell him that watching God work in his life began to strengthen my own Faith. April, 2011, Adam Accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. With a simple prayer he was forgiven of his sins and his Everlasting Life would begin. And since it is by Grace that we are saved through faith, We can all take solace in that Adam was Saved and is now one of God’s flock. I am so entirely Grateful for this fact.
No one expected tomorrow to come so soon. And as I see all of you, and as I spent this past week and this evening talking to you and sharing comfort, and I read the dozens of texts and emails I’ve received, I know my dear friend has done a great thing. He pulled a vast number of people together of different hues, backgrounds, and areas and brought you all together. It is a testament to his values, a testament to his charm and grace, and mostly, a testament to a great life. I hope what he gave you will stay with you just long enough for you to share it with someone else. He will stay with me always because that’s what brothers, and friends, are supposed to do.
This brings me to a bible verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Here is why I bring this up, it is something I shared with Adam on a regular basis, and I also believe it fits into this moment. First, Adam was a joyful soul so carry that for him “Be Joyful”. Second I will “Pray Continually” for his family, for his friends, and for those who are still suffering. And third we must “Give thanks in all situations “even in Death, for he is home now. Also, let’s look at the number of people he has helped in this tragedy.
- Lungs - 62 year old man
- Liver - 59 year old man
- Kidney and Pancreas - 38 year old man
- Kidney - 6 year old girl
- Heart - 19 year old man- I pray he will know how big his new heart is.
I believe that this is God's will for us. To become of maximum service to others
Depth of life is not only measured by how much we appreciate the important things, but also by how much we, in turn, are appreciated. And again, we find the true meaning of this idea among ourselves and our feelings tonight. We are here because we cared. We are here because our connection with Adam was a deep connection based on friendship, love, trust, and understanding. And that can only happen with a treasured God given spirit, with a spirit like Adams.
In closing, I’d like to suggest something to you. Mourn; Be sad. That is how we get to what Adam would’ve wanted. Remembering the good times; remembering his laughter, remembering his smile, remembering him happily, remembering him with God in his life and remembering him often. I am proud to have called Adam a good man, a great friend and even more my brother in Christ, My Eternal Family.
Written Oct 8, 2012 9:49pm
Dear Adam –
Today I write to say goodbye to you, my baby brother. You joined our family on Valentine ’s Day in 1983 and you made our family complete. I thought God had sent a special little Valentine gift just for me. You were the first boy I ever fell completely head over heels for and that truly never changed.
We have so many great memories as a family. We had many family trips that I can only imagine we looked like the grizzwalds. One of my favorite family trips was to Washington DC with the Sawyer Clan to see the Hudson’s. There were 6 crazy kids, 2 tired moms and our Grandma Pilquist. We hopped on the Amtrak and were on our way. We did some sightseeing in Chicago while grandma rested at the train station taking a break from the madness. We spent great time together at the beach. Of course there was the hysterical, road side bathroom stop where all you boys got wood ticks…pretty funny to the girls. Finally on the way back, we were such a spectacle that Amtrak attendant put us in the handicap car with a door that closed us all in.
We had great trips across the country to watch you dance in Myrtle Beach. On one of our trips, the 3 of us kids were all squeezed in the back of our brand new-used Cadillac which of course the air conditioning broke on the way home and it felt like the hottest July on record as we drove 20+ hours home.
Then one trip to Myrtle Beach we took a caravan of cars with both grandmas, boyfriends and who knows who else. For several hours, we followed a long line of cars through hotel parking lots as we were waved away because they were full. We ended up sleeping in a way side rest with all of us and the grandmas. What a sight we were.
I also love to think back to that day 13 years ago that I married my best friend. I was so happy to have you be part of that very special day for us. Those were back in your “pant on the ground” days. In that spirit, we had to assign another groomsman to ensure that your pants were pulled up at all times. Later in the night, you even broke a glass clinking it in excitement.
As we expanded our family, one of my greatest joys has been watching you become an uncle. It all began with that giant smile on your face as we put little baby Jacob into your arms. What a gift you were to our kids. We knew that you loved and treasured our children, so we asked you be Emma’s Godfather. We knew you’d always be there to help us raise that silly little Emma. Unlike a lot of uncles, you were in their lives almost daily. I really treasure all of simple life moments we had together. The times we came to Acapulco when you worked to see you because you always made a big deal out of the kids. On 4th of july when you bought fireworks for them. On Christmas when you showed up like Santa Claus with a huge sack of toys. You have also left a huge hole in their lives no one will ever fill because no one could be their uncle Adam.
This past week has been the most difficult of my life. When we first arrived at the hospital you were in so much pain, but we knew we could come together as a family and take care of you. On Sunday afternoon, I left you in the hospital resting. I didn’t know when I left you there that day our worlds would sharply change in only a matter of hours. From that point forward, my whole purpose became holding your hand as much as I could. I kept thinking if I just held your hand long enough, I could reach you and you would wake up, but that wasn’t meant to be. No matter how much I held your hand, you were not coming home with us.
The chaplain gave us such a great and unexpected gift. We made clay hand prints as you slept just like we did when we were in kindergarten. It seemed a little silly, but I am so grateful for that gift. When I place my hand in your giant print, I can almost feel you hand there.
As much as I prayed, as much as all of us prayed, we were not meant for a miracle. Through our tears and sorrow, mom had the strength to make the difficult decision to take this horrible, tragic nightmare and give life at a time when we couldn’t wrap our head around our own sorrow. The planning was excruciating and took several days to orchestrate because it’s such a complicated effort. You have been such life for us, but because of mom’s strength you will continue to give life for many, many other people. When we leave this world, we leave behind all of our worldly possessions – including our bodies and they are no longer ours. So, you left us with a gift that we could selfishly keep because we are so overwhelmed by sadness OR we could make the difficult choice to give a gift to other families that were also praying for a miracle. So, we made the only choice we could.
On Friday October 5th, a
· 19 Year Old Man received the biggest heart I know
· 62 Year Old Man received Lungs that would breathe new life
· 59 Year Old Man: Liver because everyone needs a good filter organ
· 38 Year Old Man: Pancreas and Kidney what the heck is a pancreas anyway?
· Dear sweet 6 year Old Girl who has been on dialysis for 2 years received one gigantic kidney and is no longer on dialysis. I can’t help but giggle a little thinking about that little 6 year old with that gigantic kidney. I feel like we should have sent it with a warning label that says…Caution: overactive kidney.
These families too prayed for a miracle and their answer was you. As much pain as it has caused our family, I am comforted to know that even though we didn’t get our miracle that these and many other families we don’t know about did. I think this is the best way we could honor your memory and the way you lived your life.
Outpouring of Love
I hope you have seen at least a little glimpse of the outpouring of love we have seen from family, friends and the community. There have been nearly 20,000 visits to your caring bridge site in only a few short days. That is so crazy! You can’t imagine how many people were praying for you. We have received endless amounts stories about how you touched people lives. I was surprised to receive a note from a childhood friend who you didn’t know very well, but he shared how compassionate you were when he lost his mom. You sat and listened to him as his grief overwhelmed him as ours does us now. That was just who you were. We have so many other stories of friends that you had that no one believed in, but you did. There was so much good you did that I never knew. I hope that in my life that I care for people in the way that you have.
Today I am forced to say goodbye, but really don’t think I can. My heart is so broken and Mom and Dad are lost without you. I am comforted that God brought Tom into your life and that you accepted Christ in April 2011. We will live with our pain here on earth for years to come as we try to figure out how to go on, with this huge Adam sized hole in our life. BUT you are in a place that there is no pain or suffering. Time in heaven is not the same as time on earth, so we will be with you before you know it. There will be many more tears for us here, but please know we love you more than words can say and are so thankful and blessed for the precious little time we had you here and got to hear your laugh.
Little brother, you had such a passion for life and compassion for people. It’s so hard for us all to say goodbye.
Love you to forever,