Jeffrey Baumrucker, 1957-2011

This is the post I've been dreading writing. It might explain the silence around here these days. I didn't want to post about this, but then it seemed wrong not to. This blog is a chronicle of our life, right? And our life just suffered a major loss.

My Uncle Jeff died. Actually, I should restate that: My Uncle Jeff was tragically killed in an accident. Two weeks ago today, we had just started skyping with our friends in Portland, happy to be talking to them, seeing their not-so-new baby. My cell rang, then the home phone. I knew something was going on, so stepped away from the conversation and answered it. My mom was sobbing, telling me that Jeff was in a terrible accident, that it wasn't good.

He was riding motorcycles with a friend, sitting at a red light, doing everything right, wearing a helmet, being safe. It wasn't his motorcycle, but he had his license, was just getting into riding. He was hit from behind by a woman going fast. He was placed on life support.

My mom and dad left on the first flight out Monday morning with my aunts and uncles. The cousins waited to book tickets. From there it was the longest, most exhausting week - Days melted into each other. None of us knew what day it was, only that we were waiting to be told when we should book tickets. Waiting. After less than 48 hours on life support, he passed away. I can't even imagine what it was like for my parents, aunts and uncles, and my aunt who just lost her husband and four cousins who just lost their father. The week must have lasted an eternity.

Without my mom here, I took off a couple of days to stay home with W. He heard the constant conversations, the stuff I didn't think he'd understand. The stuff I didn't want him to understand.

"Is Jeff coming over?" he asked.

"Do you mean Jeff the person or Jeff your car?" (He calls his Fillmore car from Cars "Jeff" for some reason - Always has.)

"The person."

"You've heard us talking about Jeff a lot, haven't you?"


"Do you remember Jeff?"

"Will he get better?"

"I don't think so, buddy."

"The doctors will fix him," he said.

"Sometimes doctors can't fix people. Sometimes they're too broken."

"What do they do?"

"Well, they go to sleep for a long, long time and we remember them." How do you explain this to a 2 year old who has the verbal capacity and understanding of a child years ahead of him, but not the mental or emotional ability? That was a really tough part of the week, but not the hardest.

The hardest: My sister and I had to tell my grandfather that he had lost a son. My grandfather suffered a massive stroke 10 years ago and lives in a nursing facility, so was not able to make the trip. We sat and talked a lot about Jeff and out of the blue my grandpa said something that stuck with me: "Jeff was a really good dancer." And he was. There have been four Baumrucker cousin weddings so far, and Jeff ripped up the floor at each wedding. He had a great, fun, fearless, hysterical personality. I don't know that I know anyone else quite like him.

I flew to Florida with my cousins last Saturday morning and the weekend was spent crying, laughing, hugging, walking around shocked. We're all still in a state of shock. I'm not sure when it will make sense, if it ever will. My uncle was a truly remarkable person. When we leave this life all that's left is the impact we had on others and he made quite an impact. I only wish he had more time to rub off on my little guy.

I think this article is a nice piece on Jeff and how the dental community came together to help, because that's what Jeff deserved and would have done for anyone else. This has been a tragedy for so many people. I don't know that it will ever make sense.

This post can't begin to do justice for what a loss this has been. It's hard to describe heart break. So, I'll just leave it at that.


Windtraveler said...

Your uncle Jeff was a wonderful man. This loss breaks my heart for you and his family. Words just cannot express the sadness I feel. I love you so much. xox

Cindy Fey said...

I'm sorry to read of your family's loss. He sounds like such a vibrant man. Warmest wishes.

Anonymous said...

So so sad Lisa. He was such a great guy. Love you.


marysquared said...

Lisa you all are so lucky to have a GREAT family. I am so sorry about Jeff...it makes it so much harder when they are a great person inside and still so young..

Mary Jazdzewski Mack

Marketing Mommy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Miriam said...

Lisa, even though I do not know you, my heart breaks for you and all the family and friends of your uncle, dear Dr. Baumrucker, as he was known to me and my husband. We have been patients of his for close to 10 years. It was only today, as I went for an appointment, that I was told the tragic news. I am still in shock, and filled with a deep sense of sadness. I can still see his smiling face, and hear his friendly voice. His office seems hollow without him there. I can tell you the loss is felt deeply by all. I only knew him as my dentist, but I will never forget what a sincere, kind, vibrant, happy, and full of life person he was. I wish I could convey to you the depth of my sincere sympathy.
(Psalm 55:22; Ecclesiastes 9:11)