r On February 22, 2019, Jeremy Pedersen, passed away unexpectedly, leaving behind his wife and eight children — two of whom are serving full-time missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as well as two young grandchildren.
My first introduction to the Pedersen family happened about a year ago as a new member of their LDS ward. On that particular Sunday, Jeremy and his wife, Heike were speaking in church. Heike spoke on self-reliance and living within one’s means — something I, a fellow mother of eight appreciated very much. Jeremy spoke about life.
I remember listening to his talk and he expressed a simple testimony of the gospel with no sugar on top. He admitted not being what some would refer to as a scriptorian, but being someone who believed and lived the best he could. He told us about his son who was on a mission, and how he could see the blessings he and his family had received, but that life was still not without its troubles. Jeremy went on to describe some physical challenges that he was enduring, and how life was not easy, but he was trying, and could see the hand of the Lord in his life.
As I listened, I looked down the bench toward my husband who was captivated by Jeremy’s talk. Having also experienced a rather difficult year physically and emotionally, my husband connected with what he had to say, and later that day, let me know how much he appreciated Brother Pedersen’s talk.
Jeremy spoke to my husband and I a few other times about some of his challenges, looking for support or at the very least a listening ear, but we always felt like we got the better end of the deal. He would bring by treats for our younger kids who he taught in primary, and always talked fondly of being a father of a large family. He loved his children, and would tell us often about how he wanted so badly to run around and play with his grandchildren as he was now entering that stage of life.
His two youngest daughters and my oldest daughter became the best of friends, and spent countless hours hanging out in our basement — until teenage girls did what teenage girls often do, and they struggled maintaining friendship. As a parent new to the world of raising teenage daughters, it was refreshing to have Jeremy and Heike to talk to during this time. There were no fingers pointed, but genuine concern to help our daughters come to a resolve. Jeremy followed up with texts asking how my daughter was doing, wanting to make sure things were getting better. I appreciated that so much, and things did improve significantly because of Jeremy and his wife’s great parenting.
I have learned so much from Jeremy on how to be kind and humble even when life gets hard. I have learned how it is to be real and raw in the face of adversity. I learned that sometimes conquering and overcoming challenges may not happen in this lifetime, but that we should do the best we can with the knowledge we have — that is all that is asked of us.
With the news of Jeremy’s unexpected passing, I couldn’t help but feel heartbroken for the Pedersen family who would now have a new normal that does not include the physical presence of their father. I can’t begin to understand what the family is going through, and will go through in the coming days, weeks, months and years, but I want to use my voice as a means to help.
If you feel so inclined, or have the means available to help this family in their immediate and future needs at this difficult time, a Gofundme account has been set up under “The Jeremy Pedersen family.” Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help in any other way, and I will connect you with the right person.