March 26, 1956 – April 14, 2020
Update April 29, 2020 (Wednesday): Mom returned to the house two days ago on Monday, symptom free. Today we buried dad. Although it was complicated by COVID-19, it was a precious time. Afterwards we felt peaceful and even buoyant.
Dear Family and Friends,
Jim Rodman (Dad) went to be with the Lord in the early morning on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, having won his fight with dementia and COVID-19 by finishing his course victoriously.
Dad was diagnosed with Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy (CAA), an aggressive form of dementia, in December 2015, at the age of 59.
In August 2018, Dad moved into a memory care facility in La Mesa.
On Sunday, April 05, 2020, Dad was transported to the hospital with virus symptoms. COVID-19 was suspected because there were already other confirmed cases in the memory care facility. He was transported back to the memory care facility Sunday evening and the next day, on Monday, April 06, the test came back positive, confirming that he had COVID-19.
Dad spent his final days in the memory care facility.
Mom was able to visit him on Friday, April 10 during which time she and I had a gloriously spontaneous hour-long phone call together with dad, singing this song, pray-reading Psalms 31, pray-reading Philippians 1, and singing this song.
Otherwise we were limited to phone calls and video calls.
Thank you for standing with us during this time. Because of the virus, we were not able to be with Dad physically when he passed, but we believe that he was not alone. We were together with him in spirit.
Mom is currently self-quarantined in a hotel out of caution because she was with Dad on Friday. Amber is at the house. And I’m in Ohio. It’s difficult to process this while being apart so please give us some space for now.
We would appreciate any remembrances, condolences, etc. either privately by email or publicly in the comments below.
The burial will be very small because of COVID-19 governmental restrictions. We hope to have a memorial time later this year once the virus social distancing limitations have been lifted.
Here is a song that dad wrote in the 1970s as his personal salvation experience:
That song is included in this longer recording of the Psalms being sung in San Diego in the 1970s:
Here are two additional recordings of a 1970s singing time in Long Beach when some from San Diego went up to Long Beach to learn some new songs:
I asked dad one time when I was in college if he missed his early days in the church life in the 1970s. The gatherings were so large, the singing so exercised. He responded that on the one hand he did miss those days, but he felt that the meetings were even higher now, especially with the prophesying from all the saints from the morning revival material. He then expressed how much he longed for those saints from the early days, that they could taste what he tasted in the prophesying meetings of the church.
That surprised me as a college kid who was mostly attracted to large gatherings and strong singing. I did not see what he saw, but it made an impression on me. It impressed me that while dad appreciated his judicial redemption, he appreciated even more seeing and experiencing the process of organic salvation. God’s oikonomia (Greek word in 1 Timothy 1:4) is to dispense Himself into us little by little, day by day, to mature us in the divine life.
Dad also saw something of the church. Watching my dad, I was very clear that he was not interested in being matured in the divine life to become a spiritual giant. He was a humble slave, a person who served faithfully in the church for decades in a hidden way. Ultimately God is not after individual spiritual giants, but the Body of Christ where the individual members have been blended together and built-up together to express Christ corporately.
Perhaps the Lord shone the most in my dad in the last few years. Dementia strips away your dignity as you slowly lose your mind. As my dad continued to decline, I was amazed to watch the Lord continue to shine.
Here’s a screenshot from a video that I took one month before dad had to be moved into a memory care facility. At this point he was putting his shoes on the wrong feet and shorts on upside down. He spoke “another language” much of the time that none of us could understand. He was completely disconnected from the conversation going on in the room and oblivious to the fact that I was videoing him as he took out a booklet called A Simple Way to Touch the Lord (click here) and started “reading” it out loud softly. I couldn’t understand most of the words, but some words like “God” and “Christ” came out clearly. As he read, he periodically nodded and said, “that’s good.”
Watching my dad during these final years reminded me of the portion of Daniel 6:10 where it says, “he knelt on his knees and prayed and gave thanks before his God, because he had always done so previously.”
My dad’s final years with dementia made it very clear to me that his relationship with Jesus Christ was not a performance, but something very real and genuine, something at his core that could not be taken away from him.
Here is a recording from the 1980s of my dad singing from the Psalms. I believe this was his personal experience:
That song is included in this longer recording of the story of David:
I am so thankful to the Lord for what He did in my dad through normal growth in the divine life, little by little, day by day. Dad was a pattern to me. I want to be just like him. Dad was not anything “super” or “special”, he simply kept opening to the Lord for more dispensing, little by little. We all can do that. Lord have mercy on us, remind us to keep opening to You.
Two more verses that make me think of dad:
For though you have ten thousand guides in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers.
1 Corinthians 4:15a
Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1
Update October 2020: Sometimes I wonder what things were like for dad the last few years as his mind degenerated. How painful was it? What could we have done to make things better for him? It seemed like he was descending into darkness and there was nothing we could do about it. Then, in October, about 6 months after dad passed away, someone sent this recording to me of dad singing Jonah chapter 2. I think it was recorded in 1988. It was my first time hearing it and it refreshed me very much. I believe that this was dad’s experience, including during his final years with dementia:
Update November 2020: Well, apparently I had heard this song before when I was in 1st grade. Mom told me that it was recorded for an October 31st church gathering during those years when the church would gather the children for a big family time in lieu of trick-or-treating. There would be a skit and that year the skit was on Jonah. Dad was out of the country on October 31st in Taiwan so he recorded the tune that he had written. The words are from Jonah chapter 2.