april 8th update on mom and dad

Erik and I left the hospital this afternoon for a few minutes, just to get some fresh air and a cup of coffee, before we head back to be with Mom and Dad. Neat little coffee shop on the corner of Camp and Girod called PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans. The white mochas aren’t as good as yours Josh, but I dig the spot. In the heart of downtown NOLA. 

Anyway, you didn’t ask for local entertainment and eatery recommendations I know. So, we thought we would put a new post here to update you on Mom and Dad. With Erik here with me, I will be able to give you a better description of the medical side of what’s going on. Sorry if stuff is redundant. Days and news are starting to run together, and we’re a bit tired. Sorry if stuff is redundant. Days and news are starting to run together, and we’re a bit tired. 

It’s Wednesday afternoon I know now. It’s funny. I thought it was Thursday earlier today. I even texted one of the college students I teach on Thursday mornings to update them on mom and dad, and tell them I hope they enjoy class with the amazing substitute that’s coming. Thanks, Bill Faulkner. But it’s not Thursday. It’s Wednesday.

Dad came out of surgery around noon central time. He was quite groggy. Same kind of reaction as from the surgery Monday. Struggling to come out from under the meds and struggling with the pain. But his left arm is now on the way to recovery. They surgically repaired his humerus (the bone between the shoulder and the elbow). They also fixed his ulna (in his wrist). He will probably be transitioned out of ICU tomorrow, at least we think so, into a step-down room.

It was kind of funny and tough to take all at the same time. In a matter of 20 seconds, he looked me in the eyes and said, “You stole money from me…(a few second pause)…I love you so much.” We are praying he will get good rest today and tonight and be more like himself tomorrow.

Mom is about the same, as far as you would know if you visited her yesterday and then again today. Still in what the doctor called a “deep coma.” The doctor that talked with us this morning explained a little more about the next steps, assuming Mom continues to progress, even if it is really, really, really small baby steps (this is going to be a long road). He said she would need a tracheotomy (for breathing) and a peg tube (a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube) for feeding. They told us that the swelling was down some more, and that on the CT they could see the ventricles in the middle of her brain carry fluid to and fro – something they had not been able to see before because of the swelling. THAT’S GOOD NEWS, EVEN IF IT IS A VERY MINOR PROGRESSION. At least it’s some kind of progress. No word yet on when they think she could leave the ICU and transition to a long-term care facility. She is still not responsive. 

Erik and I sang some hymns over her together. Jen sent me a voice mail with the kids wishing her “get well’s” and asking her to come play. I played it for her twice today. One time this morning in the left ear, then one time this afternoon in the right ear. Just in case she can only hear in one of them.

People continue to pray and send cards and emails and texts and facebook messages and twitters and more. THANK YOU SO VERY, VERY MUCH. Erik and I can’t thank you enough.

We spent time once we got to the apartment last night reading through your amazing notes on the guestbook of this site. We were able to get through 8 pages before being too sleepy to read anymore. We plan on reading more tonight. WE ALSO PLAN ON READING THEM TO DAD ONCE HE IS SETTLED IN A ROOM. I have shared some with Mom, already, as I have been able to, just so she could be encouraged by your love.

With all the sincerity I can muster – your prayers mean so very much. We don’t take them lightly, and we don’t take them for granted.

Thanks to everyone from so many places. Keep praying, please.

OH, BY THE WAY – my dad taught for me on Sunday morning atWestpoint’s worship gathering (our local church there in Orlando) back on March 29th. I asked him to teach that day, because of the specific passage of Scripture we were on. We are walking through 1st John right now, and it was the chapter on how the Father lavishes His love on us and calls us His children. I wanted him to teach that passage, because he has been an amazing picture of the heavenly Father as both a father and grand-father. He did, and it was awesome!

So many of you who were there that Sunday morning have commented to me in some form of how much it meant to you. If you were there, could you please take a minute to go to click on the title of this post (“april 8thupdate on mom and dad”), then leave a comment below the posting – something about what His teaching that day meant to you? I will read it to him after he is more himself. That would mean so much. 

Thanks so much. Erik and I love you. Thanks for loving on Mom and Dad and Erin and Jen and the kids!!! It has been an amazing display of the love that Christ desires from His church.

jason and erik

16 thoughts on “april 8th update on mom and dad

  1. Jason – thank u for the update
    Though I have never met you I have heard stories of you and your brother and ya’lls kids. (yes I am from the South)
    Your mom and dad have impacted my life in a huge way and continue to do so often.
    I am a former NOBTS student as well as a former staff member in North Georgia. I served as academic advisor to grad. students 2003-2005 where I also met Brian Bailey. (he had stories too!)
    AS well your mom and dad are dear friends of my former pastor Steve Kemp and his wife Dot. Apparently you and your brother were good friends with their boys, Jason and Greg.
    Your dad is the best. He made me laugh, think, study, desire, dig, ponder, dream and more. I got to go to Greece with both of them in 2003 over Thanksgiving. Your dad preached at many sites and every word he spoke made Scripture leap off the page. Walking by the site were Lydia was baptized in the N.T. became more than words on page. It was real, and 1000’s of years later could still be touched.
    I’ll never forget the day I walked across the stage in N.O. recieving my BA. He smiled, I cried. I have pics of that day and treasure them along with so many memories.
    Your mom and her soft spoken gentle voice was always a comforting presence. Running in late, as often was the case with ATL traffic, her sweet words as i ran from the office to class still make me smile.
    My prayers and my heart are with them as well as you, erik, your wives and the kids (though I have never met yoy guys in person)
    Please let them know I love them and i am praying for the best.
    Oh and tell your dad that my nickname from Robert Cleland stuck – Chicken Little
    Side note-can you send me a address to send a card and flowers, I would appreciate it.

    In the Father’s hand
    Diann Stuart

  2. Jimmy, I wasn’t at Westpoint to hear your message but I have seen with my eyes the living message as I watch you and Retia lavish your children and grandchildren with love every day in the most tender ways. You are both an inspiration as I witness your walk of faith, hope and love and lives that are so genuine. Your children are very blessed indeed.
    Bill and I love you and Retia so much.

  3. Jason, I just wanted to let you know that Chris and I are praying–fervently for your mom to show signs of healing, and for your dad’s comfort as he copes with pain in so many places. We’re praying for you and Erik as you deal with details and the hospital and just seeing the trauma day to day. And we’re praying for Jen and Erin and the kids, as they try to hold everything down and love on the kids and support you from home!

    We wish we were closer to be able to do something more tangible, but I just wanted to let you know we’re praying hard in Texas.

  4. Jason,

    Karen and I are praying for your mom and Dad as well as you, Jen, Erik and the rest of the family. I am encouraged by the pattern of faith in our great God that has been typical of all the posts on the CaringBridge journal as well as the posts on your blog. Our hope is sure in Him despite the circumstances. In times like these I’m acutely aware of how weak the medium of words really is apart from the Spirit of God working in and through them. I would love to pray with you in person or over the phone, but realize that is impractical. The following is our prayer for you all:

    Father, I pray that You would heal, comfort, and strengthen the Dukes family by Your Word and Spirit. May they sense Your comforting presence in every way; may the body of Your church embrace them with her prayer, encouragement, and love. May this situation be sanctified by You to demonstrate Your glory and the glorious truth of Your Gospel in and through the living faith of this family. You are our God, You are our hope, You are our salvation. We wait for You. Come quickly. Amen.

    Grace and Peace,


    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

  5. Hey guys, I’m glad your dad is doing better, be sure to give him my best. I will continue to pray for him & your mom. It breaks my heart to think of her in the hospital, she is such an amazing lady. I know how proud she & Mr. Jimmy are of both of you. I remember your mom’s sense of humor, especially Erik that first spring break you, Jay & I, spent at your folks house in NO,LA. I will always remember her comment to us about your dad during the Steve Martin movie. I remember thinking “Man, Erik’s mom is the coolest, maybe a little crazy, but really cool.” That memory always makes me laugh, but tonight it brought tears to my eyes & my heart is breaking for the pain they are in and for the sorrows you both are having. I know God has a plan, and all things works for His glory.
    It has been over 19 years since that first spring break trip, but your mom is still the coolest. Please tell them both I am thinking of them. And if I can do anything please call, I am only an hour or so away. My # is 6012481554.

  6. Jason, Erik & Family,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us. We are praying for your parents and family and have asked other prayer warriors to pray. We are thankful to God that you are surrounded by so much love and support.

    May God Bless you all,

    The Grant Family

  7. Jason, Erik & Family,

    God is so good! I’m so excited to hear about the baby steps your Mom is taking…We are praying for her every second of the day!!! Tell her even though she seems to be a very quiet soft spoken woman that inside she is mighty and strong because of her Saviour!! Stay strong Momma Dukes, God will make you well!

    I love watching your Dad with your kiddos!!! Tell him to stay strong and keep pushing forward so he can go and play with them again! I’m praying for a speedy recovery and that God will just put his blanket of peace and comfort over him!

    Jason we love you, your family and the way you have ALL touched our lives. I’m committing to calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and praying for your family every day!!!


    Jen & Jason Stelly

  8. Your family is amazing. My husband just preached a message called “30 Days to Live”. It was about loving your family and representing Christ while we are on this planet. I am inspried by your family and how you are all pushing through.
    In our prayers,
    Amy Collins

  9. Hey Jason,

    We continue to pray for your whole family.

    For the heavenly Father to give you and Erik strength to be there and look on.

    To give your mom the strength to fight back and recover.

    To give your dad the strength to heal.

    For your wives to have the strength to wait for news from far away.

    For your kids to have the strength to cope with dad’s being away.

    You have several hundred new friends in Scotland praying for this situation knowing the God who spans more than the Atlantic, can give strength to deal with all things.

    With our love and concern.

    Bill & Sheena xx

  10. Hey Jason,

    Its good to know that even in this trial, you can still make someone smile. By that I mean the redundant part (I’m hoping that was intentional) Just wanted to let you know that we all love you and that we have all been praying for your parents, you and Erik and your family. Love you. See you soon.

  11. I was there two weeks ago when your dad taught. He has a gift for getting a message across and still having fun. It’s obvious he really enjoys teaching. I could also tell that he loves his family very much. We’re praying for you, your folks and your families.

    P.S. Not to get too deep, but I couldn’t help but notice that you capitalized the pronoun “His” near the end of the second to last paragraph where you’re talking about your father’s teaching. I’d like to think that it wasn’t a mistake, but your way of reminding us how your dad turned “his teaching” into “His teaching”.

  12. Jason – I spent most of the time listening to your dad teach, holding back happy tears thinking about how cool it was that you were a third generation pastor and your dad was now teaching in your church. I was mesmerized by his calm and connecting demeanor and his passion for his family. He made the bible come alive in his words and the very real life references. I have such respect for his wisdom, both of your humility and the love you have for each other. I look forward to hearing him teach again in the coming months!!!
    Love you guys TONS!!! Julie

  13. I love you so much. And so does your Heavenly Father. And He loves your folks just as much. I pray you and your family feel the peace that can only come from living in Christ. Love on your momma as Jesus, He will heal her. Love on your pop as Jesus, He will heal him. They have a great story left to tell and I thank God He has given us an eternity to tell it. We are praying for you and your family, Norm and I. I hope your Easter is filled with gladness for His rising.


  14. Dear Mr Dukes,

    We don’t know you very well, although we feel like we started to, on the Sunday you taught us. Previously, you were ‘Jason’s dad’, but you are even a lot more than that. More like an older version of Jason, with a lot more hair!

    Thank you and your family for inspiring us to be grateful parents, thoughtful neighbors …… how to live consciously, really. Most of all, we are thankful for Jason and Jennifer, for showing us that you don’t have to be related to someone, to be a family.

    We are praying for you and your wife to heal well and come home. Looking forward to getting to know you both, a lot better. I found out that Retia grows tomatoes, so we already have that in common!

    Much Love & Prayers,
    Ian & Alberta

  15. Mr. Dukes,

    You spoke about God’s “outrageous love” a few weeks ago at our Worship Gathering at Westpoint. Today, on your 49th anniversary, I am especially reflective of that love and the way you, too, have shared it with your family, friends, and the rest of us lucky enough to have heard you share your wisdom. Thank you for that meaningful “teaching time,” and for the many other times that your words have been spoken through Jason.

    I have often commented about what a special family you are… what special parents you’ve been. So many times, I hear of “pastor’s children” who rebel and turn away from the Lord, but you have brought up your children to love the Lord and others in such a way that many have never experienced. Jason has spoken of the grace-filled home you and Retia raised him and Erik in, and I am so inspired to follow your example as I raise my own boys. I look forward to hearing more stories and soaking up your wisdom when you AND Retia (I am full of hope and faith that she, too, will be fully healed!) return to Orlando.

    I’m so glad you shared the story of your first meeting – how you knew she was the woman you would marry the moment you saw her. I love the photo of your hand on hers when you saw her in the hospital. I am praying you will be holding that hand as you look into her shining eyes very soon!

    In HIS hands,

    Kelli and Curt Caffey

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