Heartbreaking memoir by shell-shosked widower recalls adventure, fear, chaos, doubt and reinvention
By Rod Jasmer
It was going to be the trip of a lifetime. An enchanting trek through the Guatemalan jungle, viewing the mystical Mayan Ruins, a breath-stealing sunset from atop an ancient temple, a magical entourage of a million fireflies. Then suddenly, this wonderful adventure became a nightmare. This is just the start of Without Explanation: A True Story of Love and Loss in the Jungle (March 21, 2017) by Rod Jasmer.
Adventurer, geologist and single father of three, through Without Explanation, Jasmer shares intimate thoughts, devastating real-world incidences, and heart-breaking single-parent challenges that will hit home with anyone who has ever loved someone with all of their heart. Baring his soul as he details what it means to tragically lose the love of your life, he outlines a roller coaster of hope and despair that would span the longest days of his life. As he and his friends frantically fought for his wife Valerie’s life, they found themselves far from the necessities most of us take for granted at home—a familiar language, state of the art medicine, government allies and more. Meanwhile, three children were thousands of miles away, tucked in their beds, blissfully unaware of the desperate fight to save their mother’s life.
“Writing Without Explanation has been cathartic for me,” shares Jasmer. “As I continue to process the events and the great loss of life I have felt over the years, the raw emotions surge and I assume the burdens once again and am haunted when I think about the void my children have faced growing up without their mother. But perhaps others will find solace and strength through the description of this ordeal. The very fact that you are reading this reassures me that memories of Valerie will endure.”
Without Explanation was lovingly, yet painstakingly, produced over thirteen years to include a story of anticipated adventure and remarkable courage, of heartache and disbelief, and of hope and fear. Yet, at its very core, is a life-altering tragedy and a story of love and devotion. In fact, amid the heart-breaking twists and turns, there were encounters with brave and selfless people who made a lasting impression during this horrific time.
Each chapter of Without Explanation is chilling and raw. The book shares a voyeuristic look into the chaos that hit Jasmer in the jungle of Guatemala and the challenges that awaited his new life back home in America. It also includes illustrations that depict special places and objects to Jasmer and his wife.
The following is an excerpt from Without Explanation, “A horrible grief weighed on my body and those of my companions. I wanted to go back to last night, back to my old life. My mind was easily drawn into “if only” scenarios: if only we would have done this or if only we had not done that. An atrocious sorrow was just below the surface, inviting me to give in to its vastness. I tried to temper these feelings by thinking about getting Val’s body out of the hospital and back home as soon as possible. Though sobbing and mourning were part of each minute, I needed to do more than just sit and cry. Thoughts of my children and possible dramatic changes in their lives flooded into my mind. Consequences for my children were painfully difficult to comprehend.”
Rod Jasmer grew up on one of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, where he remained to complete high school and his undergraduate degree. He eventually moved to Idaho to continue his study of geology. It was there that he met his future wife, Valerie. In late 1987 they married, he received his graduate degree, and within a few months they packed almost all of their combined possessions into six suitcases and moved to Australia on permanent resident visas. They travelled extensively during their time Down Under, including an extended five-month overland trek throughout Southeast Asia. Upon their return to America, they started a family, and their three children were born over the succeeding five years.
Jasmer’s professional career includes purchasing and starting a number of companies, and he currently works as an environmental and business consultant to Union Pacific Railroad and other national clients. After the death of his wife in 2004, travel and adventure continued to be a pastime for this single dad. Jasmer spends as much time as possible outdoors, doing most any activity the four seasons allow. He splits his time between living in Linwood, Minnesota, and Park City, Utah.
Learn more about Jasmer and Without Explanation at RodJasmer.com By