Friday, September 12, 2008

A message from Jim's cousin, Jennifer

I will always be grateful to you too for making sure Jim was here on one of my most important days. I will always remember telling him “I told your mom that all I wanted for a wedding gift is for her to fly you up here.” And him laughing and saying “Well if she’s paying im coming!”

I went to Willow Wood this last weekend for a friends wedding. The reception was held in the parking lot and as Scott and I walked up to the club house to use the bathroom I suddenly remembered standing on those steps with most of my cousins and getting our pictures taken. It suddenly dawned on me that this was the last place that I was with Jim. The last place I hugged him and told him I love him…I then went into the bathroom and cried. Willow Wood will always have a special place in my heart not only as the site of my wedding but as the last place I was with Jim. I thought about him a lot that night and Scott and I had drinks for him. I love him and miss him every day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, a day to remember Jim

Today is the 5th month anniversary of Jim's death, a day of remembrance. I don't think any one of us will ever forget what a great guy Jim was, how much fun he was to be around, how he smiled, or his wonderful laugh, and the joy he brought to every room he walked into.

I cherish the memories told to me by Jim's high school buddies (Josh, Zach, Will, Chris and Tony) - Jim the leader, not the follower as I always thought!, their countless escapades and wonderful commarderie. They remember last September when Jim was here and he told them all before he left, "Seriously, you guys, I love you."

I cherish the memories passed on to me in August when Kristen and Lisa each came to see me. They have such precious memories of Jim. The impact Jim had on their lives was extraordinary. I love both these girls so much for sharing their memories of Jim with me. I love that Jim was such a positive influence on them and that they will always remember him and know that there was only one Jim, one very special guy that they were so lucky to have known.

I love my weekly conversations and text messages with Angie. She loved Jim and misses him so very much. I have become close to Angie - I call her my daughter, she calls me mom. She has wonderful stories about her and Jim and I can't wait to go out to Las Vegas to see her and all of Jim's friends.

I have a picture of Jim and me together at Jen's wedding that I will forever cherish. My hand is resting on Jim's chest. I look at that picture and see my hand lying across the very heart that I gave birth to on January 11, 1981, and the very heart that stopped beating on April 11, 2008. I will forever be grateful that Jennifer got married last September and insisted that Jim come up for the wedding, it provided our family with the opportunity to be together and an opportunity for family and friends to see Jim alive - for many, the last time.

The work on Jim's memorial garden is complete. It has been long hard work on the part of myself and Larry but a true labor of love for me. The garden is a place of peace and tranquility. The beautiful garden stepping stones that everyone has made rest lovingly throughout the garden.

I hope all of you who can, will stop by on September 20th to see the garden. There is always room for one more garden stone so please don't hesitate to make one. I still have supplies to make additional stones, and you are welcome to make one that day. If you can't make it on the 20th, please plan to stop by another time.

I love you, Jim - I will always remember you.

Joanne (Jim's MOM)