The 5th anniversary – Nov. 5
So today is the 5th anniversary of the day Jim breathed heaven for the first time. That day will always be surreal for me as I reflect on each moment of that day. There were highlights like singing over Jim as he left the shadowlands for glory. There are regrets and things I would have done differently, but then again my world was spinning and my mind racing as I barely made it through that day. Even though the kids and I decided to focus on the day of Jim’s birth, 3 days later on Nov. 8th, as our reference point for celebrating his life, I think I will always privately reflect on the things I have missed and experienced alone and learned since the last time I held Jim’s hand and we whispered into the night.
I remember the days that this horrible reality began in 2009 and how it felt like my life had stopped and how fast the world was moving around me. It still feels that way sometimes especially when I think about the fact that I am no longer “us” and that I should be used to this by now. I wonder at the things that trigger the tears burning my eyes and the sting of grief that does not quit. I still don’t know what to do with some of the “stuff” that belonged to Jim that I don’t need but cannot seem to let go of, including his underwear and trombone.
I miss so many things but mostly I ache for the relationship that shaped everything. This is not the life I ordered and even though I am trying to make the best of it, I am certainly overwhelmed by unbelievable loneliness for my best friend. I miss Jim’s confidence when mine would wane, his courage when I am afraid, his ability to see the “sunny side” and let go of troubles, his belief in my abilities when my self esteem was low. I miss his prayers, his wisdom, his discipline, his patience and his love.
I am more than grateful for the shared memories of Jim; they create a nearness to the life I used to have that included “us”. I love that Jim was important to so many people and that collectively he is still missed by more than just me and the kids every day. When I think of Jim or talk about his life and ministry I still feel him and his memory keeps him alive. His sense of fun has inspired many a silly conversation and his corny puns continue to warm my heart. I smile when I see Jim in my kids or hear him in the laughter of friends or see him through a magic trick or his messy handwriting on a box or scrap of paper.
I have learned that there are no guarantees and all we have is today. Learning to live in the present has been critical but not more than learning to live in light of eternity. I have learned that hope is like manna; God gives what I need for today and I can trust that he will meet my needs again tomorrow. I have learned that the only way forward is by leaning into God’s mercy and grace. I have learned that you can never say “I love you” enough and that it is always essential to savor moments, even the hard ones. I have learned to celebrate every opportunity to make memories and not take the moments for granted. I have learned that dedication to others can change lives even after yours is over. The greatest legacy is to know that those you loved will see you again one day and that knowing they are loved still is the best way they will make it another day.
I still love you Jim. I miss you. I am living with strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
5 years = 1,826 Days or 43,824 hours or 2,629,440 minutes, or 260 weeks plus 6 days.
PS – I am going to sell the trombone!