Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dear Peter,

This has been a very weird last few days. Let me explain. I found out Saturday that my dear friend, Jimmy passed away. You have probably read about this on some other blogs. Jimmy and I were very good friends for about 15 years. For about 2 of those years we were engaged to be married. Although I decided not to marry, for many reasons that I will not go into right now, I know Jimmy would have been a good husband.

Jimmy was the kind of man that would give you his last dollar if he knew you needed it. If he didn't have a dollar he would start the fundraiser to get it for you. He never judged anyone, and was always the first to volunteer to help. he was a gentleman. He always held doors open for me, and always complimented me. ANYTIME we needed help he always came. Even after I hurt him so badly by canceling the wedding, he would have come in a second if I had called. The greatest thing he said to me happened just the week before he died. I called to check on him, and we talked for a long time. Mostly about nothing. Before hanging up he said, "I am so glad that we can talk like "just friends" again. I have really missed that. That convinced me that everything was, finally, okay between us.

Jimmy has been sick for a very long time. Until yesterday I did not realize his heart problems stemmed back to his childhood. He never complained, or used his illnesses for excuses to not do anything. He was a hard worker and very diligent in all that he did.

He was a lot of fun to be around. He always made me laugh. Whether it was at the movies, which we both enjoyed watching, or sitting in a thunderstorm at Six Flags waiting for Reba McEntire to sing. He even paid my way to Las Vegas once and we had a ball! (Get your mind out of the gutter, Peter; it wasn't that kind of a trip!)

I am the kind of person who believes that if you have been saved then the Lord will keep his promise and let you into Heaven. I know Jimmy was a Christian, so I do not "mourn" his death. I celebrate it as the "passing on to his REAL home". To his "reward" if you will. I will miss him terribly, and yes, even be sad, but not mournful. Some people believe I am in "shock" because I have not cried. I find it hard to cry about. I am not sure why. Maybe it is because my faith is strong, so I do not feel the need for tears. At least, that is what I would like to believe. Maybe some people are right. Maybe I am in shock, and it will "hit me, someday". I don't know.

I had to come out of my comfort zone a lot yesterday. After hearing about Jimmy I knew I needed to go to stay with his Mom to help her out. I knew she would have a lot of people there, but I also knew there would be things she needed to do or talk about that she would not do with anyone else but me. So, I rearranged my schedule and I went. I did not want to go, but I knew I needed to. It was after my arrival that I found out Jimmy actually died in the house. NOW, anyone who knows me knows that I have repeatedly stated, "I will never KNOWINGLY stay in a house where someone died." I was forced to eat my words. It was very strange though, because at the same time that I felt "uncomfortable" I also had a great sense of comfort. I know I am not making sense, but try to stay with me.

I was left alone in the house several times. I did feel "anxious", or maybe just uncomfortable, but at the same time I had a sense that he was there. It was comforting in a way. I could hear his voice in my head, talking to me just as if he was there. I guess I have seen enough Montel Williams that I remember Sylvia Brown saying, "They are always with you." I always said, "I DON'T WANT THEM WITH ME!" It freaked me out to see those things in horror movies, or on TV. But, this was different. I still can't find the words to explain it.

Later that evening when it was time to go to bed I became "uneasy", perhaps even afraid. I finally decided to swallow my pride, and said to his mother, "I know I sound stupid, but I really don't want to sleep by myself." She said, "That's not stupid, because I really don't want to sleep by myself either." So, we started off sleeping in a full size bed. We went to sleep around 11:30 pm. At about 2:30 am I sat straight up in bed, fully awake. I don't know why. I don't remember dreaming, or hearing anything that would wake me up. The room was completely dark, and I didn't know where I was at first. When I remembered where I was I got up and turned on the bathroom light. Jimmy's mother was no longer in the room. I checked the clock and it said 2:30 am. I turned on the bedroom light as well and sat on the bed for what seemed like hours. I just sat and prayed. I knew I shouldn't be afraid, and I wasn't completely. I still had that weird sense of comfort. I checked the clock again, 3:00 am.

I decided to read for awhile. I would sit, and read. Check the clock, 4:30 am. I decided to get dressed for the day. I washed up, changed, and sat on the bed again. I made the bed, got my things together, and sat some more. I checked the clock, 6:50 am. I sat on the bed. The next thing I knew Jimmy's mother was in the doorway asking me if I wanted to go to town for breakfast. I popped my eyes open (I had apparently gone to sleep), and said, "yes, ma'am". I then realized I had the worst headache! I don't know if it was the lack of sleep, the box fans blowing in my face, the heat from lack of air conditioning, or just the stress catching up with me. What I did know was that I could NOT do this again.

We went to eat, run some errands and go back home. My headache was not any better. Jimmy's mother encouraged me to go on home. After being assured that she would not be left alone I consented and called for a ride.

While waiting for my ride Jimmy's mother expressed her concern for Jimmy's memorial service. Her main objective is that she does not want this to be a sad, "dramatic" funeral. Jimmy would not have wanted that. He would have wanted people to remember him fondly, laugh, and share fun memories. A celebration of his life, not sorrow over his death. His mother wants to make sure that happens, because it is what Jimmy would have wanted. So, I want to grant his wishes, I'm just not quite sure how I will do it. His mother is going to ask everyone to stand and say something about Jimmy at his memorial service. No one is required to, but as a really good friend and ex fiancé I feel it will be expected. Problem is I am not sure what I want to say. I know what things I don't want to say. I am still milling the ideas around in my head. So, I am asking for advice. How do I share my memories of Jimmy without giving away too many of the memories I would like to keep to myself? I feel everyone will say a lot of the same things, unless they just share a personal story of how Jimmy helped them, or did or said something to make them smile.

I know that this has been a long, unorganized letter. But, I really don't feel that I can put my thoughts in words adequately. I feel it is coming out like a lot of "mumbo jumbo". I know I am not making sense. Do you have any thoughts that might help? Ask Tink and some of the Lost Boys too. I could use all the help I can get.

Wendy Darling

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