A family friend recently died. I'm not sure why his death has hit me so hard. Jimmy had a tough life. Because of a neuromuscular disorder, he always walked a little crooked. It was often hard to understand him. Asking him to repeat something made him nervous and he became even tougher to understand.
Jimmy was a wonderful guy. He cared about others and walked many miles every year for the local American Heart Association's Relay for Life. He made sweets for the hard working ladies at parish events. He was an excellent cook and made the best pies. He also bottled his own wine and provided his fine vintage for my wedding. Jimmy loved playing games and often joined my family for Mexican dominoe nights.
I was sort of able to say goodbye to Jimmy in the hospital last week. He wasn't conscious. After he had missed a couple of work days, his family found him listless at home. Doctors discovered that he had Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. He was in the hospital for several weeks, woke up a couple of weeks ago and spent the rest of his time in a deep sleep. Ironically, he looked so good when I saw him. His face was relaxed. He looked peaceful.
There are all the "could have, would have and should have's" after someone dies. I wish I would have asked him to dance at my wedding. I wish I would have made more of an attempt to talk with him although I became more comfortable making small talk with Jimmy through the years. I will miss his sweet smile and charm.
People often describe others as having a "heart of gold." That was Jimmy. And now he is in peace at his heavenly home. He is free of his earthly limitations. He touched many lives during his life. Hopefully, we will all meet again someday for long talks, dominoes, a bottle of fine wine and homeade pie. God bless you Jimmy!