In Memory of Jim

JIm’s Photo on Ofrenda, Día de los Muertos, San José del Cabo. Photo by Christy Carr.

Dear Wondrous Nature readers: I haven’t posted photographs and essays for some time but I will start again in 2019. Best wishes for a peaceful 2019.

My beloved Jim passed away June 8, 2018. His death was sudden, painless and a shock to me even though he’d been in a slow decline from Alzheimer’s for the past 6 years.

Dealing with grief when a loved one dies is not for the faint of heart. It’s difficult when your husband, best friend, confidante, partner in life is gone. Nothing prepares you for the depth of your loss.

A hundred things a day remind me of him. The impeccable deck he built under the oak tree, his tennis racquets, artwork, golf clubs, blue dodgers cap, favorite coffee mugs. But being unable to share nature’s beauty with him is one of the hardest. A red sunset over the ocean in Laguna Beach, the brilliant orange leaves of liquid amber trees in our neighborhood, seeing a blue heron in flight, the soft fur of a golden retriever, walking hand in hand among the camellias and oaks at Descanso Gardens, a loving hug, a hearty laugh.

But my strong memories, journals and photographs instantly transport me to an earlier time and make me grateful for the incredible blessing of being with my soul mate for 33 years. Jim’s easy smile and beautiful blue eyes enchanted me when we first met and continued to throughout our life together.

Christy, my stepdaughter, visited San José del Cabo this fall during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This festivity combines brilliant colors and life-affirming joy that show love and respect for deceased loved ones.

Christy placed Jim’s photograph on an ofrenda (altar) flanked by photos of artist Frida Kahlo, musician Antonio Aguilar and comedian/bullfighter Cantiniflas. The ofrenda welcomes spirits back to the realm of the living. Marigolds, candles, food and colorful calaveras (skulls) decorate the altar. Papel picado (pierced papers) gracefully flutter around the altar, representing the wind and fragility of life.

The holiday originated in Mexico several thousand years ago and is celebrated throughout Latin America on November 1 and 2 (All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days on the Catholic calendar).

Jim loved our vacations in Cabo San Lucas, La Paz and Puerto Vallarta and this year he returned there in spirit with his daughter. What a joyous way to honor her dad by celebrating his life and reuniting with him in memory and spirit.

Día de los Muertos, San José del Cabo, 2018. Photo by Christy Carr.

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20 thoughts on “In Memory of Jim

  1. Thank you for sharing your tender feelings for Jim. He was a great guy and easily shared his love and friendship. Stay strong.

  2. We are so glad you are writing again in Wondrous Nature, it’s lovely to hear from you. Jim’s nature was so playful, loving and he expressed his love of life in easy-going, simple ways. I think everyone loved Jim’s easy smile and beautiful blue eyes and were enchanted by them as well. I have many fun photos of you two and will make it my project to find them and get them to you in a little collection. Have a blessed 2019.

  3. I appreciate your thoughtful combination/ interweaving of special memories of personal significance as well as cultural.

  4. Such a sweet and tender memory of Jim by you and Christy. Very glad that you will continue writing this column in 2019. Blessings for a refreshing year.

  5. A beautiful and thoughtful tribute to a wonderful man. And such a meaningful way to tie back in to the places and culture that you enjoyed experiencing together. May his spirit and memory live with us forever.
    I look forward to your thoughts and images as they again appear on line.

  6. Such thoughtful and beautiful words to capture your life with Jim. Jim was a great guy in so many ways. But he was also a very lucky guy to find such a special soulmate in you. Not many can take such loving care of a spouse with such a horrible disease for so long. Not only did you do it with love, you also did it with action in a proactive way that will be helpful to those who follow you down this difficult path. There is so much to admire in both of you..

  7. Beautiful tribute to Jim and all the wonderful things you shared together. So many bittersweet memories. We’ll always remember him fondly with a special place in our hearts for his blue eyes, warm smile, and delightful laugh.
    xo

  8. Thank you for sharing this tender part of your heart with us and thank you for being such a wonderful wife to my dear Uncke Jim.

  9. What a beautiful remembrance of Jim. I really only knew him in his final years, but I will always remember his shiny spirit and his robust sense of humor and compassion for others. I am fortunate to have spent time with him every week and will cherish the memories and good times we shared clowning, singing and adventuring. xoxo

  10. I love the ofrenda for Jim. Reminds me of the film Coco which has a very important message for all of us. Every time I pass MountView which is several times a day I think of JIM.

  11. Susan, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of Jim. Thank you for sharing your poignant and beautiful reflection here. Your ability to find gratitude amidst the grief is very inspiring.

  12. This is a lovely tribute to Jim and to your life together. You are such a strong person to endure a staggering loss like this and keep going, but that’s what Jim would want for you. Thank you for sharing your sorrow and your memories. Peace be with you.

  13. I so appreciated your posting about Jim What a beautiful tribute to a kind and lovable man. You have so many uplifting memories to visit. I feel your sorrow and can’t imagine how difficult for you it is to go on after your loss. You are strong and stay connected with life, that I know. Wishing you all the best in 2019 my “scarf sister.”
    We missed your wonderful postings and look forward to more.

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