Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One Week & It Still Doesn't Seem True

Death is never an easy thing.

Sometimes when people are old and sick it is a blessing, but when someone you love is taken from this earth in the prime of their life it is a bitter pill to swallow. I've had to do it when my half-sister, Kim, died of a brain anyerisum a few years ago.

Wednesday, January 5, we got another one of those calls. Bill's cousin, Jimmy, was piloting his own plane when it malfunctioned upon take-off and crashed. He was an experienced pilot, someone I would have let my own children fly with.

I first met Jimmy in 1999; he was Bill's closest relative; as well as a friend. He would fly home for a weekend or a holiday and would stop over to see us and would inevitably end up spending the night because we just sat around the kitchen table, talking, drinking, and laughing.

Oh, his laugh. It was booming. And contagious.

If I didn't know he was from Mentor OH, I would have put money on him being from the South. He had a twang and that southern charm. Jimmy found his home in Texas and lived a bachelors dream. He lived on a boat in Port Aransas. He met his future wife, Kelly, there and eventually moved close to Dallas, which worked for us. BK (before kids), Bill and I spent some time each year in Dallas with my Aunt & Uncle and always had a night or two out with Cousin Jim. Our favorite spot to meet up was Lower Greenville.

He flew in for our wedding in 2003 and I can still hear his laugh. He fit right in with my crazy family and spent the night on the dance floor. In his haste to get into town quickly, he forgot to get us a wedding gift. The next time he flew into town, there he was at our front door with a gift.

I always admired his spirit of adventure. Want to go scuba diving in Belize? Sure, why not. Want to sail a boat to Mexico? Let's go. Riding motorcycles around the country? Absolutely. Once Jimmy got it in his head that he was going to do "X." He actually went out and did it. Not many of us can say that.

Life happened and infertility and then, thankfully, kids made our lives a blur. Jimmy married Kelly. We were sad that we couldn't be there, but I was a little under 6 weeks to delivery and couldn't fly and Bill was worried that if he went, that would be when I went into labor.

In the past 3 years, we only got to see them twice. I am so glad our kids got to at least meet him.

The first time they met a group of us had dinner at Rocky River Brewing Comp. Bill was at the Browns game, but that didn't matter. Jim and Kelly brought the kids their first Winnie The Pooh & Tigger stuffed animals and gave them lots of hugs and kisses. Whenever Jimmy would laugh, 3 month olds, Reagan and Nolan would look around at where that funny sound was coming from. The next time we got together, the kids were 1 1/2 and were fascinated with Jimmy. He brought his guitar and sang to the kids and let them strum and play around with the guitar. All with that big grin on his face. We shared a sunset at the lake at the end of our street. It was a beautiful one.

We would have loved to have taken the kids to Texas for one of Jim & Kelly's summer parties, but it was always something and there was always "next year." 

He lived his life and loved his family and friends like there was no tomorrow. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, and had a hell of a good time doing it. It hurts something awful knowing he is gone, but it is a bit of a comfort knowing he lived life with no regrets. Not many of us can say that.

Jimmy, I am going to strive to live my life the way you did. I want to live passionately, experience life, love deeply, and have a blast doing it. I want to raise my kids to live that way. I expect them to be great adventurers like you.

The world is a dimmer place without you in it. If all of us that knew you strive to live as you did maybe we can restore some of that light.

A gentleman.
A scholar.
A good soul.
An adventurer.

Jimmy, you have left a hole in Bill's heart. You two shared some fun times, as well as the Polewchak family resemblance. As I put this blog together (it has taken me a week, because every time I start it, I stop because I'm crying), Reagan and Nolan were watching me insert the pictures. They insist that is their Daddy in the pictures.

Bill is not close to too many people. You were one of them. Before I knew either of you, it sounds like you had some good times at Pine Ridge and The Iguana. I know he treasures those. This has been very hard for him.

 I'm sure there are oysters and beer being served up left and right in heaven right now. When it's our turn, save us a seat.

hasta luego, cuz. Your spirit will live on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shelly, This was nothing short of incredible. Jen sent it to me and it brought me to tears. I don't know if there is any way to print this out, but I will give it a darn good try when I get back to work on Monday. I am Jim's mom and I'm grateful that he had relatives like you. The pictures with the twins are priceless.