A Lifetime Ago

DRAFT NEVER PUBLISHED (I starting writing this post as a draft right after our vacation and Jimmy’s funeral and never finished or posted it)

It seems like so long ago that Kevin and I went on our 10 day vacation to Santa Cruz, CA…..a lifetime ago.

It’s been 2 weeks since we buried our brother. I had barely been home from vacation a few days until I drove to Alabama to be with my brother and family.

So, vacation seemed so long ago and not even deserving to remember…it seems.

We fly out of St. Louis on a late flight Aug 18 and had a layover at Salt Lake City airport. We got into San Jose at about 11pm. It was an uneventful flight. We decided to drive into Santa Cruz that night and find a room other than the one we have booked or vacation. My intention was to get a room in San Jose but Kevin wanted to wake up in Santa Cruz.

We always stay at Beach Street Inn right on the ocean front near the boardwalk. There is a little cafe near us that has incredible, local food. I always get a fruit turnover. I may possibly miss that more than anything!

Strawberry Turnover from the Picnic Basket
Strawberry Turnover from the Picnic Basket

Then we took a stroll on the wharf to see my favorite attraction…the seal lions. I still think it’s incredible to see such creatures up close and personal.

I helped rescue a sea bird that had a badly mangled foot and wing. I protected him from other birds picking on him. Kevin flagged down the beach patrol and they went to get Wildlife rescue. I named him “Cruz.”

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Our first full day there, we just shopped for things we needed and didn’t get far from the beach.

Our view
Our view

Day 2: I went for a beach run and Kevin an I drove north along the coast.

Natural Bridges
Natural Bridges

 

It was a great vacation but I never finished my daily blog!

 

 

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Saying Goodbye to Jimmy

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We laid my brother to rest this past Sunday after he finally lost his battle with cancer.

My heart is still broken and I’m not so sure how to handle all the emotions that I am still having. I feel lost and crushed.

He was my little brother. He was the best of us all, truly.

Brother and Sister "By My Side ~ Willow Tree
Brother and Sister “By My Side ~ Willow Tree

He knew his fate and so did I for a  year and half. I thought I was prepared. I had gone over it in my head hundreds of times.

I was with him when he took his last breath. So was the love of his life, Janice and Barry and Barbara (my brother and sister) and his handsome son, Shawn.

That was the hardest day of my life (and I’ve lost a Mama and Daddy).

I could hardly leave him alone in his flower-covered grave after everyone had left. He was my little brother.

My Sweet Little Brother
My Sweet Little Brother

He was imperfect but everyone who met him, liked him. He was good and fun.

His laugh came easy and it was loud and infectious. I will miss that most.

He was handsome all of his years.

He was the class clown.

He played baseball and basketball.

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He was the class favorite.

Girls loved him. (probably too much) 🙂

His eyes were as blue as the ocean.

He was big and strong.

He loved his 2 sons (Shawn and Logan) more than life. He met the love of his life (Janice) late in life. That is the most tragic that when he finds his true love, it was cut so short after 8 or so years.

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He was a sports fanatic…some may say. He loved St. Louis Cardinals Baseball and Tennessee Volunteers College Football.

He was buried in Tennessee orange and all the flowers sent had a Tennessee Vols theme and colors. It was beautiful and he would have loved it.

He was buried with the program from the Tenn Vols game on Saturday that he intended to watch. He was buried with a St. Louis Cardinals keychain. Janice left him a personal love note.

We were touched by the people who helped us mourn at his services.

I was surprised by some who came or called or sent flowers.

I will be forever disappointed in those who I surely thought would come or either call to give respect or condolences and they did not.

But his services were beautiful. I was mostly touched by the respect he was shown on his 40 mile drive to his resting place. Cops stopping traffic with hats off and hands on their heart. People pulling over and getting out of their car. It was a fitting send off for such a good person.

It’s not what he would have asked for or expected but it’s what he deserved.

Jimmy lived an imperfect life. He lived it well and did what he wanted. He made mistakes and he made some wonderful choices.

I wrote the following on Facebook to thank people:

I’d like to take time and thank everyone who supported us in our time of grief. I don’t know how we would have made it through this without you…whether you called us, helped us arrange services, came to visit us, prepared food for us, sent flowers, sang heartfelt songs for us, said comforting words for us, babysat for us, made us laugh, helped us cry, made us remember, prayed for us, loved us, helped our loved ones get here, carried his casket, saluted Jimmy’s final ride home, pulled over for him on the road, put your hand over your heart or took your hat off as he passed by. I’m overwhelmed with thanks and gratitude to each of you. Thank you. I💗love you and don’t you ever forget it, Jimmy Barber

Jimmy Barber lived his life 🙂

And even towards the end, he was never bitter or mad. He spend his time comforting us. His biggest worry toward the end was for the people who he was leaving behind grieving.

Everytime I ended a phone call, he would say “I love you and don’t you ever forget that”

I never will. I hear it in my mind over and over.

I miss you, Jimmy. I love you and don’t you ever forget it.

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“In my time of dying, want nobody to mourn. All I want for you to do is take my body home” ~ Led Zeppelin “In My Time of Dying”