Most people have a high school sweet heart. The first guy that they date and possibly fall in love with. I started dating my high school sweet heart towards the end of my junior year and we broke it off towards the end of my senior year.
I had a group of guy friends that he was close to. He was not a good guy when it came to girls. He was not a "one woman" kind of guy. I was always the good girl and the thought of the "bad" guy was very appealing. When we started dating the rest of our friends warned me that I was setting myself up to get hurt and him that hurting me was not a good idea. We didn't pay much attention to anyone else. For just over a year all we cared about was each other and having fun.
In so many ways I can't even begin to count we were completely different from each other. He was tall, I was short. I was college bound and a good student and he quit high school to get his GED. He hated school and everything to do with it. He worked full time instead. He smoked but didn't drink. I was a social person that loved parties and hanging out. He had his group of friends and was never that interested in big crowds or going out.
What we did have in common was good conversation, good friends, and spending time together. We spent a lot of time together. We were together at my house or his almost everyday for over a year. His mom had gone through a rough time so he moved home to help with some bills. He was close to his mom and his sister and loved them very much. Their house was always open to all of his friends and their friends too. They also had several fat and lazy cats, a couple dogs, and horse that were all considered family. You know those houses that just feel like home? His home was one of those places.
In all the conversations we had the one thing we never talked about was the future. We both kind of knew we didn't really have one. I was going off to college and he was staying there. I wanted a career, a big family, etc etc and that was definitely not in his dreams. I don't remember him ever really talking about his dreams except to make more money and spend it. He always lived in the now. He more than anyone I ever met before treasured life and felt that it was so precious. He lived today and never dwelled on the past.
A few weeks before Emily's first birthday I got a call out of the blue from his mom. She told me that Jim had died a year ago that week. It was such a surreal experience for me because to me it felt like he had just died. I was very upset and felt horrible for not knowing. People always say that funerals are for the grieving and for the first time I really understood what that meant. I was grieving and it felt very lonesome because everyone had already been through this. I had moved several times and no one really knew how to get a hold of me. So many things were going on at that time. Still it felt horrible.
When I talked to Bret about it that evening he reminded me that when Jim died I was very sick. I had very high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia) during the end of my pregnancy and was on bedrest. Bret was still in New Orleans finishing a class and finding out that Jim had died and trying to go the funeral (even though I was on bedrest) would not have been safe for Emily (especially since it was much to early for her to come). Bret felt that it was very much God's plan to keep me and the baby safe.
Jim had come down to college a few times to visit and I had seen him a couple times when hanging out with friends when I went home to visit. I keep in touch with his mom and few friends through facebook and sometimes I wonder if he would have gotten on the bandwagon and gotten an account to. I think about what he would have thought about me being a mom and how much slack it would give me for marrying an OB/GYN. He and Bret would have actually gotten along much better than I might feel comfortable with exchanging Adrianaisms only they would understand.
He was such a huge influence on me when we dated. He gave me more confidence in myself than I could have ever imagined. His love of life was infectious and so much fun. I think that sometimes my impulsiveness to do something new or lack of fear of trying new things come directly from him. It has been six years and I can't believe it has been so long.
This picture was taken while we were dating in fact I bought him the shirt he is wearing. The girl is his sister Katie.