Today it feels as though the ‘wind has been knocked out of my sails’. My dear, dear friend, known to many simply as ‘Jimmy’ passed on, yesterday. I found out this morning, and am in shock.
Jimmy, probably stood at just under five feet, was slightly built, built like a horse-jockey. In the times we worked together – he was a volunteer, and had been so for about seventeen years before I got there – he would recount stories to me of him ‘wrestling’ with six-footers, of putting the world to right, and dialogues of what he had said to others or would have said, and he would also spend some time ‘bending my ear’, at least initially. But, I’m a patient guy. He was a stickler for routine – it was the way he coped; he was pedantic to the minutiae – it was the way he showed his love; and he gave – he was a great volunteer to the poor and needy in this area. He had a heart of gold.
As I got to know him, I understood more of the ‘battles’ he had endured, and still faced each week. The word that epitomised Jimmy was ‘hero’. Even after leaving the post where I had been employed, we kept in touch, and we would meet up every two or three weeks for coffee. If I was lax and wasn’t quick in contacting him to arrange a rendezvous, I’d get a late evening text, saying, ‘Are you free for coffee, maty’. Yes, Jimmy’s spelling was atracious and he could never find the question-mark button on his mobile phone. His misspelt texts always made me laugh. And, I liked being called ‘maty’ by him, his mate. He just wanted someone to listen to him – and I did just that. Isn’t that what we all want?
We’d meet in the cafe in Wandsworth. He would get there early, to pay for my coffee, and so next time I’d get there twenty minutes earlier (with a good book to read, to bide the time) to ensure I was already in place to pay for his coffee….except he pre-empted this, and got there even earlier to buy me a coffee.
We would talk and talk, and talk some more. He was an interesting man, and would always conclude our cafe-meets with a hearty hand-shake, and with the words, ‘Give my regards to your Dad, and bring him along next time!’. I liked that a lot. He cared. Each time I left him, after our cafe-meets, I learned more and more about him, about the real Jimmy.
And now he’s gone. Passed on.
He suffered a massive heart attack yesterday, during the night. He was 42yo. I can imagine him, having been taken to the After-Life by angel-wing, giving God a tough time in Heaven. I miss this dear man, who became a good friend, and so will all fellow-volunteers where he worked, and all those whom he lovingly served, locally. He was one of the most altruistic people I knew. A great man.
[There is no Christian, Druid, Celtic, pagan or light-worker message to this post, today, but I am posting it on various sites -as I would normally do, places frequented by the aforementioned friends, in the hope that (depending on your theology) you would bless and pray (send good-thoughts, energy etc) for Jimmy, to his mother, wider family and his friends, please, who miss him sorely.]