If Jim Hadn’t Died ……

Jim smiling

…… is a thought I sometimes follow down a rabbit hole.

Life would be different. Extraordinarily different.
But not in the ways some people might think.

If Jim hadn’t died we would’ve left Texas within two years. Yep. After more than two decades we would’ve moved on.
His job would’ve required us to live in one of three places: L.A., Pittsburg or Atlanta.
We would’ve chosen Atlanta, hands down.
I’m glad I don’t live there …… now.

If Jim hadn’t died …… our two youngest sons wouldn’t have finished high school in Texas. Which might have been a good thing. But who knows?

If he hadn’t died …… I wouldn’t be living in NY. Not full time anyway. We had briefly discussed moving there for a year, just to experience living in the city. We both thought it would be cool. His word.
And that’s what propelled me onward to NY after 5 years. His word.

If I hadn’t moved to NY then Daughter #3 wouldn’t have met her husband there.
And my first granddaughter wouldn’t be here.

Son #2 wouldn’t have married his wife and grandson #3 wouldn’t be here.

And most likely, Daughter #2 may not have gone down the path that she did, seeking to help children who’ve experienced trauma, had she not dealt with her own.
Which means that my first two grandsons would not be part of our family.

All of that is too depressing to think about. For long.

If Jim hadn’t died I never would’ve met the amazing people who have become my “tribe” …… my fellow widowed peeps.
The people who literally saved my life and let me know that I could, indeed, survive this loss.

Here’s where I might lose some of you. I hope not, but these are difficult times and I want to be open and honest.

If Jim hadn’t died and my first two precious grandsons hadn’t joined our family …… I might never have ventured outside my “bubble” and would still be thinking that there’s no such thing as “white privilege”. I would still think that anyone who’s down (mentally or socially) just needs to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and live the American Dream.

But he did die.
And my bootstraps broke.

Had he not died I would be a less compassionate person.
I would still talk more than I listen.
I would seek to be understood more than seek to understand.
And I still would not understand that the American Dream is totally out of reach for some people.
Many people.
Most people.

I wouldn’t have seen that my grandsons will have to be raised differently than my white sons.
I wouldn’t have known that we’d have to talk to them about how they’ll have to act differently if they’re pulled over, or are going on a job interview, or jogging in a “white neighborhood”.

These two very young children have already taught me more in their young lives than I learned in my first 5 decades.

If Jim hadn’t died …… we’d be having interesting dinner conversations about today’s world.

One of his relatives asked me the other day, “What do you think Jim would think about everything that’s happening today?”
I’m sure most of his family wonders what he would think.
Especially of me and of my children and our political views.

He would be as horrified as everyone about the state of our country today.
But the 7 of us know, without a doubt, that Jim would never have voted for the current person in the White House.
He loved his daughters too much.
He respected women too much.
He valued integrity too much.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

If Jim hadn’t died …… I’d never have met (IRL or virtually) most of you.
I wouldn’t be writing this particular blog.

If he hadn’t died I wouldn’t have met the wonderful friends that I have in NY.
I wouldn’t be longing to get back there right now.

If Jim hadn’t died I wouldn’t have been challenged in some ways, grown in many ways, or leaned on God so hard.

Am I saying that I’m glad that Jim died?
Of course not.

But am I glad that so many good things came out of his death?
You bet.

I’m human.
I make mistakes every day.
I let people down.
I don’t always do the right thing.

But I’m growing.
And learning.
And stretching.
And am okay now with being uncomfortable.
Because I think that it’s in our uncomfortableness …… where we learn the most.
About ourselves.
And about others.

If Jim had not died …… my life would have been good. The way it was.

If Jim had not died …… I might not have known that I could be better.

If Jim hadn’t died ……

8 thoughts on “If Jim Hadn’t Died ……

  1. Jo Ann Cook

    I thank God for you and your honesty! I thank God that you light a path for me as I journey through joining your tribe. Keep on keeping on, my friend! Sending you lots of love and hugs.

    Reply
  2. Susan

    Janine, your compassion would have surfaced at some point, with or without Jim’s death! As it would have in your daughter as well! Good people, doing good things when the time is right! Proud of you and your family.

    Reply
  3. Kim McArthur

    I love experiencing your blogs! I go down this rabbit hole sometimes too. When I come back up, it is always with a gratefulness for this new life all made possible because of such awful circumstances. Thanks for your honesty!!

    Hugs Kim

    On Wed, Jun 10, 2020 at 9:06 PM My Second Plan A wrote:

    > mysecondplana posted: ” …… is a thought I sometimes follow down a > rabbit hole. Life would be different. Extraordinarily different. But not in > the ways some people might think. If Jim hadn’t died we would’ve left Texas > within two years. Yep. After more than two decades we” >

    Reply
  4. pdoetaydoe

    I too follow down this rabbit hole. It helps my kids and I be grateful for the current day. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  5. Lorraine

    So true for me, as well. I would have stayed in my couples bubble instead of forming single-women friendships that enrich my life. I probably would not have taken the risk of adventuring and crisscrossing the US in an RV (alone!). My children are different, too, because of this loss. The “gifts” of widowhood are many, but it’s often not apparent for years. Always enjoy your posts.

    Reply

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