So, this blog post is a little delayed, and the reason for that is simple.
Today, I learned from my wife that a mutual friend of ours, Jihmye, died. It came as a shock, because my wife just saw him last week, and spoke to him last Thursday. Apparently, he had a stroke, went into a coma, and never woke up.
When I heard the news, I felt like I had been hit in the gut. I picked up my wife to give her the car so she could grieve, she was closer to him than I was, and then I went back to work.
I was a little unfocused, and sad, but otherwise okay, and got work done.
Then, I was on the deck, talking to my wife about Jihmye, and wondering what I should write about in this blog, and she said "talk about Jihmye."
And so I am, because like many of my wife's ideas, it's a good one.
I first met Jihmye and his wife many years ago, when I was an active member of the Baha'i Faith. I had been introduced to it by my ex-wife, and Jihmye and his wife were some of the first people to accept me.
But, more importantly, Jihmye was one of the first people to recognize in me talent.
Let me re-phrase that... he was one of the first people that I believed when he said I had talent.
There was just something about him that made him credible. When he said that something you wrote was really good, you believed him. When he said that you had talent, and that you should explore it more, you wanted to run out and explore it fully right then and there.
I never got really close to Jihmye, but he's the kind of guy that makes an impression on your life and you never forget him. So, even though I drifted away from the faith, and eventually divorced my first wife, I always remembered Jihmye and his wife fondly.
A few years later, I was with my current wife at a poetry reading. While we were in the coffee shop, waiting for things to get started, I spotted Jihmye. So, naturally, I went over to talk to him. My wife saw and came over, a little freaked out. See, Jihmye was her friend, and she had known him for years through the poetry community. Did I mention that he was a poet? And a painter, too. And a number of other things, and he was amazing at all of them.
Jihmye was one of those bright stars that touched everyone's life that he met. Even if all you did was ride on the bus with him, your life was brighter for it. He had a passion for life, a zest for people, a belife in the good things in life, and when he spoke, you believed him. And more, you wanted to believe what he believed, you wanted to make your life better just for having known him.
I wouldn't be the writer I am today if I hadn't know Jihmye back then. I didn't know him long, or very well, but he made a huge impact on me.
And I will miss him.
So, cheers Jihmye! I hope that you're composing poetry to the angels and painting the colors of God.