Shared by Alicia Garcia:
Jamie was 22 years old when I first met him. Hard to imagine. I have a daughter now who is 22. She, like Jamie was then, is just starting her adult life. Jamie began his first professional job at KOTA-TV the summer of 1996. I began one month later. Even though I was older than him, he always had seniority. That was fine with me. I liked him as the older brother I never had. He immediately became family to me. Someone to joke with, tell stories to, call on when I needed help, turn to when I was exasperated with some life event and share our daily life activities.
I had a two-year-old son when I met Jamie. In 1997, I had my second son followed by two daughters over the next few years. Jamie became an unofficial uncle to them. He helped watch them occasionally as I juggled two jobs. He was always an emotional support for me. He lifted my spirits when he walked into the room. I remember one time- years after we first met- when my children were living their teenage years and I felt like I was living in a war zone- Jamie and I met for our weekly breakfasts. I was particularly dispirited that morning and he asked why. I went into that speech that Jack Nicholson gives at the end of “A Few Good Men.”
“Just exhausted from people who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then question the manner in which I provide it,” I replied.
Without blinking an eye he joined in…. and we spoke in unison with our voices rising at the end … “I would rather they just said thank you, and went on their way, otherwise, I suggest they pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE ENTITLED TO!!”
We both burst into a fit of laughter and my stress immediately dissipated. Life’s problems couldn’t be that bad when you had someone to share it with. Jamie could always remind me that I wasn’t alone and that made any problem easier to bear.
I took our friendship for granted. Jamie’s presence created such an easy and gentle aura that quite frankly it never occurred to me that he could die. How foolish I was. Now that he’s gone, I have the sad realization that I simply do not have enough time left on this earth to find, enjoy and tend to another friendship like I shared with Jamie.\
I hope all my children meet a friend that brings out the best in them. I hope they can walk with this friend through their life’s journeys. I hope they can laugh together until tears run down their faces and their stomachs hurt. What a gift it is….