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The Measure of a Real Man

Aug 27, 2016: I’m attending a funeral today for my dear friend, neighbor and colleague of 18 years, Jamy.  He “officially” died of colon and liver cancer , but really he died from the agonizing and flesh-frying poison, chemotherapy. No amount of scientific literature or even his own proof of a working alternative cancer therapy (which dropped his tumor count from 357 to 27 in one session) could sway him from the chemo paradigm. Like most, he was brainwashed and fear badgered by allopathic and pharmaceutical conglomerates we call “medicine”.

I didn’t understand his choice, but I had to respect that he died the way he wanted to, and to let it (and him) go.

That was on the 15th of August, and we are only now getting to the funeral/memorial, because the family had to make arrangements to come “all the way from Alabama”…to Mississippi.

I’m ready to put the ceremonies of death behind me, and I know attending the funeral is part of that. But, I don’t look forward to it, simply because its been a trying time with his family, who for whatever reason, spent only 2 hours with him from the time he went into the hospital on August 8 until now. That includes not coming even once when he was in hospice or when he passed away on the 15th. Meanwhile, they have sent daily requests asking the “friends” to remove all traces of his clothing and linens from his apartment, as they did not want any of “that” to be there when they arrived. Oh and please also remove the stuff on the carport, the shelves and couch, etc…

Its not that they are distraught, it’s that they didn’t want to touch anything.

Are they afraid to catch something?The cancer? His homosexuality?

As fundamental Southern Baptists, I do know they refused to acknowledge his gayness. Are their reactions solely about that?

It will be interesting to see the family today, and maybe I will revise my assessment of this after the funeral. I truly hope so. Its really the only reason I am going – to pay my respects and to spiritually protect him (although I know he doesn’t need it, but I do).

And, I know….I sound bitter. I’m working on it, but, it’s been difficult and challenging. I really try not to be judgemental on these type of things, for, as we all have experienced, families can be complicated. But my dear Jamy was a person unlike anyone I have ever met!  There was never a more positive, optimistic and joyous person. I have yet to find anyone, before or since his death, that had anything but truly amazing, intimate and wonderfully close and personal stories to share about his generosity, humor and integrity. He lit up a room, he radiated joy, he was the role model for being a good, authentic, sincere person.

He helped so many.

He was a “Service-to-others” man, dedicating his life to those with “disabilities”(although he hated that word). He was a District Director of Support, and was under immense stress on the job, even during his illness. Yet, he never, ever let up doing for others and making people laugh, even as he lay dying. He continued to bring a smile to those who visited, telling us not to worry and that it would all get better very soon, and to say silly things that made the orderlies and nurses laugh wildly, right up to the very end.

My friend and neighbor Sharon (who is one of the people who helped Jamy so much during all of this) told a story that sums up his one-of-a-kind wry wit:

Jamy, a robust and lively imp who walked with a swagger and whose energy and smile filled a room,  had wasted away, almost unrecognizabley, into a weak small ball who lay curled in a sterile and stark hospice bed. Several of his closest friends took shifts tending him over those final days, but it was Sharon who was there the most that next-to-last day.

In a rare moment of wakefulness, Jamy had motioned to Sharon, but she could not understand what he wanted to say. He began using sign language, and she assumed he simply could not use his voice any longer. She leaned close. She asked gently, “Yes? what can I do for you?” and frustrated, simply could not figure out what he needed.

He fell back into a deep sleep, and Sharon worried she had let him down.

After some time,another friend and co-worker, Mark (who also works with hearing impaired) came in and Sharon began telling him the story, how Jamy was too weak to even talk, that he needed something and that, poor thing, he had now resorted to using just using sign language…

And just at that moment, she says, they heard a devilish giggle and deep booming voice rising from the dark bed, “Ha, Ha, Ha and YOU can’t understand any of it, hahahaha….”

Pure Jamy.

He would die in the early hours of the next morning.

Graciously, he visited 3 of us that night, before death, in our dreams. He had told me in the hospital as we waited for the ambulance to move him to hospice, that there would be “visitations”, and he was true to his word. In my dream, he was calling me and I did not have my phone and so my dream neighbor came running out saying he was calling on her phone for me…but I don’t remember what was said.

Jamy…friend, brother….I now have my phone on. And I’m here, anytime you want to talk.

But truthfully, I hope more than anything that you sail away, far away and never, ever return your consciousness to this place of war, disease, chemical cocktails and purposeful slavery, deception and betrayal. You are finally flying free, and I envy you for that in so many ways.

I know that you are having a MARVELOUS time, friend, and as your dear Noelle has named you…the Dragon Heart…. you are at last back in the land of a love as great as that which you gave to all of us.

You have earned your rest, your fun and your homecoming. May you soar in that blissful light. We send you off with tremendous love and blessings and joy for your new existence.

Thank you for showing us courage, strength, resolve, selflessness. Thank you for your unique way of making everyone you knew to think THEY were your best friend. (Sharon is still in shock! Ha!) Thanks for being the “informant”, i.e. the Huggy Bear in our town (you knew it all!)

We’ll always have Natchez and New Orleans.

Thank you for being here, Jamy Emile, for being only you and never anyone else, for Chimay and the “Devil” wines, for Katie, for endless dinners and chats and hugs and walks, for listening, for the crows, and for THAT! Mm huh,right!

We shall miss you dearly, but we are forever changed and better by knowing you.

So…you GO, great dragon spirit.  GO!GO!GO!

I do love you so.

Until we meet again….Yakoki!



 POEM: by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.


Jamy and Katie2

Jamy and Katie, 2011






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