Our friend James died Friday. My brother, sister and I really considered James to be more like an uncle. He and his wife Peggy lived across the street from us our entire childhood. We always referred to them as “PeggynJames”. We knew they were always across the street (dirt road) if we ever needed them. James spent a lot of time with my dad over the years. They often helped each other on different projects they had going. I always enjoyed going to their house to visit. Peggy taught me to crochet and helped me discover my love of all things fiber related.
James was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about two weeks ago. He went right into hospice care, and he died at home on Friday afternoon.
I am so thankful that we got to spend time with them this past summer. We went to their house one afternoon for lunch. We arrived, and it was like no time at all had passed since we’d last seen them. I loved that Peggy put me to work in the kitchen helping her finish lunch (and it was a great lunch!), and David and James got a chance to talk. I am glad that Davey got to see him and that he will have some memories of him. I sure didn’t anticipate that this would be the last time we saw him.
James loved games. He’d construct these fun little games made out of wooden or metal pieces. They were like the intertwined kind that you’d have to figure out how to take apart. When we visited this summer, he showed Davey a paper airplane launcher he had. Davey thought this was great fun. He always had something interesting to show us or something interesting that he was working on.
He had a great sense of humor too. He always made us laugh, and he had a great laugh himself.
For example, when we visited in July, he told us that he had a guard dog:
I started writing this on Friday, the day James died, but I couldn’t decide just what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, or if I could say anything at all. I decided though that I did want to write about James. I will have this written to share with Davey someday, because I’d like to remember James with Davey. James was the definition of a good neighbor and good friend. Yesterday Peggy told my sister that “James was at peace with himself. That’s one reason he was able to accept his untimely diagnosis and impending death”. Karen added that “we can all strive to live a life so we are at peace with ourselves when we die”. That made a great impact on me, and that’s a life I want for myself and for Davey (and I wish that for everyone).
We will sure miss James though.
(I borrowed this picture from my Uncle Mike Pantelogianis. Thank you Mike.)