“smile instead because I have lived”

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Before I dive into some therapeutic cooking, I wanted to do a little reflection.  It seems like March has been just one blow after another.   We have been touched by 4 untimely deaths and at least 3 others by illness or serious injury.  In my Bruschetta Chicken Bake post, I mentioned that I was making it for family friends who had endured a great tragedy this month.  Yesterday was Jimmy’s Viewing and today they will have his Funeral service.

I do not handle funerals well.  Death is overwhelming for me and difficult for me to comprehend.  Especially, when a young person who leaves behind a young family is called home.  I am a very emotional and compassionate person, and frankly, I cry like a baby.  I would rather avoid funerals.  I know, it is selfish.  I just do not like when people are sad and hurting.

So on our way to the Viewing, my anxiety was on overload.  This was Hubbs friend, and we found out in a strange sequence of events that Jimmy’s wife is actually Hubb’s 3rd cousin – so technically, we are actually family and did not even know it.  We would have rather found out under different circumstances.  The Viewing was like a high school reunion and family reunion all rolled into one.  This made it more difficult at times, and easier at others.

Jimmy was a in terrible ATV accident where he and his passenger lost their lives.  They were not wearing helmets and he succumbed to a head injury.  I found out at the viewing that before the accident he had a perfect day with family and friends celebrating his son’s birthday.  The accident occurred later at night and he was just in a happy place that day.  His friends do not believe he suffered as he did not ever regain consciousness after the accident.  Jimmy donated his organs, giving life in his death.  The casket was closed and there were wonderful pictures all over the room of him and his family and friends.  In gathering more information about the day before his accident and all the happy pictures, I think it made the room a little less sad.  At one point, Hubbs and I ended up talking with some family right next to the casket, and I asked Hubbs if we could move.  We then ended up right behind Jimmy’s wife as she greeted and hugged an endless stream of people.  Seeing her remain so strong and her small children in such a difficult position, was more sad then standing next to the casket.

One of his friends told us, Jimmy lived with no regrets.  It wasn’t until I read Jimmy’s prayer card, I came to terms more with what is happening.

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Do not shed tears while I have gone but smile instead because I have lived.

Do not shut your eyes and pray to God that I’ll come back but open your eyes and see all that I have left behind.

I know your heart will be empty because you cannot see me but still I want you to be full of the love we shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live only for yesterday for you can be happy for the tomorrow because of what happened between us yesterday.

You can remember me and grieve that I have gone or you can cherish my memory and let it live on.

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There was nothing more important to Jimmy than his family and friends.

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“Come on, just five more minutes… life is too short!” -Jimmy Maticic

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I think that the way Jimmy’s family is handling his untimely death, is so admirable.  All of his friends have come to his wife’s and children’s aid.   The support is amazing.  It does not take the sadness away or make him less missed.  Jimmy will be missed greatly, he was and is, well-loved.  When tragedy strikes, we must come together to support those in need and help them move forward, keeping the love and memories alive.

Do not take life for granted, even for a minute.  Enjoy and appreciate every second you have with your loved ones.  Life is too short!

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