My heart broke today. It crumbled in a million little pieces when I heard the news that my friend Jim Kneeland had passed away. I didn’t get to say goodbye. . . . I didn’t get to tell him how amazing I thought he was. Since that opportunity is gone, the only thing I can think to do is shout from the rooftops about the amazing man that was Jimmy and hope he can hear me. Maybe Jesus can pass him this note in heaven. In fact, that is now my official request.
Jimmy and I met through his wife Lorna who happens to be one of the closest people to me on the planet. It’s no surprise that Jimmy and Lorna were married. They both happen to be made from only the good stuff. Jimmy and I really became friends though when he started forming an attachment to my dog Pele. It started that they would take Pele as a favor when I went out of town. Very quickly, it switched to them asking for Pele just for fun. Soon after that, it became clear there was a love affair happening with Jimmy and Pele. His office would call Lorna and ask if Pele could come back because Jimmy was much less grumpy when Pele was around. I then started hearing about Pele getting swaddled like a baby before bed at their house. He bought a new car and doggy car seat to better suit Pele. They were loving Pele in a way I could never possibly compete with. It became clear this was no longer my dog. Pele and Jimmy belonged together. They were best buddies. Soul mates almost.Aside from his love for Pele, Jimmy loved his wife. He loved her with his whole heart. I can’t tell you how many conversations with Lorna ended with us saying, “Oh, Jimmy. He’s so sweet.” Jimmy’s true north was Lorna. This was never up for debate. I thought to myself many, many times: Boy, Lorna is so lucky. Jimmy is a gem, the shiniest gem.
The way Jimmy loved Pele and Lorna helped me understand on a deeper level just what kind of man he was. Jimmy had one of the biggest, purest hearts I have ever come across. Jimmy was so wise. Whenever I was in a bind, I would ask Lorna to run my issue by Jimmy. He would know what to do. And he did. Always full of wisdom and great advice. He would never intrude and give that advice without being asked, though. His words were never harsh. Advice given always from a place of love. So rare to find someone who is that trustworthy.
Jimmy had a shy, humble way about him. When Jimmy spoke, you stopped and listened. You wouldn’t want to miss out on those wise words. My fear about his humility was whether he knew just how awesome he was.
So Jimmy, wherever you are, I’m so sad I didn’t get to say goodbye. Can we call it a “see you later”? Keep my seat warm for me, will ya? Give Jesus a high five for me? Thank you for loving Pele in a superhuman way. Thank you for being a faithful, loving husband to my dear friend. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your generosity in our community. Thank you for making a difference. Rest, my friend. After that, will you party it up? Celebrate such a job well done. Truly Jimmy, well done. I would like to order up a Pegasus pizza party in heaven for you. I pass you a gigantic hug reaching all the way to heaven. Xoxoxo Paige