His Spirit Lives On

August 28, 2015

Things have been really tough for me lately, so naturally, I wasn't blogging. But blogging helps me process my thoughts, so I figured it's about time for me to sit down and address everything that's been going on.

My white coat ceremony, the last day I got to spend with my grandpa.
Photo credit: Kerkoff Photography & Design 
My grandpa passed away on August 13 and the past two weeks have been a bit of a blur. His passing happened suddenly and much to my surprise. His obituary can be read below:

James Hall Jones (Jim) unexpectedly passed peacefully from this earth to the next on Thursday, August 13th, 2015 at the age of 82.  Ironically, he was born on a kitchen table in Murray, Kentucky on May 3rd, 1933, and he died at the kitchen table in the arms of his loving wife of 59 years, Myke Jones while having dinner at home. 
Jim was an accomplished architect who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1957. While there, he joined the Triangle Fraternity for architects and engineers and maintained a lifelong commitment to the fraternity.  During his college years, he met and married the love of his life, Martha Doench (Myke Jones) and went on to have 5 beautiful girls: Tracey, Terry, Tricia, Tiffany and Taurin.  The girls will always be grateful that their daddy was an amazing father who loved and cherished them and provided so well for the family.   
Shortly after his graduation, Jim ran a successful architectural practice in Cincinnati focusing on commercial and later residential properties and a member of AIA. While holding a license in 6 states and looking to continue his career in architecture and construction, the family chose to call Colorado home in 1981.   
Jim retired in Westcliffe and spent his last 16 years committed to the community.  He was active in the United Methodist Church, the Rotary Club (Paul Harris recipient) and member of the Economic Development Committee.  Jim adored traveling, architecture and art, theology, the outdoors, and jazz music. 
Jim will be remembered as a charming story teller, painter, writer and one tough man.  Jim survived a brain tumor in 2008 and then went on to participate in actively raising Maya, the youngest grandchild of 7, who graduated high school in Westcliffe.
Survivors include:  his loving wife Myke; 5 children; 7 grandchildren; 2 1/2 great grandchildren; sister Bettye; niece Jennifer and other extended family in Kentucky and Ohio. 
Amazingly, on the day he died so suddenly of heart failure, Jim had printed out his autobiography, and noted such in his diary.  In it he said,
 "It's been a great life-God has blessed me immensely.  Great Family. Great Career. Great Life." 
My grandfather was one of my absolute favorite people and losing him was more difficult than I ever imagined. He and I were born exactly 56 years apart and we were kindred spirits. We saw eye to eye on so many issues and with every conversation, I gleaned a little bit more wisdom. 

Naturally, I wanted to be with my family during our time of loss, so I managed to make it down to my grandma's the weekend after his death. We were able to laugh together, cry together, and share stories. We grieved. I spent time with my mom and grandma, just the three of us, and had some intimate time to try to help us all process our loss. Three generations of women, all coming together to grieve, but more importantly, to CELEBRATE the life of my sweet grandpa. 

A beautiful sunset on the way to see my grandma 
My favorite thing about my grandfather was the way he recorded his life. He was observant and thoughtful in nature, always scribbling down his thoughts and ideas. He filled notebooks, jotted things down on scratch paper, and wrote longer essays. I can still remember when I was young that he encouraged me to write, whenever possible. He said I would never regret it and someday I would be thankful to have the memories written down. While I never have written as much as him, he did inspire my journaling habits (and later my blogging habits) as a way to process my thoughts and emotions. Writing, with or without the intention of someone reading it, helps me feel more grounded. 

It was so eerie, but also surprisingly comforting, when I learned that he left behind his autobiography for us to have. On the day of his death, we found that he had written "print autobiography"on his daily calendar, which leads us all to wonder... did he know that he was going to die? It's hard to say, but it is a strange coincidence. 

I had some time to myself while I was visiting my grandmother and I took that time to sit in his office and read through old essays and papers. I found the ticket to my white coat ceremony next to his computer, which reminded me of how quickly it all happened. I sifted through old essays; some of them brought me to tears, while others made me smile and say to myself, "that's exactly what I would imagine he would say." His writing was like a new window into his soul, which we all felt like we had lost. But he left little pieces of himself for us to discover, in a completely different way - - and what a sweet gift that is. 

One piece of writing in particular brought me great comfort. In this essay (written on May 21, 2015) he wrote:

I suspect we are spirits (like God) but have a body of matter which is necessary to overcome Earth's gravity - science tells us matter can not be created nor destroyed - but changed - so what if God uses our matter again and lets our spirit live around the universe? 
My grandpa thought a lot about life and death. This passage brought a smile to my face, because my current grief is due to losing him in the flesh. I will miss him dearly and wish for more time with him, but the only way that he was lost was in his flesh form. His spirit is still very much alive and feeling his presence at my grandma's was truly comforting. 

He went quickly, which is what he always wanted, but selfishly, I didn't want him to go. He is not physically with us, but I know that his spirit is and I'll be with him again someday. Tomorrow, our whole family with gather for his memorial service and the scattering of his ashes. He affected so many people and I hope that we can all celebrate his influence on our lives tomorrow and for all the years to come. 

I miss you every day, Gramps. You are so very loved and I'm a lucky woman to have had your presence in my life. 

1 comment

  1. Sending you and your family lots of love, and lots of love to your grandfather on his new transition in the universe beyond the physical.
    Hugs and smooches,


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