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Another Man Down

christa jim sims

Late last night I received an email with tragic news about the loss of another friend to suicide.

The news came with a copy of his suicide note, a well written 9 page letter which I am not at liberty to share.

This friend, ironically named “Jim”, was the one who inspired the name “Giggle On”. Not only is it tragic another man lost his life to suicide, the similarities to the loss of my friend Jim Thompson are chilling.

Jim Ed Sims, Jr. lost his battle with depression on October 28, 2009. He was 35 years old.

Below is the email I sent to his friends and family a few minutes ago. I share this with the world as a tribute to a man who supported me during an emotional time.

Jim Sims inspired me to be creative. He encouraged me to be the best Christa I can be. I will never forget you.

The Email

I am shocked and saddened by the news of Jim’s death.  I am so sorry for the heavy burden his friends, family and son must now bear.

I met Jim in 2007 through a mutual friend. Ironically Jim helped me process my emotions regarding my friend Jim Thompson’s suicide in 2005 (he was also 35 years old). The similarities in their stories are chilling, absolutely chilling.

I told Sims how losing Thompson to suicide changed my life. Sims listened to every word I said and responded thoughtfully and with compassion. At one point, I was on the brink of suicide but Thompson’s death actually saved me.

Jim Ed Sims, Jr. Tile Artisan

Sims and I talked at great length of depression, his relationship with the church, music, art, mosaics (one of his favorite pieces shown above), tile work, his love of Austin and devotion to his son. We also laughed, danced, fished, listened to live music (Jimmy Vaughan and Patrice Pike) and practiced the art of playfulness.

Jim introduced me to Texas style BBQ at the County Line, took me to experience the movies at the Alamo (drinking beer at a movie is brilliant by the way), drove me all over creation and showed me some of the greatest views and vistas in the city of Austin and the surrounding hills (photo below).

He also shared his love of writing, his talent as a songwriter, pianist and musician. Ah, what a beautiful singing voice he had!

Texas Hill Country

For the Love of Rocks, Tiles and Glass

During one of my trips to Austin he took me on an adult field trip to his favorite warehouses – the place where all the lovely tiles come from.

I started collecting rocks as a child. Jim knew much I loved glass, rocks, tiles and mosaics.  We stopped at several of his regular tile places and he introduced me to his associates and buddies.   Everyone greeted him with a smile. Seems everyone knew and loved Jim Sims.

I will never forget walking through the aisles of granite counter-tops or gazing through the warehouses like a kid in a candy store at hundreds of varieties of glass. I felt like I died and went to rock heaven! I also had the chance to watch him at work and saw several of his completed jobs close up. This man was a true artisan. Austin is lucky to have a piece of his art left behind.

Jim Sims at the Nutty Brown pre-Patrice Pike concert. Great night it was!Jim Sims had a gleaming smile, a playful sense of humor and an infectious laugh. I will never forget him.

Jim Sims talked about how much he loved his sister and how much he appreciated the love and support she showed to him. He also loved his little man, his only son “N”. His face would illuminate when speaking of him – so much so it warmed my heart too.  I heard stories of playing, swimming, fishing and guitar hero. I also heard stories of sickness, hospital stays, fragile health and marital strife. I knew he spent a great deal of his life struggling. I had no idea suicide was a real option to him – no idea his life had deteriorated to this extent. I am saddened that suicide has claimed another life of a man I care about.

Embrace Creativity: Giggle On

Jim inspired me to “take time to embrace the creative process” (a direct quote I wrote down during a conversation with him a year and a half ago).

Jim Sims also introduced me to the phrase “Get your Giggle On” (apparently a common phrase in the Austin area). One night we were talking on the phone and he said he was headed out with his guy friends to get his giggle on. I laughed as soon as he said it (never heard a man use the word giggle like that before). The phrase struck a chord with me and I decided to adopt “Giggle On” as my own.

With Jim Sims’ creative encouragement and Jim Thompson as the inspiration, I created GiggleOn.com.  Thank you Jim Sims for believing in me. Thank you for igniting the creative process in my life, a process I thought was dead.

It is tragic and ironic that I created my site as a tribute to my friend Jim Thompson but without Jim Sims, this site would have never come to life.

Giggle On provided me a creative outlet to talk about my grief, educate people about depression, suicide and offer support to those who lost a loved one to suicide. In addition, I work to encourage people to incorporate laughter and playfulness into their lives to reduce stress, lessen the symptoms of depression and improve their overall health. I truly believe laughter heals (and so did he).

Smile Laugh Rocks Tribute to Jim Sims

During my last trip to Austin I bought some rocks with the words “Smile” and “Laugh” imprinted on them and gave them to Jim Sims (see the photo). I left them in the rock bowl on his coffee table. I wonder if they are still there.

I also left Jim three blue tiles with a funky graphic design. He planned a mosaic project with his son. I wonder if they ever created that piece together. To his son, I am so sorry your father is gone.

I have resources at my site about depression, suicide and support information for those grieving. I understand the pain of losing someone to suicide. It is the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life and I am so sorry you all have to experience it too. If you are interested in resources at my site, please download my free e-book or a click here for additional: /resources/

I was one of the ones Jim lost touch with these last 6-12 months…and after reading his suicide note, I now understand why.

Please accept my deepest condolences.

May God Bless Jim Sims. May God Bless all of you.

Rest in Peace, Jim.

March 23, 1974 – October 28, 2009

Christa Scalies from Wilmington, Delaware

Standing tall. Smiling. I will remember this.
(click to enlarge)

Footnote

The story of Jim Thompson led me to Jim Sims. Jim Sims coined the phrase “Giggle On”. Both men dead of suicide at the age of 35. How can this be?

What is the message here?

God, can you hear me?

Update: 2/16/11 -

If you came to this post after searching the terms “suicide tips” and are thinking about killing yourself, please READ THIS NOW. Don’t off yourself mate, please!

Update 3/23/2014

Jim Sims would have been 40 years old today if he has lived. Sadly, I came across this photo of his headstone today on the internet. 

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Suicide Survivors Guilt

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Remember Them

Help is available! Don't Give Up!

Related posts:

Save a Life

One Life Lost, One Life Saved

Grieve, Give, Giggle

The Loss of two Jims (Svasti)

Reflections on World Suicide Prevention Day

25 Tips for Survivors of Suicide

Remembering Them


Comments

  1. Christa,
    This is indeed a very beautiful homage to an obviously integral human in your life. I pray that your lovely experiences (and everyone’s) with Jim will be the raft that float you safely to a peaceful harbor when you become sad about this tremendous loss. I pray that Jim is finally in a place of peace.
    PEACE…to you…all. <>
    .-= Annie´s last blog ..MY Superhero at The Big Green Earth Store =-.

  2. I am so so sorry for the loss of your dear friend and inspiration..I feel so bad for how much pain he must have been in to feel he had no other option, considering he knew how much pain his death would effect those around him….I sincerely hope and pray he has peace…and pray for the strength for ya’ll to help you through this. (((((HUGS))))) much love

  3. I’m so sad for you, my dear friend. I can’t imagine what you must be going through.

    “What is the message here?”

    Sometimes there is no message. Things happen. Terrible, tragic things happen. Even if we can’t make sense of them, we find ways to deal with them.

    Your message to Jim’s family was beautiful and I’m sure it meant a lot to them. The work you do for so many others thru your site and other venues is so inspirational.

    You make a difference.

    The fact that another friend named Jim took his life may forever be a mystery. But I know you’ll take from this experience courage and strength to carry on and continue to deliver your message of hope.

    My deepest condolences.
    .-= JD at I Do Things´s last blog ..My Mom Shakes It so you don’t have to =-.

  4. Christa, the similarities here are just so strange. I can’t believe you are going through this again? Stay strong, keep believing in what you are doing. Your enthusiasm for life does make a difference.

    Like others have said, there’s no way to make sense of this, so don’t even try. Just breathe love for yourself, the Jims and the rest of the world.

    Since Jim Sims helped you create Giggle On, I suggest it would be fitting to create a Giggle On event in his name. When you’re ready of course.

    Take care. Keep breathing. And let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. xo
    .-= Svasti´s last blog ..Generating lurvvve – part 2 =-.

    The loss of two Jims

  5. Thank you so very much for sharing this. Jim Sims was a friend of mine too and I will miss him. He was above all a proud father and I am sorry he will never know the good he brought into so many lives.

  6. wow… I knew jim several years ago… he was an odd sort… chuckles, then again aren’t we all ?

    Jim and I had a falling out years back… I’m sad to hear this news. He really was a goofy guy…

    rest well jim

  7. christa, i’m trying to contain my tears as i’m quickly taking out a few minutes at work to write to you. oh, life is so strange. here you are proclaimimg life with your great site, and it was inspired by someone who saw no other way out but death.

    i’m imagining all the people here in vancouver right now who are in the grips of alcohol addiction. as the buddhist lovingkindness prayer says – may they be happy, may they be healthy, may they be peaceful, may they be free.

    thank you for being here, christa.
    .-= isabella mori´s last blog ..love on a wordless wednesday =-.

  8. I met Jim several years ago at a Superbowl party. We had the most amazing conversation about so many different topics ranging from God to children to sports. Jim did indeed love his boy more than words could say and was deep in his marital woes. That conversation has stayed with me to this day and to discover his early departure from this world saddens me. I have run into Jim several times in the past few years and was always met with his warm genuine smile and large hug. I thank you for your wonderful email, which I’m sure was not easy to write. It was a hard way to learn the news but it was so nice to read everyone’s memories of Jim. Jim…I hope your riding the clouds of heaven on your board as if you were crusin some fresh powder!!

    • For those who stopped here wondering about funeral arrangements for Jim Sims:

      Visitation
      Beck Funeral Home
      1700 E FM 1431
      Cedar Park, Texas 78614
      Monday, November 2nd from 6 – 8 pm
      (open to all)

      Funeral Service
      Beck Funeral Home
      1700 E FM 1431
      Cedar Park, Texas 78614
      Tuesday, November 3rd at 10am

      Graveside Interment
      Moffat Cemetery
      (maps available at the service)

      For a list of some of the support groups for survivors of suicide loss in Texas, click here.

      Jim, this song is for you. Patrice Pike singing Amazing Grace.

  9. Hi Christa,

    Jim was my best friend – we had become quite close over the last 7 months. I miss him dearly. He was an inspiration for many, me especially. Thank you for writing about him, sharing your memories, and your love. Thank you for spreading hope and joy, and laughter. That is exactly what he would have wanted.

    Last I heard, your lovely rocks were still in his rock bowl, and the tiles were lovingly displayed on his landing. What beautiful gifts. I know he cherished them.

    This tragedy is something I will probably never understand or come to terms with. I can say my life is much better having known and loved him, and that he will live forever in my heart and in those of the many lives he brightened.

    • Forgive me all for not responding to these comments as they came in. It has been an emotional week for me. Many of Jim’s friends, most of whom I have not met, have spent the last week reflecting on his life, a life cut too short. As much as we all know he is no longer in pain, we still hurt because we lost a friend, brother, son and father.

      I did not go to Austin for services but I had a warm soul who represented me and for that, I am thankful. I highly doubt I would have been able to handle another funeral for another Jim. I am physically and mentally exhausted. My brain has not been functioning properly. I have been in a daze.

      Thankfully we will all take away something from positive from this experience. For those who knew Jim Sims, this is a time for re-birth for us. This loss will require us all to grow, think and stretch the limits of our belief systems. It is a good time to reflect on our lives and how we would like to live each day.

      It is my hope to provide comfort, information and a safe space for Jim’s friends to share their emotions, experiences and hopefully lot of memories of laughter. Considering this site would not be here without him, I consider helping his clan my duty!

      Jim Sims gave me a gift: his friendship and support. It would be my honor to return this favor to his family and his friends. I am ETERNALLY grateful for the supportive emails I received from his best friend, Sunny (a bright light), his sister (THANK YOU) and Miss Elizabeth (you rock)!

      I will always laugh when thinking of the little things Jim Sims said. He was so eloquent and so damn funny. The way he said ‘Giggle On’ cracked me up – he drew out the “On” so it sounded more like “Awn” and spoke with the mixed flavor of east coast attitude, a pinch of gansta, a healthy heaping of Texan and a little chicano. Riot, just a riot he was!

      Jim Sims wants us to remember the good times, the laughter, the chats, the music and the love he had for his son. Let’s do that!

      In the days, weeks, months and years ahead you will process what has happened here. Keep the laughter in your heart. It will sustain you through the anger, confusion, grief, sadness and denial.

      Let us give thanks for the gifts of love, laughter and friendship that he’s given to all of us.

      In closing a quote from another woman offering me support. Thanks D!

      In one of the stars I shall be living.
      In one of them I shall be laughing.
      And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the night sky.

      ~The Little Prince by Antoine de Sait-Exuperey

  10. Jim Sims is my cousin. I have read what you have written and it is beautiful. It is so nice to hear about all of the lives that he touched. I missed out on a lot of time with him, and I wish that I could have that time back. I wish you the best of luck. I think what you are doing is great. The thing that I took from Jim’s funeral was to “Love Hard.” Remember to do that!

  11. Thank you for stopping by to read my tribute to your cousin, Jim.

    Although we can’t gain back time lost with loved ones, we CAN make the most of every moment and LOVE HARD…LIVE WELL…and GIGGLE ON!

    With Jim Sim’s death, I feel God is telling me to make my voice even louder. Italians do loud well so I’m on the right track!

    Please pass my heart felt condolences to your family.

  12. Making yourself happy is hard when you have nothing to be happy for. Finding the small and making it larger than life. As long as it is your small it’s beautiful and wonderful and worth building on no matter what. On hold to the least.

  13. Jim was a part of our master bathroom remodel. I don’t let just anyone into our home with my kids. Jim came highly recommended to us, and did an amazing job. His attention to detail touches me EVERY day (as I shower…I know that sounds WRONG….). He was supposed to come back and finish up some work after my husband made changes to our original project, but…he left us before then. OMG. We were floored, and so, so saddened for Jim, for Noah, for anyone else who loved Jim. I just wanted to speak to the artisan Jim. We have more work to do here, but nobody else has the same welcome mat you had into our home – into our lives. I do not expect the same level of artistic finesse as we received with our original work with you. Jim, we miss you, your eye for detail, you stories of your son, your unabashed singing while you worked…RIP, friend.

    • @Rachelle – Jim was a very talented craftsman. I had the pleasure of seeing quite a bit of his work and watching him ply his trade firsthand. Thank you for stopping by to share your remembrance of Jim Sims. I’m also keeping Noah in my prayers. Best wishes to you, Christa

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