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.
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.
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!
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 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).
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, click here: /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
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!