Another Year



Year number four. Today would have been Jim’s 64th birthday. Four years ago he was in the hospital for the last time. I keep thinking that this time of the year will get easier. Each year a new challenge presents itself at this time of the year. This year it is a really big one. What do I do when this trip down the coast is over? Right now I do not know.

I like to take this time of the year to reflect on Jim and what he meant in my life and what he means in my life now. I try not to get maudlin and as each year passes, it gets a bit easier to reflect with love and humor and gratitude for being in such a complete relationship.


Jim sharing Big Red with K-2 Kitty

I am not sure if he would have enjoyed what I am doing now. He was a home body. He liked going away and exploring. He also loved coming home. Home meant a lot to him. He liked to fix things and make things and sit in his big red chair and read. I am not sure how he would feel about being on the road full time. I am not always sure how I feel about this new lifestyle either.

After Jim died I set up a scholarship in his name at Grossmont College. He was an administrator and counselor at the college for close to twenty five years. He loved working in a college. He enjoyed the staff and the students. Being involved with the college was an important part of his life. Sometimes he was frustrated but over all he really enjoyed his work. He liked to see students achieve and move on in life.

Jim at Work

Jim at Work

Since this scholarship was started I have been invited to the breakfasts they have for the students who have won the scholarship for the current semester. At first I thought that these events would be boring. I have found them to be just the opposite. These students who win the scholarships are the hope of our future. They are focused and determined and want to achieve. Each semester the applicants need to write an essay on why they are applying for this scholarship.

The Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship is split. One semester it is awarded to a student in the Fine Arts. Jim was a dancer, Hip Hop, Ballet, Tap, Scottish Country Dancing and more. While he was going through his masters program he was involved with several theater groups. I have some wonderful photos of this time in his life.

The second semester it is given to a student in the Social Sciences. Jim spent most of his work career supporting students. As a counselor and the Dean of Counseling he supported his staff of counselors to find some unique ways to help students achieve their dreams. He was proud of his staff and his students. I was proud of him. It was so good to live with someone who had passion.

If you click the link below it will take you to the essay of the student who was awarded the scholarship this fall.

The Essay

With the anniversary of Jim’s passing I like to remind all of you my faithful and not so faithful readers that I am still attempting to make this scholarship a perpetual one. To do this I need to raise $25,000. I have raised over $9000 yet I still have a ways to go. If you would like to donate to help me achieve this goal I will deeply appreciate it. No amount is too small.

There are two ways to donate. You can write a personal check made out to FGGC. and mail it to the address below. It is a tax deductible donation. The information is below.

The Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges
8800 Grossmont College Drive
El Cajon, CA 92020-1799

Tax Deductible Contributions per section 501 (c) (3) of the IRS Code; EIN 45-2692818

The other way to donate is to click on the Go Fund Me picture on the left side of my Blog. It will take you to the Go Fund Me Site I set up for this scholarship. You can also click here and it will take you to the Go Fund Me site as well.

This is a gentle plea. I am not always comfortable asking for donations, yet I know that some of you would like to help and it is the end of the year. Please know that I accept each of the donations with deep and heartfelt gratitude.


Now I venture off into year four. I am still trying to figure it out, whatever it is. I am so grateful for having twenty one years with this lovely man. I miss his still and yet I find I can smile more now when I remember him. The tears are less often. Maybe it is true that grief softens over time.

Ask me tomorrow.


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