Ten Years


Ten years ago on October 17, my partner, husband, best friend and so much more, died. He had just turned sixty and just like that his life on this planet was over.

it amazes me that it is ten years. There are times it feels like yesterday. Then I look at the ten-year mark and am amazed. Where did this time go? How can it be ten years? Wasn’t it just last year that I dove headfirst into grief? And how can it be ten years and I still miss him so?

I will continue to make a commitment to his memory and my grief and loss at this time of year. It helps me acknowledge one of the highlights of my life on this planet. It allows the grief that is often floating somewhere deep below the surface to be acknowledged and loved as a part of who I am as a whole person.

Jim was a unique and special part of my life. He showed up at thirty-eight years of age, at a time when I was sure I was going to remain single for my whole life. He turned that one around. We were a team. I never thought I would meet someone who I was so compatible with.

It is not that we didn’t have relationship issues from time to time, we were both stubborn. We wanted to make this relationship work and we knew that it was of value to both of us. It was more than of value to me. He saw me in a way that no other has ever seen me.

  • I was a person of value.
  • For the first time, someone thought I was beautiful and sexy. (ooh it is still hard to say or type that last word)
  • What I said mattered.
  • He encouraged my art and although I have changed art forms since his death, his encouragement has continued to push me forward to explore new mediums.
  • Jim allowed me to see that the whole world was open to me. I could do so much when I had his support and love.
Jim & Janet

Since his death, I have realized that our relationship was unique and special. There were not the struggles that many describe when they speak of their relationships. We laughed together, tackled the hard stuff together, and when we hit a roadblock (otherwise known as stubbornness) we sought counseling and support so we could grow and move on. And we grew so much together. As Jim often said, “We’re a team”.

Jim was a supporter of higher education. He devoted his whole working life to helping students achieve. To honor this part of him I started the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship. He believed that all could excel in college and there was no better honor that I could give to him than a scholarship that was inclusive of most students. The scholarship changes per each annual semester, one semester it is applied to the Arts and Humanities and the next semester it is applied to the Social Sciences.

If you would like to donate to the Scholarship, no donation is too small, please click below and you can help another student realize their dream.

The Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship

I am blessed and honored to have been a team with Jim. I miss him still and I acknowledge how much richer my life is because of him.

As I manage my way through another October, I know that I have the loving support of so many. For each of you, I am so grateful for your ongoing presence in my life.Thank you.

4 thoughts on “Ten Years

  1. Every time I read one of your posts, I am convinced you are probably the bravest, coolest, most put together person I have ever met. So many people would have let that loss break them. I am also, always amazed that I got to meet you and can call you a friend. You rock, girlfriend!

  2. Hi Janet. For ten years I have followed and read every post you have written in “Journeys of Thankfulness.” Through these posts I not only explore vicariously through your many travels in your Roadtrek, but am continually reminded of my very special friend—Jim. I know you still grieve and it is alright. Jim was so very special to me at a point in my life in higher education leadership when I was the one needing leadership. Jim provided that as well as acceptance, grace, perspective, and most importantly, love. Jim personified the emotion unlike anyone I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. In short, he added value and meaning to life with every anticipated meeting or gathering. Jim was special and remarkable. He, as do you Janet, embrace life fully and provide a roadmap for others to follow. Thanks for your blog and the very fond memories of Jim. Let’s continue to embrace his example and his spirit and choose life to be lived in full.

  3. Janet, what a beautiful tribute to your life partner Jim. You live your life courageously and he’s probably applauding you from above. Rock on, my friend.

  4. That sparkle in your eyes that is present in the photo of you and Jim is still there.I believe that’s a tribute to your love of Jim and your relationship. You are an amazing woman and I’m so proud and grateful to call you friend. Thank you for always opening your heart and soul to us and thank you for continuing to see the world through those sparkling eyes….

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