Monday, April 10, 2006

Jimmy Update - April 2006 - Life Goes On

Click on photo to enlarge

Considering that our son Jimmy has been declared permanently legally blind at 24, he's doing pretty damned good.

On March 13th he moved to the City of Avalon*, on Catalina Island. He's the last one in line in the photo above (blonde hair, red jacket and sunglasses), waiting to board the catamaran for the 26 mile trip from Long Beach.

Jim phoned me after the trip, excited to tell me about the four-hundred plus dolphins that played alongside the boat all the way over. Apparently he can see well enough to make out their shapes and get an idea of their antics. Jimmy's been on several ocean-going trips, and dolphins are a familiar sight to him, so maybe some of it is from memory.

He's living with his long-time buddy Gregor, who grew up alternately between Catalina and Big Bear. Jimmy spent a lot of time over there prior to his car accident and really loves the place. Avalon is so tiny that it's not practical to have a car, which is good for Jim because he can't drive anymore, and he doesn't feel so conspicuous in a town where, essentially, nobody drives.

Jimmy's been doing a lot of ocean kayaking, hiking and playing his guitar. His room-mates all play guitar too so he has some like-minded companions. Another uplifting development is that Gregor has a sister who's taken a liking to Jim. She's a captain on tour boats there, so it seems that Jimmy has a new girlfriend who is including him in her adventures as well.

Jimmy can see shapes and colors, can differentiate between a $10, $20, or $100 bill by looking at it up close with his peripheral vision. He goes kayaking by himself and can make out the horizon, the shoreline, and the scenery to some extent, but says he has to be careful of approaching boats because he can't accurately perceive objects moving toward him at speed.

His plans for the immediate future are to take a massage therapy course this June in San Diego, and he says that a woman in Avalon has already promised him work once he completes the class. He's determined to find new ways to make a living and get off Social Security Disability.

But I think the most positive and encouraging thing right now is that he's finding ways to enjoy himself, and I really admire the bravery he's shown us through this past 7 1/2 months.

And for those of you who are curious, his previous girlfriend, Lindsay, has moved back to Colorado with her parents. Obviously, this was a very tough experience for a 21 year-old girl to come to terms with, but we will always be grateful for the courage and clear-thinking she demonstrated during the immediate aftermath of the accident. Her actions undeniably saved Jimmy's life (see post from Sept. 02, 2005).


Jimmy has asked me not to talk about his situation on the blog, but what he possibly doesn't understand is that he's not in this alone.

Thus, I've decided that I need to be able to talk about this now & then as part of my own grieving and healing.

This has been a major life-changing event for our family, a tragic occurrence that affected all of us very deeply. The unavoidable reality is that these have been difficult and stressful months for us, and for me to simply take pictures of birds and scenery, or discuss gardening, crafts, the environment, or current world events during this time, has often left me feeling frustratingly isolated, because there were much more immediate and personal things on my mind.

Another aspect is, that there are many of you out there who are also concerned, and I've felt I should have been able to let you know what's going on too!

So now you have an update, and I've been able to share a bit of what's going on with Jimmy, and I feel better for it.

With love,


* The 'Avalon Bay' photo at the above 'City Of Avalon' link is by Aaron Logan and was downloaded from Wikipedia.

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Blogger Granny said...

I came into reading about your life late so didn't know about this. I went back and found your first post about the accident.

All things considered, he's seems happy. I wish him nothing but good from here on.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous pablo said...

Of course it none of my business, but it is good nonetheless to hear that your son is creating a new life for himself.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Jim, I so appreciate your honesty and the update on Jimmy. You, and he, have been in my thoughts since the original incident, which happened about when I discovered your blog. I would not expect you to just go on blogging about things as if nothing had happened. It makes me feel good knowing Jimmy is going on, and rebuilding a life for himself around the things he loves. It warms my heart reading your posts about him, knowing you care for him so much. You go, guy, is all I have to say for him.

7:38 PM  
Blogger clairesgarden said...

well that knocked some perpective into me this morning, I admire the strength and sharing of your family. blessings

4:10 AM  
Blogger stella said...

i've been wondering how he was doing but felt since you weren't updating on the situation that there was a good mreason for it.

thank you for the update. it sounds like he is determined not to let this ruin his life and has a great attitude ...from reading your blog, i can see where he got such a great outlook on life.

5:54 AM  
Blogger roger said...

thanks for the update. it is nice that he's doing so well. and good for you to be able to pass on that news.

we won't tell him.

8:05 AM  
Blogger madcapmum said...


Many blessings to all of you. If "Avalon" lives up to its namesake, it could be a place of many transformations!

9:34 AM  
Blogger dragonfly183 said...

that is a beautiful picture. I've been thinking about Jimmy a lot lately and wondering how he was doing. I wondered why you weren't mentioning him much. Its very impressive to see how he has learned to cope without his site.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Tabor said...

I was not aware that you were facing such a family struggle. This latest blog sounds like a major healing is going on here---for all of you. Your son is one very dynamic fellow, taking on his life and going forward. He will do well in his future.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Sonia said...

It's very nice to hear that Jimmy is well! Looks he is a great fighter and I wish all the better to him and to all of you. As you know, Portuguese is my native language, so I can't express properly all my feelings and thoughts. Many (((hugs)))!

7:44 PM  
Anonymous kiwi said...

I've been wondering about Jimmy too. So pleased to know he is able to move forward with such a positive and courageous spirit.
It will take time for you all to heal, but know that there are many alongside you in thought, Jim.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Ontario Wanderer said...

Thanks for the update! I understand both his and your position. I know it's been tough for both of you but having suffered the loss of a daughter, I know also that there are much worse things. I am very happy that Jimmy is moving on and doing well!!!

3:07 AM  
Blogger Rexroth's Daughter said...

jim-- I do appreciate that you updated us on what's been happening with Jimmy. I understand his request not to discuss his life, but understand your need to do so, as well, where those things overlap. I'm so glad that he's moved some place where he can proceed with his life. Becoming a masseuse sounds like a great idea. I wish him the very best.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Stefani said...

Like the others, I've been wondering about Jimmy too. He has more people pulling for him than he realizes. It's good to hear he's doing well.

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Blogger Disability Blogger said...

re: "He's determined to find new ways to make a living and get off Social Security Disability."

Tell him to be very careful. Many people have gotten off disability, found that they couldn't work, and then were dismayed to find that it was much harder to get back on again. Sometimes getting back on takes years to accomplish.

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