Friday, November 30, 2018

I remember Jimi

Leni and Jimi's wedding
When I was a freshman in college, I went to this wedding. It was my first ever (that I can remember). I was even a bridesmaid, too.

I looked at the bride and groom and thought,

"I am soooooo not ready to be like that!" 

They were so in love with each other--so ready to commit. This college party girl could not imagine such a thing.

No thank you.

But, my cousin (the bride) was someone I had looked up to all my childhood. She taught me about the Bangles, and fashion, and rollerskating (in our yiayia's basement), and, on that day of her wedding, even if I wasn't quite ready for owning the reality for myself, she gave me a glimpse of what life could be like on the arm of a dream guy.
My daughter and Leni's daughter, look-a-likes

Fast forward (after meeting my dream guy a couple months later...and then marrying him a few years later), my new husband and I visit my cousin Leni and Jimi--and I fall in love with their toddler who had been an infant on my wedding day. She was the sweetest little toddler I'd ever seen. My husband and I weren't ready for children yet--no way. But, I can't deny that hanging out with my cousin's daughter that weekend planted a smidge of longing in my heart for my next adventure--motherhood.

More forward motion...and I find myself with four kids, one little daughter (who is literally the twin of Eleni's oldest--especially during each of their toddler/elementary years).  Jimi, now an Orthodox priest lends me his ear, over a message here or there, and then in brief conversation as I struggle in the darkest valley of my life. I'll not forget the man's wisdom, and his declaration of God's grace and love that I had hardly grappled with until that point. Those were probably some of the last conversations I had with Jimi, come to think of it.

Leni and me with my oldest, and her second
My cousin Leni and her husband Jimi have not just been in my life as extended family, but as I look back, God used them in my life in pretty significant ways. I never had older siblings--maybe they filled in those roles without knowing it? I don't know. All I know is, that I can honestly say that Leni had an impact on my growing up, and they both gave me an unmoving example of solidarity in love and faith through my young adult years.

Why am I writing all this?

Well, Jimi, the dream guy of my cousin, the other half of the couple who showed me the path that I wanted for my own life, (even though I didn't realize it until I'd followed the path on my own), over the past few years, that man has struggled, triumphed, and struggled some more with brain cancer.

I didn't really see him during that time. I had the chance to spend a few hours with them this summer. And I am so grateful for those moments--no matter how short. Because on this last day of November, Jesus decided that Jimi and his family had finished their battle, and Jimi went Home.

My husband and Jimi--a long time ago
Through all I know, or the little that I really do, even with distance constantly between us--and communication lacking because of seasons, I can honestly declare that Leni has proven a good and faithful servant, caring for, hoping for, loving so much--Jimi, the good and faithful servant ushered through Heaven's threshold today.

My sweet cousin has been a light of true faith in all this--doing everything a woman can do to care for the love of her life until the end.

Oh, PRAISE GOD it's not the end, really.

Jimi's there, beside His Savior, no wheelchair, no tumor, just JOY in the God that He chose to serve on Earth.

I'll always remember his enthusiasm for things he loved, for the people he loved, for his three children, for the amazing Leni. I didn't see them often, but when I did, nothing ever changed. They were a solid rock of a couple. A reason to believe that God brought them together, and they were meant to be.

Thank you Father Jimi Foreso, for taking Leni's hand and setting an example for all to see--as a husband, a father, and a child of God.

God Bless Your family, and May Your Memory Be Eternal.

1 comment:

  1. What a loving tribute Ang. Leni, the kids and both of their families are in my heart and prayers.