Snapshots from a Front-Line Hero"It's comedy and tragedy. It's St. Jimmy. And that's my name and don't wear it out." ~ Green Day
If you've known me for a while, you likely know I used to have a cat whom I named Jimmy. Jimmy was a gift from my friend Jen Pavelik whose family had named the cat Lewis. I renamed him and will ever be tormented by Sue Nordone and Jen for this move; however, I had a few good reasons. The first reason I couldn't call the fat, gray cat Lewis, is because I had an ex-boyfriend named Louis. That wasn't going to work. The second reason I named the cat Jimmy is because I was really into a Green Day album titled American Idiot on which Green Day invents a sort of off-color saint and calls that character St. Jimmy.
The first night I had Jimmy at home, he hid behind the washing machine in my apartment and meowed all night. The second night and practically every night after, he slept in my bed. Jimmy and I were a match made in heaven. He comforted me when I cried (which if you know me you know is a full-time job). He was friendly to everyone. I often used to say he was a dog trapped in a cat's body. He played fetch. He was the ultimate snuggler. Jimmy had stomach cancer and passed away in 2018. He was a beloved part of my life for almost 13 years.
When I got married, Michael invited a group of medics whom he'd know from his years in EMS. We seated the medics at a table near the bar. They lived it up. The table still posts inside jokes they made during our reception. Among those at this party table was a man named Jimmy Parker. Michael has known Jimmy since approximately 2004 when they worked together as medics for Virtua. I became friends with Jimmy when Michael and I started dating in 2010. Instant friends.
Jimmy Parker was the easiest friend I've ever made. When I was home alone as Michael would be working 24 hour shifts, Jimmy would often stop by to drop off a bottle of local wine. He'd join me and Michael for homemade pasta and "gravy." He'd keep Michael connected to the world of medics with stories that were surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) similar to my tales of teaching. Jimmy is hilarious and full of heart. I guess it's the name.
When I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, Jimmy started texting me 2 photographs a night. Every. single. night. Without fail, Jimmy texts two beautiful photos with a short description of what that photo means to him as he battles his own woes. Some of the photos are meant to make me laugh or smile. All of the photos are inspirational and beautiful. Many bring me to tears. These are photos that Jimmy himself has taken. He either has them stored on his phone or he takes them the day he sends them. They are now a beloved part of my life. I was officially diagnosed on April 1st, so I have received almost two months worth of photos. I cannot include all of them here; however, I will show a few that mean the most to me.
I would be remiss to not mention that Jimmy is reporting to work every day as a medic at UMDNJ during the global pandemic. I'm sure he is exhausted, but still finds a second every day to think of me.
Thank you, Jimmy, and happy EMS appreciation week.