Coming full circle
In the spiderweb of creative connections in my life, for some unknown reason no one looms larger than Jimmy Yessian. Yes, he was a brilliant songwriter. Yes, he was one of the kindest, most generous people I ever knew. Yes, his heart and sense of humor lit up any room he entered.
But what I treasured most about him is that he once said he wished he could put on a stretch super hero suit and take out those who had harmed me.
Missing him deeply this morning, I went to the folder where I had saved all of our email correspondence. I thought that maybe I would find some healing through rereading them in the early dawn, but the ache in my heart just grew as I continued to read and reflect on the impact he had on my life.
We once talked about the fact that neither one of us understood the friendship. I still don’t. But I know for me, it transcended the music. And I discovered that when I sent him a copy of my memoir “Killing the Helicopter Woman” which details the story of sexual abuse at the hands of my father.
Over the years, we had sent creative works in progress back and forth, but it was always about music. Deciding to share the novel was a hard thing to do, exposing my past to someone I didn’t know very well. I felt vulnerable, and yet a part of me wanted him to know the “real me” warts and all.
Today in the early morning hours I re-read his reaction to the novel. He said it had taken awhile to write back because he read the memoir several times and then had his beautiful wife, a therapist, read it with him so he could understand it better.
The words he shared in that email would have been healing to any survivor of abuse. He got it. He understood on a heart level the pain and devastation that happens in a soul when this horrific violation happens. And I could not stop crying when I read through his final words again.
To just survive would have been enough. You stood on top of the world and said ‘I’m alive – I am free’.
For some reason,I felt seen and validated and filled with new hope, even through my tears today.
Jimmy is gone now, over one year. For all of us who loved him, the wounds are still so fresh. I have been thinking of him especially now, having moved to Arizona and looking to make songwriting connections again in a place where I know no one.
Yesterday, my first music connection here, a musician and recording engineer, called to let me know that around the corner from my house, a couple who had moved from Nashville was holding a songwriting seminar.
He mentioned both of their first names, and I stopped him in mid sentence to ask their last names. When he told me, I realized that this couple was the one that Jimmy had just referenced in one of the first emails sent to me 17 years ago. He said they had changed the trajectory of his musical life.
And now they were my neighbors in this small Arizona town.
These were people Jimmy loved, who had embraced him from the beginning, and were now entering my life 17 years later. He was still with me, doing what he did best for all of us: sending encouragement, bringing creatives together, and helping all of us be better by working together.
Jimmy, you always were that stretch super hero dude to me, and you always will be. You were the older brother I always wished I’d had. You stood in the darkness with me in the telling of my story, providing hope and encouragement. And I believe you are continuing to intercede in my life even now as I make new connections that tie me to you and your spirit.
I miss you.
But you are here…
Super hero suit and all.