Gregg, an old friend of mine—heck, come to think of it, most of my friends are old—shared this little video with our high school classmates. I love the message of the power and beauty of paying someone a compliment, acknowledging something good they have done, telling someone they are appreciated, loved; that they are “awesome.” [CLICK ON THE LINK]
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t do it nearly enough. But our son, Jimmy, sure did. Gregg’s share reminded me of something our son-in-law, Ryan, sent to us almost three years after Jimmy died. It was a post that a young man we don’t know, Jesse Fritsch, put up on his band’s blog a week after Jimmy’s accident. Jimmy had recently been introduced to Jesse by their mutual friend, John Dale.
August 15, 2008
In memory of Jimmy Gauntt
We played the Beauty Bar a couple of months ago on a particularly bad night for me. I had just undergone the end of a three-year relationship and was in the resulting throes of intense self-doubt. I had no money (still don’t), no certainty about my future (still don’t), and was living alone in what is basically the middle of nowhere (still am). I had no idea why I was still trying to be a musician; I felt like a little kid who couldn’t stop playing cowboys and Indians.
Then I ran into this guy. He was a friend of a friend who had been at our Troubador show in LA and had come down to see us play. His name was Jimmy, and he bought me a drink. He told me that our lyrics meant a lot to him, and became the first, and the only person since, to tell me that. He told me he was a screenwriter, and we got to talking about words, art, and the pursuit of artistic independence. Listening to him talk, I was rejuvenated. He talked about creativity and art like they were necessary, like they were things that you would naturally have to pursue if you were drawn to them.
He reminded me of how much I loved words, how much I loved music, and how much it didn’t matter how often I failed as long as I was doing what moved me.
I had one conversation with Jimmy Gauntt, and it will be with me as long as I live. I cannot tell you how much I wish we could have another.
I, a poor, uncertain, and happy artist, lift my glass to you, Jimmy. You will be dearly missed.
Jimmy had the keys to opening the doors to deep connections. His brother in law, Ryan, summed it up well: What’s most remarkable about Jimmy is that his teachers, his professors, his friends, classmates, those he was abroad with, acting with, even his distant family members and people he scarcely came in contact with, everybody was enchanted and in awe of him. There was an incredible presence about him that people felt right in the center of their hearts. I think a great healing aspect of Jimmy’s death is simply what he left behind in so many he connected with: a deep, true impression of his spirit.
It is tradition that fathers teach and pass wisdom onto to their sons and daughters. Well, here is yet another lesson passed up from Jimmy to me.
This came naturally for Jimmy. However, I suspect for most of us it is not hot-wired into our DNA, nor something we are comfortable doing. So, let’s all take up the challenge and tell someone today—a friend, family member, a stranger-YOU ARE AWESOME. Of course, use your own words: Why do you appreciate that person, what is it about them you admire; share a memory or a kindness that person extended to you. Try and do this once a week— and maybe work up to once a day.
I’ll start right now: HILARY GAUNTT, BRITTANY AND RYAN KIRBY AND JIMMY GAUNTT-YOU ARE AWESOME! I love you with all my heart—and them some.