A couple of weeks ago, my friend, fellow Tribe member and contributor to WMSB, Patti Johnson, sent me this YouTube Video of an incredibly beautiful poem by Jennifer Hall.  

A POEM FROM HEAVEN

Her words-every single one-resonated deeply and affirmatively with me.  Her poem captures much of what we’ve learned and experienced in the eleven years since Jimmy transitioned to the next chapter of his existence. 

At the end of this post is a full transcription of Ms. Hall’s poem in case you would like to print it out. 

These verses, in particular, jumped out at me and I’ll share a subsequent affirmation.  

I can talk to you, I can send you signs
To show you I’m right here.
My voice is just a whisper now,
But, please trust that you can hear.

Just take a look around you,
See the beauty of this space,
‘Cause that is where you’ll find me too,
Heaven’s all around this place!

Heaven’s not up-it’s nowhere far.
It’s here and now, you see.
It’s you and me together,
Right where we’ll always be…

And when you miss me oh so much
When you’re feeling all alone.
Just close your eyes and call my name,
And we’ll both feel right at home.

Last week I was up in the high Sierras with three fraternity brothers of mine from USC.  We’ve known each other for 51 years.  Jim, an avid fly fisherman, had read an article about the Alger Lakes, the home of elusive and gigantic Golden Trout.

We off-loaded our gear at the Silver Lake pack station above June Lake to be transported by mules guided up the steep trail by a wrangler on horseback.   Much more civilized than back-packing.   

Heidi dragging up the mules

We read the hike would be hard.  Understatement.  The pack station master ran his eyes over us septuagenarians and exclaimed “You know, this is high Alpine hiking!”   

“We’re aware.”

We were mighty glad we only had to lug daypacks and water up the ten miles of steps and switchbacks ascending 4,000 feet!   The “stroll” took us a little under 8 hours.   By the end of the day, my Polar Heart Monitor said I’d reached 1,500% of my daily fitness goal!  Over twice my previous high. 

Along the way up we passed a few backpackers coming out of Alger Lakes.  We were energized by their “oohs and ahhs” about the scenery and the fishing.  Upon our arrival at the campsite nestled near the first of the three, tiered Alger Lakes nestled at the base of Blacktop Peak we were not disappointed.   The place was absolutely majestic, and over the next four days we had the entire region completely to ourselves.   There are only a few crazy enough to hike up there!

On day 3, Thursday, the other Algerians (clever, huh?)  trudged up the trail and tried their luck at Lake 3.   I decided to explore some other holes on Lake 1.    I did not see one other person the whole day.  There were several deer and some coyotes.   The fishing was good and I caught several of the infamous and colorful Golden Trout, all of which I released back into the crystal blue waters to fight another day.  

Around mid-day I took a break from fishing.  I sat on a big rock, had some lunch and admired the rugged beauty surrounding me-enveloping me.   I literally was one with nature.   I had brought up some of Jimmy’s ashes, and I looked for a good spot with a view.   That wasn’t hard to do.  

I dug a little hole for his ashes and covered them with some stones.   Although late in the summer, there was a surprising abundance of wildflowers.  I fashioned a bouquet of sorts and placed it upon the stones. 

I began to talk to Jimmy.  I told him how much we loved him and missed him.  I asked him what he was doing and if everything was all right.   I was no more than 30 seconds into my monologue when I felt him next to me-inside of me.   His presence was overwhelming. 

I began to shudder and cry like I hadn’t done in years.  I felt a huge weight taken off my shoulders. No wonder the trudge up was so hard.   I’d been carrying a heavy load of repressed love and feelings.   I continued to babble through my sobs, and thanked Jimmy for showing up and always looking after and out for us.   I turned around from his makeshift memorial and gazed upon the lakes and mountains before me.  This was now Jimmy’s view.  Two well fed deer showed up and looked at me quizzically from about fifty yards away; no doubt wondering if  was OK.  

I took in all the beauty and the powerful emotions coursing through my body and just knew at that moment in time I was in Heaven. 

Heaven is all around this place.
It’s here and now.
It’s Jimmy and me together,
Right where we’ll always be.

Although there wasn’t another human being in sight, I was not alone. Far from it.

In this eddy of solitude and reflection, this slice of Heaven, Jimmy was with me and experiencing the thrill of feeling a fish on the line, breathing in deep the clean, thin mountain air and awestruck by God’s amazing creations.

I just knew He Too felt the joy and felt blessed.

I was lightened, cleansed and loved.

I slept like a baby that night, through coyote howls and thunderstorms.  

Sunrise over the Alger Lakes

Casey and Jimmy New Zealand 2005 and Alger Lakes 2019


A POEM FROM HEAVEN
By Jennifer Hill (c) 2018

I left this world, I left your side
It was time I went back home.
But I need you to know just a few little things,
I’m here!  You’re not alone.

I want you to know that I see your life–
I see the way you live.
I hear your voice and I hear your thoughts,
OH!  What I wouldn’t give


To have you know without a doubt
That I’m very much right here.
I’m proud, I’m honored, and love you so.
I did not disappear.

I know right now I am not seen
You may not feel me so,
But close your eyes and take a breath,
I want to help you know.

With eyes closed tight, mind at rest,
Another few deep breaths,
My love for you lives on and on
Can’t you feel it in your chest?

Right there inside your heart of hearts
Lies the memories that we made.
The good, the bad, the in-between;
So please don’t be afraid.

Please don’t cry, please don’t be sad
There’s no need to be scared.
For right inside your quiet mind
You’ll find everything we shared.

I can talk to you, I can send you signs
To show you I’m right here.
My voice is just a whisper now,
But, please trust that you can hear.

Just take a look around you,
See the beauty of this space,
‘Cause that is where you’ll find me too,
Heaven’s all around this place!

Heaven’s not up-it’s nowhere far.
It’s here and now, you see.
It’s you and me together,
Right where we’ll always be.

So I hope you find some comfort,
Some solace and some hope
That even though life has changed
You’re strong and you CAN cope.

And when you miss me oh so much
When you’re feeling all alone.
Just close your eyes and call my name,
And we’ll both feel right at home.

I love you more than you will know
I just want the best for you.
So stand up tall, head held high,
Find the joy in all you do.

When you smile and laugh and live your life,
As happy as can be,
I TOO feel joy, I TOO feel blessed,
I benefit too, you see.

So keep me close, keep me near
I’m here-not up above.
I’ll live life too, with you, THROUGH you,
So, fill your life with LOVE.

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Author Bios

Write Me Something Beautiful Authors - Casey and Jimmy Gauntt

Casey Gauntt

is a retired attorney and former senior executive of a major San Diego real estate company. He lives in Solana Beach, California, with his wife, Hilary. Casey grew up in Itasca, Illinois, graduated Lake Park High School in 1968, and received B.S., JD and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California.

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Jimmy Gauntt

was born and raised in Solana Beach and graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 2002.   A prestigious Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California, he majored in English and Spanish. He authored six plays, five screenplays, and a multitude of poems and short stories. Beginning in 2010, the USC English Department annually bestows the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award—aka “The Jimmy”—to the top graduates in English.  Jimmy passed over to the other side in 2008 at age 24.

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