The legacy of Jim Vester

I am blessed. Even though my life plans didn’t turn out the way I thought they would, God has given me a second chance. On December 4, 2013 my life changed forever as my husband was murdered. Jim was the love of my life. He would call me at least 5 times a day while he was at work on top of the dozens of text messages. He always wanted to make sure I was doing okay. He was the type of husband who wanted to always be with me; I loved that about him. He may have been a procrastinator when it came to getting projects done around the house, but it’s because he would rather spend time with myself and our son instead. I didn’t mind. He made dinner every night for us. Boy do I miss his cooking! I miss his smile. I miss his boisterous laugh and loud voice. I miss the way he would look at me with his loving eyes like I was perfect just the way I am no matter what mood I was in. He was my motivator and I looked up to him. He was the one who motivated me to finally take the leap to open my own photography business. He loved being a husband, dad, brother, friend, and soldier. One of his favorite things to do was to invite a bunch of friends over and cook for them. He was such a great guy. Jim was very affectionate with me in public and around friends & family. He let everyone know that I was his and only his. I want Gavin to grow up to be a great man and husband like Jim was. I am tearing up writing this wondering if I am raising him to be a good man. I pray that I am. Raising a child to be a good person and be kind to others takes a village.

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Photo by Sarah-Beth Photography.
The recent violence in Indy has really made me take a step back and wonder what has happened in these people’s lives to make them so angry. Innocent people are being killed for a couple of bucks. It’s sad really. What can we all do to change the community we are living in? For one, we can be great role models for not only our own children, but other children as well. Get involved in volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in your community. I used to volunteer and work there for a couple of years; it made my heart happy knowing that I was there to help shape those young kids. These children need positive role models in their lives and know that they are loved no matter their home life may be. You can also become part of the Big Brother or Big Sister program. There are so many kids that are desperately wanting to have someone to look up to. There are over 408 boys in Indiana alone who are waiting for a mentor. So men, I am calling you out. Please help become a mentor to these boys. Even if it isn’t through this program, get out there and mentor young troubled kids in your neighborhood/area. Maybe their home life isn’t the best situation, but everyone can overcome horrible situations with a little love in their life. I know I wouldn’t be where I’m at today with my friends and family there for me whenever I need to talk. Even little things like sending a text message with a positive quote to a person can bring a smile to their face. You can help change the life of someone by the smallest gesture.

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Photo by Sarah-Beth Photography.

Speaking of smiles, I would rather get a smile thrown my way than a pity look any day. I want to live amongst the living and embrace this life God has given Gavin and I. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse that I remind myself of everyday.Β  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, β€œplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I do not know why this tragedy has happened to my late husband, but God has a plan. Jim wouldn’t want me to be angry or sad all of the time, rather he would want to me focus on keeping myself and Gavin happy. That is my goal everyday – to try to find happiness. I take it one day at a time, some days one step at a time. The good days are now outweighing the bad. Gavin is my world. He keeps me laughing all of the time. He looks just like Jim (minus the red hair and blue eyes). I will always have a piece of Jim with me through Gavin. He will always know what a great man his daddy was. He points out all of Jim’s photos in the house and kisses his photo every night. It’s bittersweet for me to watch him do this everyday. He definitely misses that male interaction but luckily I have male friends and family who come over to play with him. I will always make sure that Gavin has a positive male role model in his life, no matter what the future holds for us.

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Photo by Sarah-Beth Photography.

The outpour of support I received from strangers and people who just generally care is amazing. So many people have reached to to me to tell me that Jim’s story has saved their own life. I truly believe that this tragedy has happened to save other people’s lives. Jim was deployed when the war was still going strong and the location wasn’t the best. He saved lives then and he is saving them now even without being physically here. He volunteered his spare time to the Ceremonial Unit with the Indiana National Guard to serve others who had passed away. I cannot thank all of the military members enough for their kindness and support through this rough time. Not only do I have friends who have been there at the drop of a hat, but I also have wonderful neighbors who help me with anything I need. It’s amazing how much I really did rely on Jim to do the “manly” things around the house. I am now learning how to do these things.

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Photo by Sarah-Beth Photography.

It’s been an eye-opening journey so far. I am focusing on running my own business and being a great mommy to Gavin. For now that is enough on my plate πŸ™‚ Four months ago, I could barely get out of bed and function since Jim was killed. Today, I find strength from my son and trying to give him the best life despite the circumstances. Working out has also helped me to become physically stronger along with God helping me to be stronger internally. I encourage anyone who has to unfortunately walk this path to seek the help of others who offer and discover your faith again. I want to be an inspiration to other widows that you can get through this rough time in your life and you will. I am living proof.

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Photos by Sarah-Beth Photography.

 

20 Comments

  1. Jamie, this post is beautiful. I don’t know you personally, but we have mutual friends and I have been praying for you and Gavin since the morning I woke up and saw the news on my Facebook feed. Love and prayers.

  2. You are such an inspiration to all who follow your journey. I saw a post on Facebook sharing the tragic story of Jim’s death and started following you never since and you inspire me so much with your strength and grace through these last few month. Know that a sister in the Lord from Canada is praying for you and thinking of you often as you continue to carry on! Xo

  3. What an absolutely moving & beautiful post. Our family have been praying for you and your family since the incident & we are still praying for you. Keep your chin raised high you’re an amazing strong woman & I can only eve hope to be as strong as you! Love & many more prayers to you both from the mitten.

  4. I love seeing the beautiful pictures that you take, and especially the ones of you and Gavin. Iam so sorry that you have had your husband taken away from you. You are a strong woman, and Gavin is going to grow up knowing he was and is loved. I look forward to seeing Gavin grow up in the photos you take. You touch many hearts. Bless you.

  5. Jamie

    You are an amazing woman and mommy to your beautiful baby boy.. You two are always in my prayers, I pray that God keep giving you the courage to keep on going strong πŸ˜‰ you are amazing … God bless you always!!!

  6. You have shown such strength and dignity throughout everything, and this is one more to add to the list. What a beautifully written post. I think of you and Gavin often. I’m so glad to hear your good days are becoming more frequent!

  7. I know I do not know you, but I have been following your story since I saw Noah post about it. I think of your family often. I am happy to see that you are finding ways to stay positive and make a positive impact on a tragic situation. You are an amazing person and I hope that a million people can be as inspired by you as I am.

  8. I am utterly amazed by you and your strength. I can’t imagine what your journey is like, but I know that God has a plan for you and your sweet boy. Press on, Jamie!

  9. Thanks for sharing your heart. You are so strong and a great example for others to follow. God will always be there for you and will never fail you. You are loved.

  10. This was absolutely amazing n very beautiful. You are a beautiful and strong woman even tho I’ve never met u personally but me n my husband knew Jim from military, it was horrifying when we got the phone call on wat happened. It will never be the same without him at drill every month or work everyday. U have a handsome lil boy that will help u be strong as well. We still pray for u n ur lil boy every day. Ur a huge inspiration to life and reading all ur posts r just beautiful. I couldn’t even imagine the things ur goin through but hold ur head high n I think that ur doin a perfect thing for u and ur son. May god be with u n ur family.

  11. Jim’s death reminds me of Elizabeth and Jim Elliott. They had a love story too, and were living their lives for God when Jim Elliott was taken. If I remember correctly Elizabeth referenced this scripture when it came to Jim’s death ::Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds John 12:27. I know it isn’t easy…at least I mean I can imagine the pain you must feel at times. It’s as you said in your blog though, many lives will be saved…
    You are an encouragement to me and so many others. I remember you daily.
    In the only One who can,
    KH

  12. Oh Jamie, I have wanted to reach out to you for awhile now. I, like so many others, stumbled across Jim’s story on Facebook and as a fellow photographer, started following your story. I shared posts from your “wall” with my husband and we discussed your story as he had bought several things on Craigslist over the years and I always questioned the safety. Long story short, on December 20, 2013, my best friend/husband of 21 years passed away suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 43, leaving me to raise our 4 beautiful children. We buried him on Christmas Eve morning and our 4 yr.old spent Christmas Eve cutting and pasting pictures from her Daddy’s funeral brochure into her new Hello Kitty scrapbook. One of the hardest things for me was that Santa still had to come that night for her & her siblings’ sake, I’m living your journey, hating the “pity” look people give “us”, drawing strength from family, friends & faith and trying to trust in God’s plan even though it gets pretty tough sometimes (like yesterday which was his birthday). Hang in there and if you ever need someone to talk to…please, please contact me. Sending hugs from Iowa!

  13. dear jamie, i just came across your story and clicked on the link to your blog. there is so much tragedy in the world, senseless, confusing, grieving tragedy. i was just at a beth moore conference and there are so many stories of loss. it is hard for a soft and compassionate heart to reconcile it. you have expressed it beautifully in this post. your compassion and outreach is opposite of what one expects. my heart goes out to you and your dear boy. one day all tears will be wiped away and we will know only peace. you are brave and courageous. i will lift you and boy in prayer. hugs, dawn

  14. Jamie…you tell the story of the greatest gift of all…Love! Lifting you in prayer as you journey to help people to understand how to live loved!

  15. Hi Jamie, I read about your story this morning on AOL. I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful husband. I hope that your words of wisdom fall on the right ears, and that people will step in and give young men a good reason to stay away from violence. Your son is such a handsome little guy, just like his father was. I have a good feeling about him growing up to be a wonderful man. God bless you and your family.

  16. To God be the Glory! Your faith, hope, perseverance, and resilience are a huge testimony to the Lord you love as well as to your son and husband’s legacy. You give current and future widows the will to press on. Thank you for sharing your journey, thus far.

  17. To God be the Glory! Your faith, hope, resilience, and perseverance are all a testament to your love for your son and the Lord you depend upon. It also speaks volumes to your husband’s legacy.

    It is absolutely amazing that you are able, even now, to empathize and see beyond your pain to the hurts and emptiness of those who caused yours and similar loss and pain to others.

    Thank you for this wonderful gift to both current and future widows and widowers. My prayer is that you and Gavin will always have the support that you need at the precise moment needed.

    ~ Zenobia

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