CLICK HERE to watch it before reading the article about the same man who made such a huge impact in my life and on my heart. It’s long-winded and not very well put together, and it was the best I could do at the time healing my heart and tapping my courage to stand up and speak all at the same time.
I’m proud every time I try no matter how I do and I have the courage to do that because I know that love and generosity is a real thing.
Jim taught me that.
I couldn’t be more grateful for his example and friendship.
So one of the suckiest things about our sport… is that people die. We always try to find the reasons why things happen, review videos, talk to bystanders, get all the information possible to learn as much as we can to make as much sense out of the seemingly senseless losses we sometimes encounter in skydiving and BASE jumping.
I have lost many friends over the years, two best friends, and now another who meant more to me than I could ever actually tell you in the space of this column. Jim Hickey. … Jim Hickey. … Just typing his name tears well up in my eyes. This man wasn’t a celebrity in our sport, but a legend for CERTAIN with all that actually knew him. He wasn’t known across all circles in our large and connected community… but oh my GOD did he make one of the most impactful differences in my life through our unwavering friendship and his unparalleled, and for me transformative, generosity and love.
Writing something like this, you feel like nothing you write… f*cking NOTHING… could ever do justice to the person you love. At least that’s how I feel.
It’s a strange thing losing people we love… for me, certain people feel like pillars… that we’ve been through enough life together that I feel safer in the world knowing they’re there. That if sh*t goes down, they’ve got me, ya know? That if I ever need anything, EVER… they would be there for me. F*ckin-A right they would be. And I for them. Zero doubt. That level of certainty is hard to come by in our ever-changing world and lives, so to lose it in the death of these pillar people in our lives… whew, yeah.
Jonathan absolutely was one of those people for me*. So was Jim.
When both of these incredible men died, I had to grieve both the loss of them and their light in my life, and also grieve through the fear that came with feeling less safe in the world without them. I’m not going to sugar-coat it… it was terrifying. Seriously. I cried deep and painful tears for my own individual self at what my future might have in it without them in it. To me, among all the emotion that comes with grief, that thought in particular was super scary. Super painful.
Then, you come out of the tears… you come out of the fear… you realize you’re still alive and that those pillar relationships were built by you and them and what you did together… you realize your people really do live on in you, and at any moment, in any relationship, in any life pursuit, you can decide to let their legacy drive you to impact the world in the same ways they did yours.
New pillars form… are built… every day. Every time we have a real conversation… every time we share a crazy life experience… every time we don’t judge another for being the actual person they are… every time we are there for our people… we continually erect the pillars of our future, and become pillars for others too.
I don’t have room in this particular column to tell our story, Jim and me… but my intention, absolutely, without question or hesitation… is to share it. To share us. To share him. Why? To inspire others the way he inspired me… to have a deep trust in life and in people, and to live in line with that every day as much as we all possibly freakin’ can.
Jim died, but oh my GOD, did he live. Oh my God, did he live. Jim, next time I see you, we’re blowing up another parachute together, and I’ll let you know who’s getting my shoebox**. Paying it forward, my friend. I love you. Til then… Tizzle 2.0, out.