Tuesday, January 22, 2008

“I first got to know Jim over the course of five and a half hours while working with him preparing an anatomy presentation at RIC. We spent that time going over all of the material, including several well presented lectures covering complex concepts he had complied on the subject. Notably, he and Gary spent this kind of time every week for months – despite long work days and studying for the boards – just one example of their unfaltering, tireless dedication. Jim was such a great teacher, but most of all, one of those people who once you talk to, you realize how genuine and selfless they are. Not motivated by any outside or personal gain, he was invested in the learning process while establishing a greater understanding of the person he was working with. It was never about just getting the job done – it was the trip to get there and what was learned along the way that mattered.

Despite only knowing him for months, I trusted him with sensitive personal information and sought his advice when I first started to have problems with my health. He was an insightful listener, it was always evident he truly cared and took the time when needed. Although, it wasn’t about how much time he spent – it was the connection he sought to make in that short time in which he crossed paths with others.

I knew, honestly, how rare and wonderful he was and thought to myself – how could this man be single? Despite me (and everyone else) trying to set him up with our single best friends, he finally met Jen. The smile that would surface when her name came up in conversation was priceless. I finally met her at a resident wine and cheese party, and knew by the way they looked at each other without need for words, they were incredibly happy. So happy and such an amazing, easy-going couple – that despite my sweeping hug goodbye which knocked a glass of red wine all over her beige skirt – they were both able to just laugh it off. They refused apologies, dry cleaning and my offer to buy her a new skirt (on several different occasions). Of course, I felt so bad - I thought I had ruined their night. For most other people, that may have ruined it. At least, would have caused a stop at home to change – but not for them. They were so gracious. He later told me they went straight out to dinner and even afterwards without a further thought. The point was – it didn’t matter to them what other people might pause to look at or notice. Something I think we all could take note of and put to use in our own lives.

I know Jim was by far one of the most influential, inspiring people I have ever known and I will never forget him. I feel so lucky to have had the chance get to know him and take comfort knowing I am by far not alone in these realizations. We all will miss him very much.”

Christina Morton Sawhney
Senior RIC resident

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