James Odell Jernigan

Share This Obituary
James Odell Jernigan Obituary


My Dad died at age 62–just 4 years younger than me now. He left us 25 yrs ago this year and I reminisce as to how quickly time goes by and how I have missed him. I guess I will continue to miss him until I see him again in heaven. I have a lot to do, a lot of life to live yet.

It seems fitting to post this, because without my Dad, there would be no me. This piece also says a lot about life, love and what really makes a family. I have 3 brothers and people do not understand the relationship I have with them and their families. We were and have always been a close knit family even with the extended ones. My Dad always charity starts at home and I have always remembered those words and I guess that is why we take care of our family (each other).

Shortly after my Dad passed we welcomed some great news that his first great grandchild was on the way. It was a happy time but a sad time because my Dad would have rejoiced at having his first great grandchild (Blake) which God sent us. As I write this now my Dad has ten (10) great grands and he would have spoiled and loved each one of them. Nearly every time I look at those great grands I think ("oh how I wish my Dad had gotten to see them at least the first one – Blake"). My Dad loved children and Christmas and that is why I have such a hard time during the holidays – Daddy was made my Christmas special by being there to watch him during that time and interaction with the grand children.

But the core of this is still true, and while writing this it all seems like just yesterday. But it is today and we continue to miss him. My Dad was our family pillar -- the hub of our family. The community where he lived was a small community and he was a pillar of that community and loved by all that knew him. He is still missed by the some of the members of the Mt Olive Community. Many of them have passed on also and are gathering in heaven with him.

It's like wisdom teeth

I'm amazed at people who think they know what I feel or don't feel because of my father's death. They saw the relationship from the outside, in the heat of the moment, through their own lens. One of my frustrations with my Dad was that he kept so much who he truly was or truly could be, held up inside. He felt he couldn't or shouldn't express it and he held it down. When it is all said and done, I am more like that than not, much to my surprise. So for my own heart and for those who think they know mine, I decided to write this.

While there are no 100% typical relationships, there are certain categories. In talking with people over the year I have learned that I don't think we had a typical father daughter relationship. My Dad was many things to me. He was "my best friend", "my confidante", "my rock to lean on" and "my shoulder to cry on". The saddest thing for me, today, right now, is that I have not had that or found anyone that can fill those shoes and I continue to miss him every day. No one has or can measure up to my Dad.

My fondest memories of my Dad are the many things that he and I did together. He was an avid fan of drag strip racing, wrestling, and go cart racing and even into my adult life any time he wanted a companion to go with him – he would call me as say I pick you up at 6. I would be ready and waiting. No one seems to understand why I would do that – but to me that was time that we spend together and we had lots of fun and long talks along the way. I think those talks are what have help me survive without him because all my life up until the day he went to be with Jesus, I always thought that when my Dad died – I would die. Well my world stood still for a while but life goes on.

When they are finally gone, you know it was for the best, but there are holes in your heart that ache while they heal, and there are always gaps where they once were that nothing else would, could, or should fill and they will be there for life.