Mar 19, 2008

To Jimmy Wallet, who lost three of his children and his wife in the mudslide at La Conchita, California

I wrote the letter below to a stranger I read about in the news. Jimmy Wallet lost three of his four daughters and his beloved wife in a horrible accident on January 10, 2005. I felt for him and worried about him. And I grieved with him. In a weird coincidence, I met Jimmy Wallet this past Sunday. We both attended a yoga workshop given by guru yogi, Vishnuprem (Adam Danikiewicz). I saw him and thought his face looked familiar. Then, when Adam called him “Jimmy,” the sad truth came crashing in.
I couldn’t not say anything to him after the class, so I walked up and introduced myself. Not wanting to really bring up the tragedy—feeling selfishly awkward—but needing to be honest, I said, “I blogged about you.” He knew what I meant. When I got teary-eyed, he gave me a hug. Jimmy Wallet is as kind and noble a soul as you will ever be lucky enough to meet. He lost four family members in one day and he hugs me so that I can feel better. He told me about the blessing of holding his new grandchild in his arms and how happy he is to be a grandfather now—to a girl, no less. He’s a better person than I am. May many more blessings come your way, man. Many more.
Here’s the blog I originally wrote to Jimmy Wallet:

Dear Jimmy,

You don't know me, but I am a neighbor from the area where you used to live in Ventura before you moved to La Conchita. When I first heard your story--about stepping out to get ice cream when the mudslide hit La Conchita—the mudslide that ate up several houses--I was heartbroken. Over the next day and night and day, I prayed that rescuers would somehow find your family alive. That night I could hardly sleep for thinking about it. You see, your youngest girl, Paloma was about my daughter's age. I know what it feels like to hold a two-year-old in my arms, and to love a daughter so much, it's not possible to explain it. I prayed for you all. The next morning I read the sad news about your family and just cried. Can't say that I have any understanding of these things and don't know how you cope with it.

But I wanted to write you to let you know that there are people who care and wish we could help. My husband, Brian, and my daughter, Jaclyn, and I would love to invite you and Jasmine to come visit sometime--for dinner, or for a place to crash--or for anything or nothing at all. You are always welcome at our home.

We wish your beloved lost loved ones a peaceful journey and send you good juju for healing.


Carolyn, Brian, and baby Jaclyn


Amber Forest said...

Though I've never met him, I think of Jimmy often . . . it's good to know that he has become a grandfather . . . thanks for letting us know. He's always going to be in my heart. ~ Amber

joshuasmommy said...

Thank you for this update. I came across a memorial bench with his and children's names on it. Saddend to see that they four passed on my birthday and that young children passed I became curious. I googled the names and have been reading different articles about that tragic day all day today. I feel for him I lost my son 1 year ago and I too know what it's like to loose a child, although I could not imagine losing 3 and my souls ate. My heart is very heavy and sad for him and the pain he has to endure everyday. Lots of prayers and thoughts to him and his eldest daughter. -Shayna-
Lancaster, Ca

Carolyn Blount Brodersen said...

Thanks for writing, JoshuasMommy. So sorry for what you've been through. Who can really understand pain? How much is too much? What we can endure as humans, as parents? I met Jimmy Wallet a couple of years ago. We were both in a yoga workshop. He was the most serene and humble and genuinely sweet person ever. I introduced myself and immediately started crying--what an idiot, right?--and he hugged me. Imagine--he lost four family members in one tragic accident and he hugs me because I felt overwhelmed by his loss. More recently, I heard someone who is a friend of his family say that his daughter--who was then in high school, now has a baby. I wish his family the best.

Amber Forest said...

11 years later, I still think of Jimmy often. Doing s Google search today to see if I could find an update on this man I came across your blog, again. I'm glad you met him . . . and it does not surprise me that he would give you comfort. Sending love and light.

MichelleC said...

Could anyone get in contact with Mr. Jimmie Wallet?he contacted me in Colorado after the tragedy please email me.