By Edith Hathaway © 2023
Jim Wilson and I celebrated our 25th anniversary on Jan. 1st, 2023. We had a common-law marriage for 25 wonderful years until he passed away on Jan. 27, 2023. His departure from this earth plane is still a huge loss – including on this first Valentine’s Day without him.
In my 2012 book, In Search of Destiny, I thanked Jim Wilson “for his constant support, understanding and love, and our ongoing conversations, ignited by his instinctive grasp of a wide range of subjects.” Jim had a great sense of humor and joie de vivre, alongside his business acumen and his depth of perception on so many subjects. This was matched by his total honesty and sense of fairness.
He was also a great story-teller and had an excellent singing voice well into the latest months of his life. His commanding voice and presence fittingly accompanied his leonine hair! With that voice, many said he should have been on radio. His mother even thought he could be an actor. But above all, he was a very loving, caring person, and this only became stronger with the years. He had a great gift for sharing his infectious love of life, and I was fortunate to share so many years of my life with him. On Jan. 1st, 2023, our 25th anniversary, he gave me a beautiful card with a quote from E.E. Cummings: “You are my Sun, my Moon, and all of my stars.” I will always treasure it, as his absence still looms large.
HIS LAST YEARS
Jim was diagnosed with prostate cancer in late March 2021, but at his request we did not share his health status more broadly. Only the inner circle of our family and friends were informed and aware of this.
Jim was in hospice care for just eight days here at home before he passed. All three of his adult children flew in from around the world and stayed here at our house in La Jolla that week. His sister Pip was also here with us before that for four days, and his sister Judy and two nieces also came to visit on Sunday, Jan. 22nd. Hospice workers and close neighbors were in and out. When he passed, at 1:11 pm PST, Friday, Jan. 27th, I was close by him, alongside his three adult children (Bret, Katie and Galen). He was truly bathed in love from all of us, and his love for all of us became more and more profound the last few years.
I will always cherish the mutual love and devotion we shared. He was a very compassionate, generous and chivalrous man to the very end. For most of his life he was bursting with physical and mental vitality. His recuperative powers were almost as legendary as his ability to recite from memory endless numbers of verses of songs or poetry. Only in the last couple of years was he slowed down at all, and that was from the cancer and the medications prescribed to fight off the cancer. He was not in any pain.
Jim and I had tickets to fly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2023 to do another procedure on Feb. 1st with Dr. Gary Onik. Jim had one treatment with him in mid-Dec., 2022 and we were very hopeful it would be successful. (Dr. Onik is an MD and inventor who uses a cutting edge combination of cryo-surgery and immunotherapy to fight and cure cancer.)
But unfortunately a CT scan on Jan. 12th showed a worsening of the metastasis in his bones. Dr. Onik suggested another treatment Feb. 1st in which he would focus on the bones, since it was apparently impossible for him to treat both the prostate and the bones in just one of his procedures. This is because Jim’s cancer in the bones had a different genetic code, so didn’t respond to the cryo-surgery plus immunotherapy in December.
We went that route with Dr. Onik instead of radiation or chemotherapy after learning just before Thanksgiving 2022 that Jim was no longer responding to the hormonal cancer drugs (two different ones) he’d been taking for almost two years. He had become MDR, or multi-drug-resistant, a common phenomenon we were unaware of up to that point, as sometimes hormonal drugs can extend the life for a number of years. But Jim became too weak to go to Florida for the second treatment to the bones by Dr. Gary Onik.
Truly Jim’s last years, months, weeks, days, and hours will be forever emblazoned in my memory. He became especially lucid in the mornings. On Sat. morning, Jan. 21st he said: “We don’t need to go to Florida now. Everything has happened right here – all the magic. We don’t need Florida.” When I asked him what he meant he said: “All the magic has happened right here – the whole transformational process.”
There were many other such moments, as when he spoke of going to “the next room” – though he couldn’t tell us who or what was in the “next room.” He also spoke of “going home,” though in one sense of course he was already at our home. Though he was not drugged, he was moving in and out of different realities, and we understood this happens in the dying process. Our role was to give him love and comfort so he would be free to go wherever he was going next.
Jim Wilson had a long and productive life. Born in Los Angeles Oct. 29, 1936, he was the oldest of three siblings, with two younger sisters (Judy and Pip) born in 1941 and 1944, respectively. The family moved several times in his early years from Pocatello, Idaho to Fort Benning, Georgia to Toledo, Ohio before settling long-term in southern California in Jan. 1946.
Both parents were born in Ohio. His mother Eleanor was a homemaker, former English teacher, and a very cultivated woman. His father Alva was a civil engineer who worked with the U.S. Army Core of Engineers in Pocatello, Idaho and later served in the military as a Full 5 Star Colonel in the Army during World War II. He was on active duty in Europe and in Africa. Post WWII, the family prospered as Alva moved into real estate development in southern California and Jim learned a lot about that business from his father.
After graduating from USC (University of Southern California), Jim married and did some extensive travel in Europe for about eight months, always pursuing his lifelong love of tennis and his considerable skills as a tennis player. This was a sport he played right up through spring 2020 when local courts and parks were closed due to the Covid lockdowns in California.
He loved many sports, especially tennis, basketball, baseball, football, and bicycling, but tennis was his lifelong love. He was on various local tennis teams up to age 14 and later played both basketball and tennis for South Pasadena High School. In La Jolla he met up with many tennis players he knew or knew of during his many years involved in competitive tennis all through secondary school, college, and beyond.
Jim worked for several years with his father in real estate development in southern California and in Las Vegas, Nevada. Later he moved to Boulder, Colorado with his first wife, had the second of his first two children (Bret and Katie) and earned a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado.
Choosing not to pursue a career in academia, Jim returned to do more real estate development with his father, and later moved into the grocery business. He owned or co-owned several businesses for some 40 years, with a special interest in organic foods. A second marriage followed in 1978 and a third child (Galen) in 1984. In 1990 they moved from Boulder, Colorado to Santa Fe, New Mexico where I also resided since 1983 with my then-husband. We all met at a Christmas party in Dec. 1990 given by mutual friends. Then in 1992 my marriage came to an end and Jim’s marriage ended as well in late 1996/early 1997.
Both of us remained in Santa Fe, and seven years after our initial meeting Jim and I had our first official date on Jan. 1, 1998. We met for a dinner that lasted over six hours, as we talked and talked. It was at the India Palace restaurant in Santa Fe, a location which would echo my close connection to India and the astrology of India (Vedic astrology) as well as our subsequent joint travels there and elsewhere abroad over the coming years.
We were together ever since our first date, which soon became our anniversary, with a month-long trip to Hawaii in Feb.-March 1998 that in retrospect was a kind of unofficial “honeymoon” – pure magic. I had an astrology conference in Hawaii and Jim had friends locally, with new opportunities to play tennis and many, many joint opportunities to enjoy swimming in the ocean, walking the beach, eating at local restaurants and taking a boat tour.
Being near the ocean and enjoying beach walks and ocean swimming would eventually draw us from the high desert of Santa Fe to the West coast in late 2003, when Jim and I moved together to Vancouver, B.C., Canada for a few years. He had a grocery business in B.C., one of many he owned and/or developed over his 40 years in the business. Then in early April 2006 we moved down the West coast to southern California, where we lived ever since, with 3 ½ years initially in Laguna Beach and the next 13 ½ years in La Jolla (San Diego county) before Jim passed away.
Ceremonies to honor Jim’s life are being organized currently. We will do one in La Jolla and one in Laguna Beach for family and friends. They will be on two different weekends in April. Details are still in the planning stages.
Copyright ©2023 by Edith Hathaway. All rights reserved.