James J. Cordes • 1932-2010

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Jessica’s Entry: 10/11/10

On 10/9/10 my father, James J. Cordes, passed away.  As some of you know it had been a long road since his stroke in 1995.  These last 15 years have been some of the most difficult and also precious with my dad.  I’m surprised by the calm and relief I feel, perhaps because I have grieved so much for him already in the last decade and a half.

I find myself uttering cliches to people – “he died very peacefully,” “it was for the best,” I like to believe “he’s in a better place now.”  But I have to remember that cliches often become so because they are very true.

He maintained his sense of humor right up to the end, asking the nurse at one point, “Am I dead yet?”

Justin and Dad in VT, 1996

When she said “no” he replied, “Darn.”  My brother Justin is with me in New Hampshire as I write this.  My dad will be cremated today or tomorrow.  We will probably have a memorial dinner in NYC in the next few months.  If you would like to attend please let me know.

Some of you knew my dad way back when before his stroke changed him so much.  Some of you witnessed the years when my dad lived with me.  Some of you have only heard me speak of him and our lives together. Some of you had no idea of this in my life at all. Regardless, I feel held right now by the people in my life, all of you, not matter how thin the connection. Thank you.

With gratitude and full heart, Jessica

Jessica’s Entry: 10/29/10

After numerous tears on the morning of his death, and a few bouts scattered over the next few days, I was surprised by how well I felt.  I had a sense of relief.  I also felt, for the first time, a release of so much guilt I’d been carrying around and unable to let go – all of the things I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve’s for dad.  Whenever I contemplated my dad’s eventual demise I pictured tearing my hair out with grief.  (Hmm, the image I get of that now is of some silent screen actress in the throes of despair.  My dad would have liked that image…)

In any case, I just… felt… fine.  Oh sure, I thought, this will probably take a while to sink in, and yet, somehow it wasn’t.  Until yesterday.  I suddenly found myself awake in the morning and feeling rather alone in the world. I guess this is the first real wave of grief that’s hit me.  So today I’m starting on this website in earnest, and seeing some of the photos of us – one of my favorites of us with Santa hats on – I was sitting on his lap and we were goofing off in front of one of the nursing homes he was in, called “Cozy Corners” which he liked to call “Crazy Corners.”  My heart has ached for him, and for myself for 15 years.  Does it ever stop?  Or do I just get used to it?

1 Response to James J. Cordes • 1932-2010

  1. Jessica: Jim was a good friend for so many years I can’t even remember when I first met him. He will always be one of the most talented men I’ve ever known and truly a giant in this field we know as corporate writing. Thank you for your note, sad as it must be.

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