Prayer Vigil for Jamie Gallegos

We were deeply saddened by the news of  the homicide of a resident, neighbor and Mother here in San Tan Heights. We didn’t know Jamie Gallegos – it doesn’t matter. She was our neighbor here.

When I was posting those press releases yesterday there was something missing that was integral to the message. Who was Jamie and why did this happen to her? How do some people in our society lose  sight of how valuable life is? I think those people must get lost early on and they never find their way back. I don’t know. I don’t understand it.

Arline and I needed to see the human side of what happened so we went to the prayer vigil for Jamie at Christ The Victor last night – we met a lot of new people, saw some familiar faces and met Jamie through stories of her life. Pastor Larry  Kassebaum lead us through the spiritual aspects of trying to come to terms with this tragedy. There were music, hymns and prayers. There was a reassuring confirmation that although Jamie was taken too soon, she is in the arms of God. There were pies, and there were tears of sorrow.

As Pastor Kassebaum was nearing the end of what he had to offer Tony walked in, shook hands with the pastor and sat down. Tony placed his head deep in his lap and cried silently. Tony and Jamie had only been married a short time. One of Jamie’s co-workers said that Jamie told her when she met Tony that “I can finally breath again”. Testimony on where she came from and where she was now. And where she wanted to go. They were happy. Tony has a young daughter, Jamie two sons age seven and ten. All full of love, hope and future.

The pastor asked for family, friends and co-workers to share their stories of Jamie. Most were hesitant; too sad, too soon. Then Tony got up.

Through heavy emotions and courage, Tony told us why he wanted to be there this night; he didn’t want Jamie to be remembered as the woman that got shot in a parking lot. There was so much more to her… and to them. There were spontaneous vacations. He cracked an inside joke – “look want happens on a spontaneous vacations”  and pointed to a ring on his finger. There were laughter in the tears.

Jamie’s Father got up and hugged Tony and they had private words. Jaimie’s Father kept clutching his heart – broken and beat but so full of love for his girl. Jamie’s Father had just flown in from Pittsburgh – it was the first time he and Tony had met.

The lives affected by this are many. A Grandfather will raise his Grand-kids. A husband will walk into a silent house without the normal smells of dinner cooking or the well timed buzzzzzzzzzzzzz of the dryer going off when you open the door coming home from work. It will be devoid of any  tangible evidence that a really neat woman once lived there. All Tony has left are memories, photos and dreams. The touch of his wife has been taken away.

Jamie worked in the ER at Banner, she helped save lives. Besides her kids and new life with Tony, she loved her job. A co-worker got up and described how Jamie had taken her under her wing when she went on the ER floor. Jamie told her not to be scared, that she could do this. They became “The Dynamic Duo”; making it happen on the ER floor in record time and damn proud of it. There were high fives.

Another co-worker and committee person went to the mic and was talking about relationships and I think this point struck me as the most poignant of the night. She had seen Jamie before Tony. She had seen the distress and chaos in her eyes and actions. She said (and I am paraphrasing here), “If you are in a relationship, and something is not working – if you don’t feel you are absolutely cherished, get help. There are counselors, pastors… people to talk to. You need to work it out. If you do not feel loved as you feel you should be, get help or get out”.

When a life is in turmoil as Jamie’s was with her ex-husband, it shows. There are signs and the people that love you have a responsibility to act when something is not right. It’s part of the “marriage contract” between friends and family.

Tony mentioned that we shouldn’t save “I Love You” for ending a phone conversation, or heading out the door to go to the store or coming out of the bathroom (more laughter through the tears). Save “I Love You” for walking through the park and give her a quick jab with the elbow, then say it. Save it for the times we don’t normally use it. Let “I Love You” come at a time when it means I cherish you.

———-

From the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

  • One in four women will experience domestic violence
  • An estimate 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year
  • The majority (73%) of family violence victims are female. Females were 84% of spousal abuse victims and 86% at the hands of a boyfriend

———-

Because of the tragic loss of Jamie Gallegos and the impact on her family, friends and co-workers we have added a new links category, Resources for Domestic Violence. If you feel threatened in a relationship or you suspect someone you know is, we urge you to please use this information.

Jeff and Arline Studley

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About Jeff

Long time volunteer in the San Tan Valley/Queen Creek area of Arizona.

Posted on November 5, 2010, in From STHCW, In the news, Meeting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. So sad to hear of this tragic loss. Jamies’ family and friends are in my prayers today.

    Much thanks to Jeff and Arline who maintain this site and provide this community with so much love and support.

  2. Thank you for writing this. My heart is broken for my friend who lost his beautiful wife. Jamie was an amazing person that just made you smile when you were around her. She will be missed. Our prayers are with her husband, her kids, and all the family and friends that loved her so much.

  3. W e have “watched” this tragedy from our distant home in Canada, feeling the same sense of loss that so many of you do. We did not know Jamie.

    We are “winter esidents” who will be returning to our winter home in San Tan Heights in a couple of weeks. We come giving thanks for the wonderful people in our community there who really do care about one another.

    Thanks Jeff and Arline for insuring we all have the chance to share in the loss and to be reminded of how precious life is…and to constantly remember to treasure every day we have with our family and friends.

    We offer our deepest sympathy to Jamie’s family and want to to know you are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Ron and Donna Woodward

  4. Thank you for writing this and especially for your continued support in our community, not just in San Tan Heights; but throughout San Tan Valley area. It meant a lot to me personally to have you and Arline there. Love you both to pieces….

  5. Jamie was my co worker. I attended the vigil and I want everyone to know that if you knew Jamie she impacted your life. She was a positive person who was your cheerleader. She made you believe in yourself. I am honored and privledged to call her my friend. My life will forever be changed for the better because I knew her. Thank you Jamie for believing in me.

  6. Thank you for putting this up. It means alot to us. Me and Jamie, that is. I have done much wandering the past month. I went north from Phoenix, to the Grand Canyon, to SLC, Utah, on some pilgrimage. Ended up in Colorado. Got home. It was too much. I am in Las Vegas, now. THIS is where we got married. We weren’t gamblers, drinkers, nor into any of the “sin” that occurs here (hehe). But this was OUR place. A spontaneous vacation that ended up with us getting married… I’ve many wonderful stories to share of the beautiful woman that was my wife. My Jamie. I am on Facebook if anyone wants to add me. OUR life is on there… Be kind, much love, and many blessings… We thank you, again…

    Mr. & Mrs. Tony & Jamie Gallegos

    • Hi Tony! I hope our words gave some sort of comfort to you and your family in your time of need. I’m going to find you on Facebook today. All the best in your future.

      Jeff and Arline Studley

  7. Jamie was such a unique human being. Every time I saw her she would tell me how beautiful I was and would give me a hug. Who does that? She always made me feel better no matter what kind of day I was having. I remember the day she came back to work after her and Tony got married and she ran over to me and just hugged me so hard. She had this glow about her that I don’t think I have ever witnessed on another human being. It was a glow of pure happiness and joy. I asked her if she was happy and of course she giggled and said yes. Jamie will always be my “wing man” because there will never be another Jamie 2 that could cut it like she did.

  8. Once you met Jamie- you could never forget her. Her eyes were hypnotic…big brown pools of expression. I loved her advice and sarcastic wit. She was beautiful inside and out- a rare find.

  9. Well thank you so much for the kind words. 🙂

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