We are coming close to the first anniversary of the death of my dear brother Jim. Up to now, and perhaps even now, it has been impossible to express in words the absolute heartbreak I have felt since that day, January 26th. I have watched and listened as those close to him have made memorials and tributes to him. I contributed to the memorial bench in Portsmouth, such a fitting thing to do in light of the moment, and it is something we can visit and show our children as time goes by. My brother Ron has designated a birch tree in a park near his home, where he has placed a plaque, and can go to pay respect and to commune with his brother and best friend. This has been enormously helpful to his grieving process. Jim’s wife and children have had their own ways of memorializing him and keeping his memory alive.
Four days after his death I had a serious and potentially dangerous heart procedure called an ablation, which cauterizes a spot in a heart valve that was causing tachycardia attacks that kept me going to the Emergency Department frequently for relief. I remember asking Ron, as the time approached, if I should go through with it in view of Jim’s condition. He told me I should take care of myself. So I did. I respect Ron’s judgement and always appreciate his counsel.
But now as the end of January approaches, I am waking up with thoughts of Jim, and I want to share them here. Many times, especially in the ’90s, I would take a few days vacation in New Hampshire. I loved going there, visiting the mountains and other beautiful places. On the way back, I would stop to see Jim and Robin, and we always had a great time together. I remember going out for a pancake breakfast, our frequent stops at Dunkin’ for coffee and doughnuts, and our walks on the country road behind their house.
The thing I remember most is Jim’s sense of humor, always making me laugh, and the way he made me feel special. He had a way of listening to you as though you were the only person in the room and always commenting on the good things about you. I never heard him say anything negative. If he did, he made it into a joke. He had a soft voice, which I can still hear in my head. I especially liked it when he told me stories of the shots he got, and the way he often had to manipulate the situation to get the perfect photo. His photography often called for a bit of cunning, such as political or sports celebrities and other action shots. He was quick and sure and always getting it just right, better than anyone else. He had a hundred of those stories, and I always liked to ask him about them. His last phone call to me was the day before he died. He was more interested in me and my health issues than in thinking about himself – so like him.
Yes, I miss him so very much, just as everyone does, and will remember him in some way of my own on the anniversary. My heart goes out to Robin, Lisa, Jeff, and Stacey, and to Ronnie and Jane who were so close to him, and to Tom and Bob – all of us who loved him so much. I still cannot find the right words, but I hope I have given the reader an indication of what a special person he was, and how he lingers in our hearts. A few months ago, I wrote a poem and posted it on this blog, called An Empty Space, which says in a different way how we all feel. You might want to check it out from the list on the right.
The Boston Globe said this about him in their list of “Notable Passings” from January 1, 2013.
- James Dexter DenhamJames Dexter Denham, 65, of Hartford, Conn., died Jan. 26.
He was a professional photojournalist for more than 20 years, covering sports, political events, and social issues for publications including New England Runner Magazine, based in South Weymouth, Mass., United Press International, the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, and The Boston Globe.
Denham’s photographs appeared in newspapers, national magazines, and on the internet.
He was also a recognized commercial photographer, working for several area agencies and businesses, and receiving honors in an international competition for advertising campaigns.
Denham leaves his wife, Robin; three children, Lisa, Jeffrey and Stacy; five grandchildren.