Friends - I have sad news. I spoke at length with Kelsie Reilly, Jimmy's son, and I'm sad to report that Jimmy is no longer with us. Sometime in the past week, Jimmy chose a well-loved, beautiful and dramatic location high in the mountains above Santa Barbara, and there he took control of his own destiny by taking his own life. I know this is hard, but in Kelsie's words Jimmy is now one with "the spirit of the mountain" that he loved so much.
Most of us know Jimmy as being at the heart of Occupy Monterey. He accepted the duty of the Occupier of the Steps of the City Council Chambers. He may hold the record for the longest continuous occupation of anyone encamped at a seat of city government. Most of us would accept that Jimmy was and remains at the heart and in the soul of the movement.
Most anyone who came in contact with Jimmy was blessed by his music as Jimmy was never far from his guitar. Jimmy was a poet, a composer, a calm but forceful voice for positive change. Many of us felt his calming effect and appreciated his moment by moment approach to life, his seemingly magical presence and his inherent spirituality. He once told me that he didn't produce his music but that it came over him and flowed through him from the spirit world. It's as if Jimmy was the voice of the angels. We know these things, but Jimmy had a long life before he blessed the steps of the Monterey City Council Chambers.
Jimmy's son, Kelsie who is now thirty-five and the father of a three year old boy, says that he hopes that he can be "as good as a father to my son as [Jimmy] was to me." Kelsie says that Jimmy never saw himself growing old. When they would reminisce together Jimmy would say "Remember when we were kids..." as if both father and son were childlike and playful. Kelsie says that he "can't believe that so much time has passed in their lives. Growing up with Jimmy there was no sense of time. Life with him was like moving from one magical experience to the next. It was as if time didn't even exist."
Jimmy sang "a song so old, so old it's new again." If anyone had a wise and weathered soul it was Jimmy. I hope that we can hold our memories of him close to our hearts, that we can live his ideal of peace being present in each moment. I pray that Jimmy’s songs remain and become made new again. Much love Jimmy. I really love you. Thank you for what you gave to me. I feel you in my heart. May you dwell and prosper in the spirit world.