James was born in 1976. Although only weighing 2lbs 10oz, my Mam still talks about how he had the biggest head of hair she'd ever seen on a newborn. Ofcourse anyone who knew James knew that he was never shy of showing it off later in life too, almost like a fake wig bought from a novelty store. Although, medically speaking, he was born with a small heart, really it was his heart that drew people to him. He was generous to the extreme, grace and warmth abound him. He always had a smile on his face, willing to talk with absolutely anyone he'd meet. As a friend or family member, you stood a pretty good chance of getting a big hug every time you met James. Describing James as warm would be an understatement.....he just had a genuine interest in people. All people!
He was one of the lucky ones too, atleast I'd like to put it down to luck. Although it probably has more to do with the fact that he studied so hard in college, completing his degree, then masters, and finally becoming a professor in that very same college where he studied so hard in the first place. While studying in college, he met the love of his life Catriona. They dated for a few years before eventually marrying on Catriona's 28th birthday. What a beautiful couple they were. James even managed to cut his big mop of hair to look sufficiently respectable for their wedding photos.
It was on their honeymoon that things began to unravel. Travelling through America, on a month long adventure, James began to have pains in his stomach....finding it hard to hold down his food and in some considerable pain. At first putting it down to the excesses of big family and celebratory wedding meals, coupled with the oft tempting new cuisine on holiday, he bore the brunt of it. However, having visited a local doctor to ascertain the source of this ongoing pain, he was advised to seek the advice of his regular GP at home upon return. After cutting short their adventure, they flew home to visit his doctor. This is when James discovered he had unoperable cancer of the stomach.
A 4 week stay in hospital is how James spent his final days with us.
To say I miss you James is an understatement of massive proportions. You were always there to help, tease and offer a smile and a joke when we were growing up. A big brother in every sence.