Written by Christine Holland
On September 14, 2002, I married an amazing man. James Jude Holland was charming, handsome, intelligent, hardworking, gracious and kind with an infectious personality. Jim Holland was the best friend I’ve ever had and an incredible husband and father. Jim and I believed we were destined for each other and deeply in love before we had our first date…
After our wedding, we longed to share our love and life with a child of our own but had difficulty getting pregnant. At one point, we were told by the fertility team our chances to conceive a child were futile. Believe it or not, those were my darkest days — even more as I write these words today. Believing it wasn’t in God’s plan for me to have a child, I prayed, pleaded and bargained with Him to trust in me: I vowed to be the mother I never had and promised never to take my child for granted.
In tough times, one truly discovers the kind of person they’re married to. I married an amazing man. Jim was a constant source of strength and comfort. He would not allow me to be discouraged — always reminding me that we were already a family, one just smaller than most, he meant every word and I believed him. During this time, Jim and I began to pray to St. Jude. As the Patron of Lost Causes and Desperate Cases, Saint Jude’s aid is sought when all hope is lost and all other avenues are closed, his help often coming at the last moment.
After two plus years, via in-vitro fertilization, Jim and I found out we were pregnant in 2004 on Christmas Eve, coincidentally, the same day my mother passed away when I was seven years old. We would often say with a wink that mom pulled a few strings for us! Our beautiful baby boy, Jude Patrick Holland, was born on August 23rd, 2005, welcomed into this world by the family and friends who had began loving him when he was but a hope and a dream.
Jude grew into an incredible little boy and the spitting image of Jim. We lived every day knowing he was a gift to be treasured, the light of our life! Jim was extremely proud of Jude and I and would refer to Jude as his ‘Pride and Joy”. Jude also kept us on our toes! He was full of mischief, yet sweet and compassionate: truly his father’s son. It warmed my heart to see Jim and Jude holding hands while walking to the “candy store” (as Jude would call it – actually the local convenience store). Peering out the window, I watched them until they turned the corner out of sight. Upon their return, Jim would confess he felt ten feet tall walking hand-in-hand with his Pride and Joy! Jude would say, Mommies aren’t invited to the candy store; this was time for just the boys.
In motherhood, I had resigned from my career in sales to be a stay-at-home mom. Jim, a Sales Director for LG Electronics, worked out of our home so he would not miss a moment of our daily life. Believing it is his role to provide a comfortable and good life for Jude and I, Jim pampered and cherished us both. He often did all of the cooking and cleaning with pleasure saying that my role was just to play with Jude. Who could argue that I was married to an amazing man?
In February of 2009, Jim lost his position with LG Electronics due to company wide lay offs. While we chose to view this as an opportunity to spend even more time with our precious child, this was a very difficult time for Jim. As he thanked me every day for my support, I thought, “I’m finally able to do something for you”. In September of 2009, Jim accepted a Sales Director position with Acer Electronics.
During Jim’s job hiatus, father and son formed a bond that was beautiful to observe. Feeling a new confidence, Jim asked to spend some one-on-one time with Jude. An opportunity came in November when the boys were invited to spend the weekend with good friends David Oxford and his 4-year old son Harrison at their (lake) home on Lake Vermillion in northern Minnesota. Having grown up together, Jim and David had been best friends since they were their boys’ age. It was a chance for the life-long friends to catch up and watch their sons forming the same type of bond. Once again, Jude told me, Mommies weren’t invited; this was time for just the boys. This would also be the first time Jim and Jude would be away from me overnight.
Jim shared a memorable weekend with his Pride and Joy…I giggled when Jim would call and give me the play by play of the amusing dialogue over the course of the weekend. Jim recognized the significance and acknowledged the worth in time spent with Jude, Harrison and David. My boys had a great time and as much as Jim and Jude enjoyed themselves, we missed each other. Jim called early Sunday morning to let me know they were on the way home. When we spoke for the last time, Jim was euphoric! Jim graciously thanked me for the magnificent job I’d done with our son and endorsing the weekend getaway. This conversation resembled any other day – Jim sang my praises daily as a mother and wife regardless if I deserved the accolades or not.
While I eagerly anticipated Jim and Jude’s arrival, I was also preparing for my brother’s birthday party that same afternoon at our home. I was surrounded by family when I was notified Jim and Jude had been involved in a fatal car accident near Forest Lake, MN.
Jim never let a moment pass to let Jude and I know how much he loved us. Not one time did either of us leave our home without a hug, kiss and “I love you”. Not one time. I always buckled Jude into his car seat with a kiss on his beautiful face, with the inevitable feeling, “you just never know.” Our child never closed his eyes without Jim or I by his side – and no matter what the experts say about this, I will never regret that experience.
Jim and Jude were truly a gift. The ten years with Jim and four years I was blessed to be Jude’s Mom, I’m forever grateful. My boys love and faith in me brings me strength. I haven’t shed one tear distressed about Jim and Jude’s afterlife. The only tears I’ve wept are from my lonely heart for my wonderful husband and sweet child. Jim is lovingly caring for our beautiful little boy and I’m comforted in my belief Jim and Jude are blissful and happy. I would sign on the dotted line all over again and wouldn’t change one moment of how we chose to live our lives. Jim would often say, “Mama, our little boy is going to open doors for us one day”. Well, my love, you were right.
I had an amazing child. I married an amazing man.
– Christine Holland
Jim and Christine in Europe 2012
Text from Christine
Recently, I (Michele De Santis) received a text from my beautiful friend, Christine:
September 5, 2013
Hello my dear friend,
Yesterday was the anniversary of the day you introduced me to my wonderful husband, Jim Torina. Thank you!!! You have a gift.:) I hope all is well.
In the fall of 2012, Christine prayed for a wonderful man to come into her life. The next day, she received a call from her new widowed friend, Michele, telling her about an amazing man she should meet. Christine met Jim Torina. They travelled to Europe where they were engaged. In December, they married.
Christine is intentionally moving forward with life…..and blessings continue…Hearts can expand to love more than one great husband.