I don’t know where to begin. I like to think of myself as very articulate when expressing my thoughts, whether I am writing a song, a financial or estate plan, a live theatrical musical show, a letter fighting for what’s right, or a legal brief. But how do you write about a chance meeting that would forever change your life, the trajectory of your life and those whose lives you’ve touched and will touch in time, and even what you believe will be your afterlife?
How do you express something of such great spiritual depth, that its meaning has such a profound impact on all that you are, believe, hope, dream, fight for, live and breathe? How do you tell the story of the most beautiful man that ever lived, while facing the reality that he lives no longer – at least not as a mortal. How do you tell the story of what you always knew was the greatest gift – so divinely planned, and yet have faith that its loss is part of the plan? How do you express the magnitude of the wonderment, excitement and joy of a new beginning and remain faithful to a journey that requires blind navigation through unknown places?
Someone taught me how to do this. His name was James Edward Wallace, Jr. and today is our anniversary. Once upon a time I met the most beautiful man there ever was…
On September 20, 2019, I was performing at the Capitol Theatre in Flint Michigan. That same weekend, Motown was celebrating its 60th year with the groundbreaking of its new museum in Detroit. After my performance on Friday night, I was scheduled to head back to L.A. but at the last minute I wound up heading to Detroit, my birthplace and home to the once-in-a-lifetime legacy I am blessed to be a part of. Years had passed since I had been to Detroit, a city that surely heaven planned, would attract the most evolved, passionate and talented souls who would make history together including my parents, Ron and Aurora Miller.
Normally, I travel with an entourage of friends, family and cast members but something compelled me to venture alone into the city where I was born – just as my soul did when I entered this very magical place the day I was born. I remember that for a brief second, I was sad and crying as I drove into Detroit because I wasn’t used to being alone. But the moment I arrived and looked out over the Detroit River from high atop the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, I distinctly remember what felt like a heavy burden being lifted from my spirit. It felt like I was soaring high above the clouds, as if I had been let on to some magical, highly energized, very bright, divine highway filled with electrifying intensity… where the answer to every question would be answered, where every dream would come true and where hope itself resides.
Suddenly, everything that was ordinary, became extraordinary. Colors became more vibrant; music was more beautiful; touch was highly sensitized. What was happening? I remember that feeling of having butterflies in my stomach, but I didn’t know why. Throughout the weekend, there was laughter, music and good times. It’s hard to believe I partied with my brother, Robert Gordy, Jr. and Allee Willis, both of whom have since passed away.
The more that times goes on, I realize just how truly divine that moment really was and continues to be.
On the last night, September 22, 2019, Motown celebrated its 60 years with a beautiful gala at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. After the wonderful performances, I went backstage to say hello to Berry Gordy and Jon Platt, Sony Music Publishing’s new Chairman and CEO. Soon thereafter, my Auntie Janie Bradford asked if I could take her back to the hotel. I really wanted to stay and mingle but I did the right thing and headed out to get the car. I turned the corner into a huge, great hall.
As I moved through what felt like a thousand people, I saw the brightest light coming to me. It got brighter and brighter and everything else that was happening seemed to be moving in slow motion. My heart was beating so fast as I approached the light, and my body was radiating with energy. Suddenly, I saw the most beautiful man that ever walked the face of the earth. He stood 6’ 5” tall and was wearing a black fedora. He looked at me in a way that I will never forget because in that moment, we lived a thousand lifetimes and experienced what most people don’t even know exists.
Somehow, this divine highway could speed up and slow down time. In many ways it seems like time stopped for us, and in other ways, it felt like time betrayed us. But in this moment, every dream I ever had came true.
As our eyes locked, I kept walking, hoping he would make a U-turn. And that he did! In fact, he rushed over to me. I don’t recall what he said other than his name was James Wallace. I just remember watching his lips move but I couldn’t hear anything. I just kept thinking that I wanted and needed to feel this man inside of me.
He lived in Beaver Falls, PA and I was headed home to L.A., but he told me he would be in Los Angeles on October 6th because he was producing a show for the Taste of Soul L.A. We started texting and conversing via phone. We would talk for hours and hours. In fact, he used to send me screenshots showing the hours we spent talking. He said that never, in his entire life, had he spent that much time with anyone on the phone or otherwise, but somehow, neither of us could let go of the line connecting us.
I sensed a sadness and loneliness about James and yet, he had the innocence and hope of a child which made me want to protect him. His spirit was pure and clear – untarnished by a sometimes cruel and uncaring world.
I remember James telling me, “Before I met you, I was dying.” I asked if what he meant was that he felt like he was dying. He replied, “No. I was dying but now I want to live. I’ve been praying for you to come to me and now you’re here.” After our first call he couldn’t sleep, nor could I. He was so excited that he walked the streets of Beaver Falls at 3am and sent me videos. It seemed like October 6th was taking forever to arrive. The anticipation of seeing each other again was overwhelming. Finally, it was here! On October 6th I picked James up from Los Angeles International Airport and thus began a life-defining time in my life that would bring the most happiness, the most sadness and an understanding and faith that somehow, I needed both in order to evolve.
Over the course of the next few days and weeks with James, I experienced a complete state of surrender – something I didn’t know was possible nor did I know existed. Everything that was happening to us felt like it was moved into place by God himself – a divine gift, overflowing with life, passion, hope and love. We moved like a dance on this highway of love and surrender – the energy of our spirits guiding one another and every touch, without a word. We were living in a time and place we both knew we had been to before as if somehow, we had been reunited after desperately searching for each other throughout time. We shared every moment as if it was the first… and last – a new beginning and the end. Time slowed down allowing us to live a thousand lifetimes together and it sped up, occurring all in thirteen months.
James’ spirit was/is the most powerful and evolved I have ever known. His sensitivity moved and touched me deeply. Somehow, he was able to bring out my most feminine qualities, something that sometimes escapes me when I’m out there fighting battles and trying to save the world. He knew how to tune into me and feel what I was feeling. If I so much as breathed a breath that sounded different than the one prior, he knew. It’s as if we were one. We understood each other on the deepest levels just by looking into each other’s eyes.
In the early days, we would walk and talk for hours, holding hands in Marina Del Rey on the beautiful path that led to the breakwater. Every night we would walk toward the sunset and walk back facing the Marina. We would always stop by the only tree on the path. This became our favorite spot. James loved to gaze out at all the boats and the lights sparkling on the water. This was a quiet time when he would hold me tightly, kiss me and keep me warm as the brisk wind brushed our faces. My nose was always cold (his was always warm). He would put his lips on my nose to warm my face which always led to face (and other) cuddling, kissing… and um, yah… all that. I could feel the weight of his body on mine and hear the beat of his heart, his life force and the only sound I ever heard when he was near.
James and I talked about race, injustice and how we were going to change the world and help those in need. He made it okay to talk about and taught me things I didn’t know that I didn’t know. It struck me to the deepest core of my being… a life lesson that remains with me today… this man… this beautiful black man, who had so much pain thrust upon him by a hateful world –what went in as hate, always came out as love. Wait… what? The world inflicts pain on you, and you send it back out to the same world as love… with empathy and compassion?! It takes an incredibly evolved spirit to do this and understand its magnitude and depth. This moved me to tears and to this day, I struggle and aspire to that spiritual integrity and strength.
In our most intimate moments, I could feel… and I absorbed his pain. I wanted him to release that burden because I wanted him to know that he wasn’t alone. I could feel his power come shining through and it brought out in me, an overwhelming sense of surrender and trust which he cared for, guarded and protected with every part of his being. James and I were let into a place reserved for very few… where we were one… joyful… and at peace.
I spent three weeks with this beautiful man and the end of October quickly came. I would come to learn (exactly one year later) that the end of October was destined to be a time of goodbyes.
In late October 2019, when I brought James to the airport for his return to Beaver Falls, I remember crying so hard, hyperventilating thinking about being without the man I loved and cherished so deeply. I assumed that it would be hard to see each other again, at least for a while since I was travelling so much on tour with my show and James had events scheduled all over the country as well. James sat quietly and spoke to me without ever saying a word… his heart filled with emotion.
For the next two weeks, we spent almost the entire time on the phone until he said, “I’ll see you on Tuesday!” I replied, “What?!!! I assumed I wouldn’t be seeing you for a while.” He said, “I told you, you’re never getting rid of me. You’re stuck with me for life.” He packed his bags, left everything behind, came to L.A. and never looked back.
James and I were inseparable, sharing every moment together until the day he died, one year later at the end of October. When I talk to him now and remind him that he said, “You’re never getting rid of me,” and that I was stuck with him for life, an overwhelming, resounding reply comes right back at me, “Nothing has changed – I’m still here, Baby.” He sends me signs all the time that he loves me and misses me desperately. He’s always with me.
James was so tall that if he sat down at the end of the bed and I was standing up, we were actually the same height. He used to do this thing to me where he would have me stand between both of his legs at the edge of the bed. He would have me close my eyes and then move his head all around my body without ever touching me (the not touching me part didn’t last long). I could feel him breathing on me and hear the sound of my heart beating fast and hard. His energy made my body tremble, which was intensified by the strong, protective, passionate embrace of his soul and gorgeous, enormous arms.
Looking back on this now, aside from the fact that this was as hot as fuck, I realize that James was training me to look for him even when I couldn’t see… to recognize his spirit and life force so that I would know he would be ever present for all of time. When I call him to me now, I instantly feel him and my body trembles.
Every day I told James how powerful he was. I believed in him and wanted him to feel like the King he was. I made sure he knew. I would tell him all the time that he was the most beautiful man there ever was or will be. For all the people he helped through the years he always was, and remains, the brightest star. He cared about humanity and helped those in need in the quietest of ways, never needing credit or accolades for all that he gave. He touched the lives of so many people by empowering them to believe in themselves. He was bright, intelligent, talented, compassionate, loving, caring, thoughtful, sensitive and funny. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life than when James and I were being silly and playful. I was so proud to be on the arm of the tallest, most dashing, charming, handsome, most gorgeous, sexy, dapper, intelligent, coolest guy at any red-carpet event, but I was happiest when I’d roll around with no makeup with my 6’5” goof who wrapped my body up in his with a protective blanket of love, passion, laughter, happiness, excitement, wonderment and hope. And I don’t care what anyone says, he absolutely had the cutest feet (size 13)!
It’s funny, the little things. James would squeeze fresh ginger for me and bring it, without fail, every morning with two shots of apple cider vinegar so we could stay healthy. I would always drink the ginger but left the apple cider vinegar for hours. He would look at me and ask, “Why are you babysitting that apple cider vinegar?” To this day, I babysit my apple cider vinegar until I hear James reminding me. Now, it makes me smile… but I’m still babysitting.
For someone who was behind the scenes, always taking photos of everyone else, James wasn’t comfortable being in front of the camera. He was humble and always wanted others to shine. But when I met him, I couldn’t stop taking photos of him. He told me that he was no longer uncomfortable with it because we were together and in love. He said I took more photos of him in one week than had been taken of him his entire life.
I don’t know what it was, but something compelled me to document this incredible life, taking over 50,000 photos and videos, which capture the purity of his beauty, both physically and spiritually. When I see the handful of photos of James before we met, I don’t recognize him. When I see photos of myself with James, I don’t recognize me. It’s as if somehow, this divine highway that we were on could turn back time. The photos and videos evidence a youthful, passionate glow while simultaneously exuding a timeless love bestowed upon very few.
In the coming days, months and years ahead, I will pour over the countless photos, videos, text messages, emails, letters and other media I shared with James as I tell the story of the most beautiful man there ever was or will be… and the greatest love of all time.
I will never need a special day to celebrate meeting, connecting, loving, remembering or reuniting with James because every day is a celebration of the love we continue to share and what we continue to teach one another… but as I do tune into my man on this, the day we met two years ago today, I’d like to thank you James Edward Wallace, Jr. for bringing the most happiness to my life. Thank you for being one with me, supporting me, believing in me and for always telling me that the greatest honor of your life was loving me and being my man… when it was always my honor to even be near you. Loving you and being your woman defines me for eternity.
I’ve been reading the cards, notes, letters and texts leading up to this day last year on what would be our first and only anniversary. James was so excited… just like an innocent child anxiously awaiting the most exciting day of the year. He would write, “I’m so in love with you Lisa Dawn Miller Wallace,” his heart filled with love, hope and excitement about our wondrous future together.
While next month marks one year since the devastating loss of my forever love, today is about life. It’s about all the excitement, energy and wonderment surrounding a new beginning. It’s about the signs we get confirming that love endures.
When I woke up this morning, the first thing that popped up on my phone was a memory from one of my social media accounts that I posted 10 years ago today. It was so odd because I never have a “memory” popping up from that far back. I didn’t even remember that I had social media accounts 10 years ago and I certainly don’t remember writing the post.
The memory was dated 9/22/2011 and showed a photo of me as a little girl with my father with a bright light between us that looked like a shining star and what appeared to be a shadow in the shape of a person behind us. The caption under the photo read, “Me and Daddy in Detroit!” The post read, “The bases were loaded today, bottom of the 9th, World Series, last game – the underdog had no chance – only by the grace of God and some miracle was there any chance. You hit one out of the ballpark for me today, Daddy! Thank you so much for hearing me. I love you. I miss you. Love, your baby.”
This felt like such a direct message to me on so many levels. First, it’s nondescript. I don’t remember what Daddy hit out of the ballpark on that day for me… but it was meant to be that I wouldn’t remember because whatever it was will live out there forever and could have been anything at any time… but something so big and so profound that it was life changing… like the night I met James… September 22, 2019, in Detroit, my birthplace and where this photo of us was taken so long ago… I wonder if my dad was moving things to bring me and James together because it would be a defining moment for me and change the course of my life and afterlife forever. I wonder if James wants me to know that he hears me, he loves me, he misses me and he’s right here with me always. I wonder if he’s hanging out with my dad and mom, and if they are moving things causing all these amazing happenings and positive energy swirling around me right now. I wonder if this is yet, another new beginning of a journey that starts, this time, with the most powerful and loving spirits guiding me.
Whatever it is, I feel James wants me to know that on this day, the anniversary of our meeting in Detroit, he’s right here, as he said he would always be.
Before James got to L.A. on that first trip, October 6, 2019, when we would talk on the phone for hours, we started a story in late September… a fairytale about a prince and princess who were destined to become King and Queen but were separated during a war of the lands. The story evolved as each of us started a new chapter where the other left off by saying “next chapter, Baby.” We shared in the journey of the prince and princess as they searched for each other throughout time. The day they reunited, love itself was born. The heavens opened and shared the answers to all we seek.
James and I continued writing this story until the day he died. But it didn’t end there, because our story is still being written. Happy Anniversary to the most beautiful man there ever was or will be… “next chapter, Baby.” I love you. I miss you. Love, your Baby forever, Lisa xo (and XXXX…#ww #Jww)
#Mine #Forever #Owned #LuckyMe #AlwaysAndForever #MyKing ❤️🤴🏿