GILES COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — As families gather for Thanksgiving dinner, many are sitting down without loved ones. In Giles County, this is the first Thanksgiving for the Grimes family without their beloved Jim — a husband, father and grandfather ripped from their hearts by a killer in their own backyard.

“You know there’s always going to be a hole in our lives because he’s not here,” his widow Dawn Grimes began to cry. 

The last 7 months have been anything but normal for the family. It’s hard for the broken-hearted widow just to get out of bed.

Thursday morning, she woke to grab her husband’s shirt, just to smell and feel his presence. His thumbprint etched in silver dangles from a chain near her heart. It’s all she has as she busies her mind in her house filled with love from family and neighbors, cooking and fighting tears.

“Through the tears, we will laugh, we will remember because I don’t want anyone to ever forget him. I certainly won’t,” Dawn said.

Just feet from where they gather, Dawn held her husband’s hand as he took his last breath after a cold-hearted killer shot him near the shed.

“You took a piece of our hearts. You took a piece of our soul, our family. A person that will never be replaced and how you can sleep at night and get up in the morning and act like nothing has happened and have a normal Thanksgiving with your family and we are left devastated and broken? I will never understand that,” cried Dawn. 

Her mind is clouded by the darkness, she struggles to even pray.

“Right now, I’m so angry that I find it very difficult to pray, so I ask everybody to pray for me,” she pleaded. 

Yet, she still sees the light to count her blessings this holiday, thankful for the support of her family and the community. 

“I lean on them every day. They carry me when I can’t walk, and for that, I’m very thankful,” she said. 

Her story is a reminder of just how fortunate many of us are this Thanksgiving.

“We are going to laugh and we are going to remember and we are going to cry, and we are going to be thankful,” Dawn said.

Investigators believe they know who killed Jim, but say they need technology not available in Tennessee to help with the evidence. Last Friday, the FBI stepped in to assist.

“There were approximately 30 agents here from TBI to FBI to Giles County. They had forensic experts and they did collect some additional information and additional evidence, and I don’t know what that is, but they were very hopeful about that,” said Dawn. 

The devastated family is thankful to still gather with loved ones with a renewed sense of hope that justice is coming.

There is a $1 million reward for the arrest and conviction in the murder of Jim Grimes. If you have any information on the case, call the Giles County Sheriff’s Office at (931) 363-3505 or 1-800-TBI-FIND.