Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Today it's eleven months since Joey's sudden departure to Heaven. The 22nd of any month has now become a somber day for me--I feel a wordless heaviness, with just an ache inside that is difficult to describe. I never had it before Joey passed, and I only feel relief when it rolls out in tears.

Joe took this picture last year when we were in New Zealand. Craig and I exited Starbucks and saw the surf shop across the street called "Jay-Jay's". We photographed it with the intention of getting a laugh out of our son Joey, who had been called JJ/Double J by his family and close friends, almost from birth. He didn't particularly like the name when he hit his teen years, but there were a few people, such as his cousins, Brian and Jeff, and his best friend Kevin, who could still get away with it. Though it doesn't much matter, now I feel badly that Joey never saw this picture. Silly, I know.

You all probably know that I loved my son, but you may not know how much I enjoyed my son. He was a kindred spirit to me in so many ways, and we always had a lot to talk about. We both enjoyed a deep discussion, and got inspired by many of the same books, the same movies and the same food. More often, though, he exposed me to something new that ended up having real value, like the biography of Kurt Cobain and avocado toast. He never saw me as a lost cause, but was always good about engaging me in contemporary thought and culture. No one else does that for me now, and sometimes I feel doomed to cluelessness, which I hate. He was my link to hipness.

I guess I was a link for him, too. I made him watch Celine Dion with me, which he hated, but patiently withstood for about 5 minutes with all kinds of hilarious mockings: "She's such a man!" I also engaged his spiritual side, and we had great discussions that cut through "churchiness" and went to the core of being human. On my last Saturday night with him, I gave him the book "Wild at Heart". We found it by his bedside the next weekend, already partly read.

My JJ is fully engaged with his spiritual side now. Sometimes I almost feel him saying, "Mom, you don't know the half of it!" That makes me feel good, like I made a positive impact on his life. He most certainly was good for me.

Proverbs 1: 8
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.


Anonymous said...

You are right...I understand that first paragraph. Love you - Viv

Liza's Eyeview said...

I love this post Karen, and I love your new photo header with Joe in it. I know, our JJ is proud of you for being so hip with this blogging thing (sad he can't e-mail us from heaven). Love you.


steve said...

Sending you a little extra love and prayers on this difficult day. we love you!
Steve, Jackie, Matt and Britt

Lisa Bryant said...

Dearest Karen,

I am so envious of your relationship with Joey. Oh, how it must hurt. Yours' was a unique bond. Know that I will commit to pray for you every 22nd of every month!

I love you and miss you,

josh said...

So good, Karen. Joey's tastes were always a little more mainstream than mine, so I was always playing his role to you, to him. And vice versa. If that makes sense. I love imagining him discussing things with you, different things than with me but in the same spirit of mutual discovery.

Jeri said...

Your new picture is great!

I can totally relate to the date that marks yet another month without our loved one. Thanks for sharing more about Joey. I love to read about him.

You're in my many thoughts and prayers.

Love you,

Anonymous said...

The date we all hate, I was angry as well that it has taken over each and every month. I loved you post and it touched me so much. I am not sure how else to let you know how I feel, it went straight to my heart. I love the pictures you post as well. I know it is hard to find happiness when the person that help make that is gone but God does put things in front of us that lets us know our blessings. Praying for you all the time. Sharon

Kathy Englert said...

Karen I remember this too. I also think of Joey on the 22nd of the past months. God gave you a great gift of writing that is very soothing.

Steve and Janna said...

Just stopping in to say I love and miss you guys. I will think of you and pray on the 22nds.

lorensaved77 said...

Aloha Karen,
You have such a Beutiful way of writing and expressing your feelings on paper for all of us to see and know!
Thanks for sharing your Heart!
Praying for you, missing you,sending great Big Hugs and Kisses!

Heather said...

Love the new pic of the horse and Joe!

Pam Smith said...

Hi Karen,

Deanne gave me your blog site, filled me in on your move in a recent email. I went to the site today - read your entry subtitled "A really bad day", dissolved in sobs. I went on to read Jay Jay and............. you describe a relationship similar to the one Jesse and I had. Joey is in heaven but the pain of the separation is a "suffocating sadness" I can only imagine. My Jess and Kate are alive on earth but separated from me, going on nine years. I exist each day without contact, without relationship with them - they, too, being my waking thought each morning and my closing thought/prayer each night. It is an unneccessary - but real - death of a very different kind. I wrote years ago, after we buried four babies that I was "a woman of sorrows and acquaited with grief" but I had only tasted it them. It has become my daily bread. I can only look to God for His purposes in the midst of this sadness. That is how I try to live.

God is using you, my friend, through your words and tears, to minister to the disconsolate. Soon we will all be with Him in glory. As someone commented on your site, re: seeing more and more of our treasures going to heaven, it really makes us yearn to be Home, doesn't it - and that is just what He wants.

Love you. Hug Joe for me. Pam