Monday, May 31, 2010

Our Memorial Weekend for Joey



Last weekend was the second anniversary of Joey's departure to Heaven. Anniversary days are filled with dread and sorrow. We all get withdrawn, sad and emotional. It's difficult coming up with a way to honor the day. We explored several ideas, but nothing seemed quite right. We finally decided that just being together, outside, was what he would have loved. There was nothing he personally enjoyed more than experiencing nature with the people he loved. So we spent the weekend outside in Sean and JoAnne's backyard, soaking up the beauty, and relaxing together, with no other interruptions or demands on our time.

It was the right choice.

We brought Joey's world-traveling van, Gunther, into the yard with us. We opened him up so the kids could climb in and we set up a tent and a campfire, too. Who knows how many campsites Joey and Rachel set up in their year on the road?

Joe spent a lot of his time, here, just sitting by the fire and soaking it all in.



Rachel flew in for the week so we could all be together. Here she's fishing by the beautiful lake that edges our daughter's yard. Our son-in-laws spent hours relaxing there and actually caught a couple of good size fish that they released back into the lake.



We played softball, kickball, and swung in the hammock. We also floated in the pool on a silly giant raft.


We hot-tubbed when we got cold, and simply enjoyed hanging out together for three days.
There's nothing that comforts me like hugs from my grandbabies.

We had our own little church service by the campfire on Sunday morning, led by two of the granddaughters. Joe provided the music by playing Joey's ukulele.

Here they are serving us Communion.

We want to pass on our faith to them. We know it's the only thing that will carry them through the tragedies of life.




We watched a family slide show recapping our last year, and we counted our blessings. I'm thanking God for His grace that has given us the ability to survive loss, one day at a time. I am so thankful for the hope we have of the ultimate family reunion in Heaven.
These anniversary days are difficult. They trigger again the original pain, the shocking loss, the memories of a finer time when we were all together. Joey's presence and spirit, so achingly absent, lead us to another world where all will be well.

We love you and we remember you, Beautiful Son.


“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

—John 14:1-3

6 comments:

caitsmom said...

Thinking of you and your Joey. I am so sorry. You're thought ways of remembering Joey were quite touching; thanks for sharing.

Anna Flowergardengirl said...

Joey's memorial weekend was beautiful and certainly will be remembered forever. That's so important I think. It's easier to remember when your mind can bring up an image just as you've done with this occasion.

God wrote the bible so we would never forget and He filled it with story after story so we could relate. He gave us characters and told about their lives. He told us how much He loved many of them. God has honored them by writing about them. Karen you honor Joey by writing about him and your love for him.

I'm sure God is guiding you in these memories and loving your faithfulness as a mom.

karen gerstenberger said...

Thank you for sharing this intimate glimpse into your family's beautiful weekend honoring Joey's life. It sounds perfect, especially the fact that Rachel came to participate with you and share the love and comfort that are part of Joey and part of your family. Including your all of the family, your faith, love of music and the Eucharist in your grieving and remembering seems so fitting to Joey's colorful and rich life, fully lived - though not lived as LONG as we would have liked, it seems he lived a rich and FULL life.
God bless your aching hearts.

Daisy said...

((((Karen and family))))

Thanks also for the John 14:1-3. Sometimes, all we can do is hang on to them for dear life.

Mich

Bonita said...

Hello, Dear Karen & Joe. Your family is so special and lovely, even as you grieve. I am sad for you, Joe. You were so close to Joey. I can recall your sharing during ohana how he would call in the middle of your work day with a pressing decision-- seeking your valued advice. Your bond was always evident as you spoke of Joey.
I love you guys and will cherish the memories. In my heart I am still reminded to continue praying for you. Much love always. (P.S. Your grandchildren are all so beautiful! Clare is so tall like Joanne! Pls. know my prayers for continued restoration are with you All!).
Love you, Bonita

Beckypdj said...

Dear Karen,
I have been catching up on your posts. I've put you in my "reader" so I won't get behind again. :)

I hope I don't seem too familiar when I say your blog reminds me of mine. Our lives are continuing because we know a big God. Your posts are filled with your blessings and interspersed with your grief. I know what it's like to want to convey that life is still good and it still hurts.

Thanks for writing and I'll keep reading.