Monday, May 23, 2011

Remembering Joey

 a bouquet at the wall, his memorial spot on Maui

 Love written in the sand

flowers in the waters where his ashes were scattered

A Maui sunset. We love you, Joey.

 These photos were sent by several of our Maui friends as they honored Joey's memory yesterday. We were so touched by them. There is nothing so comforting as others remembering your precious child, who is so sadly gone from the world. We had an outpouring of love and support yesterday, and it meant everything to us.

The anniversary days are so difficult to get through. It's like being tossed in the dryer and being tumbled up, over and around again, tumbled emotionally, losing our equilibrium (that we have worked so hard to gain), while filled with the soaking weight of deep sorrow. It's strange and crazy. When those days come, we just hang on to one another tightly. It must be walked through, and it can't be done alone.

Beautiful Rachel joined us, flying in from California on Thursday. We all gathered at the farm for the weekend. We sat outside and watched the dogs, and lazily fished in the pond, and snacked from a big bountiful basket that a dear friend had dropped off on our porch, and simply chit-chatted together. We watched videos of years gone by, and witnessed once again the love that Joey poured on each one of us while he was here with us. He had such a big, generous, loving heart. We went to church on Sunday morning, and were deeply comforted by our pastor's incredible message on Heaven. It couldn't have been timed more perfectly. It gave us a lot of strength, and a feeling of being cared for at a most fragile time.

We made Eggs Benedict after church in honor of Joey. It was his favorite breakfast/brunch. Hollandaise sauce is a two-man operation, and Rachel and I shared the task with one of us rapidly whisking the mixture while the other drizzled butter into it. JoAnne poached the eggs, Jaime grilled the Canadian bacon, and Drew made the English muffins. After labor intensive preparations, we all sat down to eat it with our eyes rolling  back in our heads in culinary pleasure! Joey would have been in taste-bud ecstasy!

Last night we went to Ruth's Chris for dinner. Joey loved a great meal. We all dressed up for the occasion. Chase wore Uncle JJ's suit and looked so handsome in it, almost filling it up!. We had reserved our own room for the occasion and the staff knew it was a memorial dinner. They were quite sensitive and solicitous. We had an empty place setting at the table where Joey would have sat. We were there for four hours and  pretty much closed the place down. We each shared a memory of Joey that we never want to forget. We shared how we have changed in the past three years. We shared the sorrow and tears of having to bear with the loss of someone so intrinsic to our existence. Our youngest, Aidan, wept like it was the day Joey died. It all came back to him mid-sentence, in a fresh rush of pain, and we all cried along with him.

We received many supportive messages and texts from friends. They do so help to alleviate the lonely feeling of grief, and we thank you all from our hearts for walking with us.

Three years. It feels like a lifetime of loss and heartbreak. We are stronger than we were even a year ago. We have learned to carry the weight of grief, like a backpack on each of our shoulders. It rarely comes off, and only tends to do that in a holy place, like a cathedral or out in nature, but it is a more bearable load.  On anniversaries, it is so heavy, it must be shared. We appreciate you all for sharing it with us.

If Joey were in Australia, we would be constantly thinking about Australia. We would read the news and look at pictures of that place with new eyes, seeing Joey there. We would wear the clothing of Australia, root for its teams, and feel a connection to the place. But he's in Heaven, so Heaven is where our thoughts go. There are no pictures, but there is one in our mind's eye, and we look at  that one often. We dream of the place where he lives now, and know he is content. He is missing us as well, but also reassuring us that one day it will wipe every tear from our eyes. We await that day and live in this world more lightly now.

We love you, beautiful son. Love you so. Carry you with us now, wherever we go. Miss you terrible. Look to the day of reunion with our hearts and souls. Love you forever.


Beckypdj said...

Hugs to you and your family. How wonderful to be able to remember together. My thoughts are heavenward much of the time too. Thank you for sharing your son and your journey.

karen gerstenberger said...

It sounds like a perfect way to spend the day. Tears sting my eyes when I read about your sharing over dinner, as a family, your memories. Reading about your brunch, the weekend with Rachel, the videos, the sermon...I am thankful for you that your family is willing to "go there." It hurts, but it hurts (me) more NOT to go there.

I am grateful that you can see where you are in relation to where you were even a year ago. I hope it gives you hope. You were in my heart and thoughts yesterday, as you always are. Sending much love.

Anonymous said...

I can only say you had a perfect day. Like my grandson Jake likes to say! Whats there not to love about this day. He is so right. Tears of good and sad flow for you. XOXOXO Sharon

MaryAnn B said...

To have known Joey is to have shared in his smile, in the joy that he brought into the room when he entered ....Everyone felt his love and his enormous purpose in life to live with incredible Passion!

This week and every day of your lives you both have been so blessed to have shared your son with so many of us! What a precious gift to the world!

Much much love and courage to you both. MaryAnn & Paul

Anonymous said...

Love this:)) What a great way to honor Joey's life. Don and I were sharing some of our favorite times with JJ and they both were over good food and wine. Mine was a place we met JJ in LA and we allowed Joey to pick the wine!!!! (I can't remember the name of the place but have a great visual in my mind.) Don's was when were with you guys and Joey at Mama's...we were laughing that we had alot of fun and Joey had no problem spending Joe's money on great food and wine for all:)) The dessert was a blast - one of Joey's choices. We love and miss him. We love you all. You are never far from our thoughts and prayers. Love vi

Kay said...

It sounds like you had the most perfect of memorial days with family and those that care so deeply for you and for Joey. Beautiful. In tears for you and the loss you carry so gracefully during these difficult days.

michael, ciara, mikaela and zachary said...

I couldn't read your post without tears streaming down my face, and put it off for a few days since i knew that would happen. We love your family so much and our hearts hurt thinking about the pain you carry.

Love to read about Joey and the LOVE your family shares!

Keeping our hearts focused on Heaven with you....

All our LOVE,
ciara, michael, mikaela and zachy boy

Anna/Flowergardengirl said...

I cried and cried reading this. I just can't hardly stand it for ya'll. My two boys are close and so then I cried for them and they will roll their eyes at me tomorrow---but they don't read your blog often. I will tell them though---now my whole family knows who Karen in VA is. After I say your name-they all look to see if I'm crying. It's not always a sad cry--it's just knowing that you can't ever be away from the sorrow. I'm glad you had such a good conversation on this night. I would want to talk about it all the time. I won't ever ever get tired of it.