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 We all get withdrawn, sad and emotional.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.