My Heart Is Breaking

I know you all can’t tell, but I have started, back spaced, and restarted this post several times. I don’t know where to begin. My wonderful, fun-loving, gregarious son, Joseph Matthew Messina, was taken from this world today in a car accident in Colorado this morning. His wife, Michelle, whom he loved so much it made my heartache, was in the car with him but is doing fine and should be released if not tonight, then tomorrow morning. She is in shock and devastated along with the rest of our family. Joe, Michelle, and Rich spent the weekend in Colorado snowboarding and relaxing. Joe and Michelle dropped off Rich at the airport this morning…I spoke to them all in the car around 0830 my time. A couple of hours after they dropped him off, they were in the accident. The weather was really bad. I was able to call Rich and let him know at the airport and not to get on a plane but to find a way to Michelle, who was all alone in a small rural hospital. Praise God for good friends, as Kevin Graefe, a college friend, came and got Rich and took him to Michelle. He helped remember who they were talking to and helped secure her release so they could take her to a major hospital in Denver to get further treatment. They are still by her side, and hope to be able to take her to Kevin’s house once her small surgical procedure is done. Rich’s brother, Joe, is flying to Denver tonight to be with Rich. Joe and Heather arranged for Tim to fly home to me tonight. He should be here in an hour or so. A very special thanks to Wanda and Ed Oslica, who stayed all day with Lily and me….made phone calls to Missouri on Michelle’s behalf and helped me remanence about stories about Joe, and their son Zac, his best friend. Church friends came with paper goods and food, hugs and prayers. Thanks to the Emily Ryan, RoseAnn and Tom Harvat, and Tanner, Mick, & Kaysie Wiebelhaus for coming to just sit with Lily and me today. I have never cried so much or so ugly in my life. The pain of knowing that my son is gone is overwhelming. But I want to make this positive….and about Joe.

I have received so many texts and messages on social media that I am overwhelmed. People have reached out to me from all walks of Joe’s life….whether it be Army buddies, firefighting brothers, Delta Chi brothers, or simply childhood friends of his from all over the world…the messages are streaming in. It is a testament of the kind of person Joe was. He was the life of the party. He had a huge heart and he made me very proud. I loved being around him because he always made me smile. He didn’t even have to try. I feel like the light of my life has dimmed dramatically today. Joe was a huge supporter of my photography. He loved the photos I took and pushed me to get them on platforms where they could be noticed. That meant the world to me…that he was proud of what I did and found it interesting. He called often and almost always called using videophone so we could see each other. Joe loved his little sister, Lily. When she was really little, for years she sat on his lap during Mass, usually finger wrestling. Joe had two dogs, Moose and Jenna, who thought the sun rose and set on his attention. Half of the time he called me, he would be on his day off from the fire department, he would be in bed and snuggling with a dog or two. They will miss him terribly. Then there is Michelle. He fell so hard in love with this girl 8 years ago. They were finally married on October 17, 2020. Not nearly long enough for him to love her the way he felt she deserved. I told people so often how much I enjoyed spending time with the two of them because they were such a neat couple. The playfulness they had between them was adorable and it made my heart swell to know they had each other.

Please pray for my Joe, for Michelle, our family, his fire department (who has been amazing), his Army National Guard unit, and his friends. He had so many wonderful friends who loved him and although I already knew this, it has been really powerfully underlined today. Although I am absolutely devastated by all that has transpired, I do feel the love of everyone trying to support us. Please know I am just not up to responding back to most of you right now. It isn’t because I haven’t seen your messages or appreciate your kind words. I just can’t….I just can’t….right now. I am leaving you with the last picture I had taken with my Joe (I always called him that as there are several Joes in our family). This was a few weeks ago on my 51st birthday when he drove up from KC to surprise me. People, hug your children…tell them you love them. Let them know how much you care about them…how proud you are of them. I was blessed to know I was dying and told him as much whenever I could. This may be the only gift of a stage IV cancer diagnosis. My beautiful boy, my handsome son….until we meet again. I love you.

13 thoughts on “My Heart Is Breaking

  1. Oh Cyndi, we just don’t have enough words. I wish we could take the pain and heartache away. We will continue to send up prayers for you and your family. We are here for you all always. The world lost an amazing soul. We are so very sorry. 😓


  2. Cyndi
    I am so heart broken for you my friend. Please know you and the whole family are in our prayers.
    Love and hugs to you
    The Darnolds


  3. Oh, my dear, sweet friend! How my heart breaks for you! Nothing I can say or do will ever fill the hole in your heart; please know that I am praying for you right now and will do absolutely anything I can to help. I love you. May God bless and keep you all and may Joe rest in the peace and comfort of his Savior’s arms.


  4. Oh, Cyndi, I am crying with you last night and now again this morning, so broken hearted. I remember little Lily with him in church. He was such a great brother to her and Tim, such a great guy and fine young man, so much fun, and basically a newlywed too. My heart is broken for all of you who miss him so much. I don’t know if he was Irish, but he had red hair, so I prayed my Connemara marble green St. Patrick rosary for Joe and all the family last night. This morning I woke up and, after a second, remembered about Joe and was overwhelmed again, thinking about you and Lily, Michelle, Rich, and Tim and how overwhelmed you must be, wondering if you can even sleep and how sad you are. I’m so thankful you have all these people helping you. That Emily Ryan is a mutual friend and a treasure. I will be wearing my rugby, firefighter and first responder shirts in Joe’s honor all week, and will be praying praying praying for you all. Sending much love, Suzy


  5. I am very sorry Cindy for the passing of your son Joe. I place all of your family in God’s hands. Feel His loving embrace through His people. Hold on to your faith with all that you have! Whatever you feel give it to God. He can take it. If you come to a place where you can’t pray that’s okay. Know that others are praying for you. When you’re ready bring your suffering to the foot of the Cross. There you will find peace. God be with you in the moments of this difficult time.


  6. My beautiful friend, you are the strongest woman I know. I wish I were closer so that I could be support, but am so thankful that you, Lily, Rich, Tim, Michelle, and the rest of the family are surrounded by so many that love you all so much. Praying without ceasing.


  7. I put you all on the Our Lady of Peace prayer chain. Some, like the Hoffman’s, have already been praying all night. We all love you.


  8. Dear Cyndi,

    I prayed the Rosary last night with Joe and your family on my heart. I think of Mary and the pain she suffered seeing her beloved Son die. I don’t understand all of God’s ways, but I do know that your faith and those that love you will see you through this difficult time. You have been and continue to be an inspiration to me. I love you so very much.


  9. Cyndi I remember holding sweet Joe after he was born. He really grew into a wonderful man, and now he’s looking down on you, Rich, Tim, and Lilly and is smiling knowing he can now watch over you from heaven.


  10. Dear, dear Cyndi. I am writing this with tears in my own eyes. I am so, so sorry for this tremendous loss and the pain you are going through. I love you and I will be praying for you as you have found your way deep in my heart these last few years. You are a very special woman with a very powerful God and I know you and your family will continue to walk one step at a time in His Light bearing this cross. I have kept “your“Joe in my prayers and you are as my heart goes out to you. Know I am here 24/7….


  11. Dear Cyndi,

    All of us here in Michigan are very sorry about Joe. You are on the prayer list at Immanuel. I am sending you hugs from everyone.


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