8 Months of Missing My Joe

Eight months ago today we lost my oldest son, Joe. How can he have been gone for that long? When I say I have cried an ocean of tears…I am not sure it is much of an exaggeration. I am still not at the point where I take things day by day. Most of the time I take things hour by hour. The craziest things will set me off….going to a class at the YMCA and hearing a song with lyrics that hit me differently now…..looking up at my echo show and seeing a picture of Joe and his wonderful smile. I wake up every morning and look at my memories on Facebook for that day…hoping there will be a memory of Joe. There usually is. I miss Michelle, his dogs, his friends. Joe came with a big package of life….his wife, his dogs, his friends. I miss all of them. I try to keep in contact with them in some way, but they all have their lives to live, their own grief to deal with in their own ways. Sometimes I just feel like a painful reminder that he is gone to them. So, I don’t only mourn the loss of my Joe, but of all that came along with him, which makes the loss so much bigger. Who better to talk to about Joe than the people closest to him? So, I have had quite a lonely patch lately.

I am spending this afternoon attending a class on how to survive the holidays with grief. Sigh. I mentioned in my online mother’s grief class that thinking about the holidays just makes me want to throw up. Honestly, if we didn’t have Lily still at home, I think I would just not do anything. However, it is unfair to her to skip the holidays for our grief. I also think Joe would never want me to not celebrate my favorite time of year to cry over him. I know he wouldn’t want that. So, I soldier on…trying to keep that in the back of my mind. Rich managed to get Tim to agree to fly home for Thanksgiving this year. That was very unexpected and a wonderful surprise. I am guessing they will talk about this all this afternoon in this grief seminar, but I am going to give myself grace to have a low-key holiday season. I have Christmas cards in a basket next to my desk. Cards I bought last January on sale. I have been writing a family Christmas letter from the time we were married in 1991. I lay awake at night thinking about what I am going to say. No one wants to read a Christmas letter laced with incredible pain. There are several people who are our friends whom we really only communicate with at Christmas…so they don’t know what is going on with us. I want to honor Joe’s memory, especially this year. But before I can wrap my brain and heart around that project, I have to get through his first heavenly birthday, which is a week from today.

For Joe’s birthday this year, we are going to attend a Mass being said for him that morning at our church here in Omaha. They we are then going to head to Olathe, KS and take cupcakes to all the OFD stations to celebrate his memory. I am sure it will be a difficult day but seeing his brothers at the fire department will help, I hope. I also hope to be able to see his wife and best friend. We shall see!

Until then, I leave you with a photo of my Joe. This was taken the last couple of days I saw him, in Feb of this year. I told him he had llama hair. He was always pushing the limits of that floofy mop of ginger hair. He is so loved and so missed.

3 thoughts on “8 Months of Missing My Joe

  1. I am so sorry that you and your family are having to go through this. I offer daily prayers for healing for you and your family. That is beautiful ginger Llama hair featured on Joe in this picture. Such a handsome young man. Putting everything down in your Christmas letter may actually be healing for you. I pray that it is. God’s blessings to you and yours and I am always a phone call or text away if you need to talk or unload. My shoulders are wide. Love always, your friend, Kathy.


  2. I love you and you and Joe are never far from my thoughts. This week has been the building up to his birthday. So heartbreaking. Yes, I know he’s in heaven and blessed but I know, it would be much better if he could be here, for us humans, left behind.


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