No Band-aid Big Enough

Perhaps without even realizing it, I am looking for a band-aid for the pain I feel when I miss Joey. Part of me wants so much not to hurt any more, but at the same time sometimes that pain is the connection I feel to my son. It's hard to know what to want as we grieve for the loss of my angel boy.

This past week we took our two younger children on vacation. After five months of one crisis after another and deep sorrow, we wanted to take them to a place where we could feel happiness again as a family. We decided to take them to San Diego.

The kids were amazing: patient in the long lines and in the heat. Happy just to spend time with us. And full of fun. That was what I wanted from the trip: to see Brett and the kids enjoying themselves. That makes me more happy than anything. We truly enjoyed just taking our time to enjoy each moment. I didn't rush them out the door each morning. I didn't worry about when the park opened or bedtimes. We didn't worry about too many treats or riding just one more time. We just let things happen and tried to relax. It was good to be together.

What surprised me, however, was how many things triggered tears for Brett and I. Right before Joey passed away I was able to interview him for about 10 minutes. One of the questions I asked was for him to name a place that he has never been to that he would like to visit. He named Legoland. He's been a fan of Legoland since he was old enough to pinch those little blocks together. As we drove to Legoland one morning of our trip, Brett and I were suddenly overcome with feelings of deep grief, devastated that our boy would not be joining us on this vacation.

All during Joey's illness, we talked about taking a vacation as a family when Joey felt better. Even as we saw the cancer take full hold of his little body we held out for any glimpse of hope. It gave him something to look forward to, something to hold on to.

When he could not join us on this trip, it made our hearts ache. We were careful not to dampen the younger kids' fun, as this trip was for them; but we often found ourselves remembering Joey and how he would have liked this ride or how he had loved that ride in the past.

I suppose that's what I mean when I say there isn't a band-aid big enough. No trip, no event, nothing can take away from missing Joe. We just love him too much, and he is so much a part of who we are that it was inevitable that we would feel the loss of him even on a family vacation.

So, Joey, I missed you, baby. I wanted to see you ride the Screamer with your Dad and come off laughing. I wanted you to experience Legoland and buy new Legos that you really didn't need. I wanted you to pick a treat like your brother and sister, and I wanted you with me every moment on our vacation. I miss you, I miss you, I miss you!

Here's to you, baby:


  1. Amazing words! I wish he could have been there with you too. I am glad you got to relax with your family!

  2. Your post was so thoughtful and poignant, it brought me to tears. There is no easy way to grieve, no right way to do it, when you love someone this much living without them will never be easy! I pray for your comfort often. I am sure your younger children really needed this. ((HUGS))

  3. Beautiful Jen...we love you.

  4. Big hugs, my friend.

    Big hugs.


  5. Thanks for your beautiful words. It brought tears to my eyes.

    You will always miss Joey. The grief and pain may lessen over time, but you will always miss him. He was there in Spirit.

  6. Jen I know he was there with you all, he is never far behind, always by your side. Sending you a hug!


  7. Jen,
    Know that you are in my prayers. I lost my 14 year old brother to bone cancer. There isn't a day that goes by that I or my family doesn't think of him. I know he is around us each day, by little silly things that happen or my the faces my nephew (his namesake) makes! Know that the hurt will subside....and know that Joey will always be with you! You and your family are in my prayers.

  8. I found your blog through another online friend's blog. I wanted to let you know how much your comments have touched me. I have 5 children, a set of infant twins and 3 older children, the oldest being 7. The older 2 kids have severe ADHD, which is very trying on us. Some days I just want to escape from it all... it is that trying. UNTIL I found your blog. Your experience with losing your son Joey (my oldest child is Joseph), has made me realize how precious our children are, even when they act they way my kids do. I have taken your advice and hugged them tighter. Thank you for blogging your feelings and what has to be the hardest thing you will ever go through. As much as my children can irritate me, I cannot even imagine what it would be like to lose them, even with the knowledge of the Gospel. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. Thank you again for opening my eyes.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your grief. So tough, I know. Prayers and love still a'comin'.

  10. Jen, you brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad that you were able to share such a special time with your husband and children. I do believe your Joey was there in spirit...right by your side. Thank you for sharing such wonderful words and feeling with us. It definately makes me appreciate what I have and my family that much more.

  11. brought tears to my eyes too... you will always think of him and though the pain and sadness gets less (and somewhat easier to deal with with time,)a day won't go by where you won't still think of him and think of what life would be like if he was still here.. that is normal and a part of grieving.
    Thanks for sharing on your blog.
    Nice that you got to begun doing things again as a family... I"m sure all the family had similiar emotions too... being together will help you get through each tough time and each "first" which can be so difficult.
    Take care Jen and know that love and prayers are still with you...

  12. I am so glad you guys were able to get away. I think Joey would be happy that you went anyway.

  13. Jen,
    I'm still so sorry for all the grief and loss your family is feeling. You have my hugs and care.

    Please take care.

  14. Big warm fuzzy hugs to you Jen and your beautiful family.

  15. Awww, Jen, I wish I could give you a great big hug! Grieving takes time, lots of time... I am so glad you had some fun time with the rest of the family, you needed that and sounds like they did too. Joey was there too, in all of your hearts, where he will always be.

  16. Wow, I just got back from LEgoland -- I was pretty-much the opposite of you... more hearding then loving at times (although I tried).
    Did you go to the Star Wars weekend?
    I'm sure Joey's enjoying where he is just as much as legoland (and I'm hoping it's not quite as hot -- or wet -- like that pirate shores).
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  17. Hi Jen! I have two things that might help you. One: is a friend of mine who has survived breast cancer (two years ago) and just this January it had spread to her bones, liver, and lung. They gave her two months but she is back on her feet and home again and they are calling her a miracle. She is using her every waking moment to help others who are going through it, since she is uniquely capable of understanding what they have been through. You are the other side of the coin ... you have been through SUPPORTING someone who is going through it. Perhaps you two could put your heads together. Service WILL bring you happiness. So many people need what you two could offer. That's her blog spot up there. The other link I have for you is
    I have been to his lecture and watched him work this process with a lady whose father was killed by a hitman... she was absolutely riddled with grief, and he helped her get past her paralyzing grief and move on with her life, still celebrating and loving her father and not letting go of her memories or love for him, just letting go of the pain and paralysis of not being able to function due to the grief. He's AMAZING. You can work the process yourself for $20 by reading his book "The Breakthrough Experience" or you can attend his lecture. I really believe with my whole heart that I was supposed to tell you about this. I hope it helps. Please let me know that you saw this note, OK? Thanks. Good luck! We all care for you. I care about you.

  18. Such sweet words longing for lost moments with your boy. As your family enjoyed your trip...your angel boy was there with you.....

    I know how you feel. My mom died of breast cancer 10 years ago in August. She loved and collected Precious Moments figurines. Well, the creator of Precious Moments built a PM Chapel and my mom and I always wanted to go. But, it wasn't to be, as she was too sick to go and passed away before we made the trip. So, on the 1st anniversary of her death...I went. All 8 months pregnant of me (and I was on partial bedrest.) But, I explained to my OBGYN...I HAD TO GO. So, my hubby wheeled me around the whole place in a wheelchair. I went to the PM chapel, where they have books you can write in....and I bawled my little eyes out as I wrote my mothers story in the book. But I was there to tell her story and the story of us and I did.

    I feel like she was there with angel...always on my shoulder.

    And I'm glad she got to go.



  19. Oh, Honey!
    This has just have to be horrible for you!! Only those of us who've lost a child can truly understand. I lost my precious daughter, Joy, just over two years ago. She had been ill with an autoimmune liver disease for thirteen years, never quite healthy even after a liver transplant at 17..then her body gave out suddenly as we were arranging a second transplant when she was 26. At least she has what Joey didn't..time...just one more reason I actually feel lucky to have had her in my life. But I can tell, you love Joey very much, and you will help yourself and all around you if you can all appreciate all the goodness he had in his too short life. I can look at how Joy never married or had children or had a successful career that made a mark on this world. OR I can appreciate that she had friends flying in to DC from places like Ohio, Minnesota (immediately AFTER taking her medical boards),....she made her mark on the mostly innercity autistic children she taught in a special school..and it goes on and on...for Joey, I see all those young boy things (I also have a son)..and there must be good memories amongst all that probable dirt, bugs,frogs, balls of one sort or another..please don't let those memories make you any sadder than they have to be..but try to get to the point when they are happy moments. Its always going to hurt, that's why I'm suggesting will help to ease at least a little of the pain. and maybe one day, the sadness will be lightened and you can "yes I'm sad, but I was SO lucky I had this time with Joey" And you'll be able to see some of Joey in his siblings. Again I'm daughters were 7 years apart..her sister hardly knew a time when Joy wasn't sick..but they were VERY close...and now I see so much of Joy in her sister, but with her OWN twist. Almost every day I think about what Joy would advise her sister..and to my surprise, it works! Okay, enough of me sptting out "wisdom"...I DO suggest seeing a good therapist..I've just now realized how valuable this is (I was always saying I could handle it...sure for a while)..secondly, one of the best websites is www.compassionatefriends".com deals with a loss of a child. if you have any questions/going nuts (you're entitled/or just want tell me I should never have said this stuff, you can find me with the user name meriweather at various scrapbook sites like Serendipity/transparent touches and paperdilles (specializes in minialbums)and a few others...and always kep Joey in your heart...your in his! hugs Meredith

  20. oh thoughts and prayers are still with you...your post brought tears to my eyes...i am lucky to live one exit from legoland and take my children there all the time..but next time i am there i will think of joey....i am happy to hear though that your kids had a nice time on vacation...and that you and your husband are staying strong for them...again take care...i will continue to keep your family in my prayers...

  21. Still thinking of you and your family.....wishing I had that bandaid you need!!


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