Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Every Year I Hold my Breath On This Day

This is it. This is the day I've been dreading since April showed up on my calendar. This is the day in 2007 that my beautiful boy returned home to his Heavenly Father. Eight long (and yet short) years ago. 



Some years we handle it fairly well.

This year I've felt it creeping up on me. I've watched it start to settle on my husband's shoulders as well. I don't want to face it today. I want to be happy and spend the day busily remembering all the good of Joey. And there was SO much good about Joey.

I miss him. I miss him every single day. And I know that by writing this and by even looking at the date on the calendar that I am acknowledging the day. Oh how I love that boy. Oh how I wish he were here with us today. How I wish that today could be like any other day. That cancer had never become a household word in our home. How saying good-bye had never been on the horizon for us or become a solid reality.

I never know if I should take the day off or if I should keep busy. I'm not quite sure how the kids will fair and if they will prefer to fill their day with their friends, or if they will want to be alone, or together as a family.

Last night we toured our local LDS (Mormon) temple. One of the ceremonies performed in our temples is that we are "sealed" together for eternity. It's a more permanent word than married. It means glued together forever, past this life, and onto all the things that come next. I worried and fretted all day about going. I wanted to see the beautiful new building, but I also knew that by going the day before this anniversary date that it would stir up feelings. It did, but not until we got home from our trip did I start to feel the blues creep in.

We really are in a good place. We can interact with friends and family. We can talk about Joey without welling up with tears every single time. We can remember him without it hurting every moment. I feel peace that he is well and happy. But I miss him.

Funny how you can know that he is ok but still miss him. As with Katelyn I'm not sure how to be apart from him.

I don't think we're supposed to be apart from family. I truly believe that we're supposed to be connected forever and that's why when Joey had to move on without us that it hurt so very much. It was so complete, so solid, and so lonely.

I look forward to the day when I see him again. I often imagine that he is tall, a handsome young man in the prime of his life with no more health issues. He is smiling and prone to laughter. He would look down at me because of course he is taller than me now, and he would tell me he is ok and all is well and then he would tell me that he loves me. And then I would squeeze him until I couldn't any longer and probably longer still.

As we go about our day today, I most worry about my children. Katelyn and he were so close in age and in friendship and she misses him. James remembers very little about Joey and yet he misses him too. Their feelings are going to be tender today. I hope their teachers are prompted to be kind and patient with them. I hope their friends remember and love them. I hope that whatever they need today, they will receive. It's the one day I'm never quite sure how to best help them through the day.

And to Joey, I love you, son! I am so proud that because of the way you lived you earned the right to return home to Heavenly Father early. You were an amazing boy, an incredible son, a protective big brother. I miss you. I am sure you are with us today. But I miss you. Be happy. Continue to do good things. And I can't wait to see you again.

22 comments:

  1. I have no words that can change how you feel or heal the ache that you have for your angel boy. Just know that as April swings around, you are all thought of more. It's a truly difficult month for you and I haven't forgotten. We are never the same person when we lose somebody whom we have held fast in our hearts, who were the centre of our world and the beat of our heart. We learn as time goes on to cope with the void that they leave, by making ourselves busy, by talking ourselves into the fact that they are just away for a while. These are coping mechanisms. It is human. You have coped with the loss of your beautiful boy with much grace and strength. There will be good days, bad days, good months, bad months and moments of that the loss is so immense that it takes your breath away. You are human. I am desperately sorry that you lost your Son and had to endure such heartache and grief. He is standing in the sun beside your brother, Mark. Waiting for the day you see each other again. It is not over. He is waiting. For you.

    Love you Jen x

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    1. Ali, I just can't tell you enough how grateful I am for you in my life. So much! God gave you a good heart that feels compelled to help others. I'm so glad you follow that calling!

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  2. I don't know how it feels to lose a child. But reading your post makes me feel your pain. I wish you lots of strength today, you and your family.
    Eveline.

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    1. Thank you so much, Eveline!

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  3. Ah Jen, every April I look for this post. See photos of your amazing boy and just get teary. I remember when it happened and I didn't even know you. It just touched my heart in so many ways. You are an amazing and inspiring woman. I am thankful for your strong testimony as it strengthens mine. May you have a happy and wonderful day remembering Joey.

    Loves,
    Ashley

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    1. Thank you so much, Ashley!

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  4. Jenn, your grace and strength and most of all, love shines through in every word. April is hard for me too. Yesterday was the 27th anniversary is my parents death. Tender is a great way to describe me yesterday.
    I hope you feel the love of your online community, as well as those physically near you today. We have our virtual arms around you and your family. I love your description of Joey! I imagine my parents as younger somehow. But I think you're right that Joey would be growing and thriving. Free from pain! 😊 ❤️

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    1. Alison, I'm so sorry to hear that you lost your parents. April must be such a tough month for you as well. Thank you for sharing your story with me!

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  5. Just wanted to tell you I'm sending you virtual hugs. Your post today was a wonderful tribute to Joey and a peek into the deep recesses of your heart. Beautifully done.

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    1. Nylene, thank you so much. It means so much that you reached out.

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  6. Hi Jen. I think about you every April, and my heart breaks for you and your family. You probably don't remember, but I lost my baby boy twenty-five years ago. It changes you forever. My thoughts and prayers are with you today. Take care, Kim (raeraesma)

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    1. Oh, Kim. I am sorry. You know EXACTLY how I feel, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Thank you for always being my friend!

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  7. Just a big hug to you! You are so brave to share.

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    1. Lynn, sometimes it's REALLY hard to share. This year was more so than some past years. I'm not sure why. But I do feel that putting it out there helps me work through my feelings quite a bit. Thanks for "listening."

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  8. Jen, I didn't want to read this post as I knew I would be crying. And I was, from beginning to end. My sister passed on Christmas Day and her bday was April 24th. I was dreading the day as the entire week I was crying all the time. :( I haven't been able to scrapbook about her because it's so painful. Even though it's been almost 17 years it still feels like yesterday. Someone once told me grief is like a roller coaster ride that you never get off of. You go up and down at anytime and the ride never stops. :( When I see your layouts about Joey I always think how BRAVE you are to open your heart. Thank you Jen for sharing your beautiful son with all of us. ((HUG)) to you! And I hope Joey have you a sign to let you know he is thinking about and missing you too!

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    1. Cindy, I'm sorry that April is difficult for you as well. And then to have Christmas Day as a difficult day too. I just ache that you are without your sister. You are right about the grief roller coaster. This year was tough. Last year wasn't so bad. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Hugs from me to you!

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  9. Lovely words for a precious young son and brother. I'm sure your loving memories always hold him near!

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  10. Lovely words for a precious young son and brother. I'm sure your loving memories always hold him near!

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  11. It never gets easy. Sending a hug.

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