Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Remember Joey

Dear Precious Family and Friends,

Thank you for everything. That seems so inadequate a way to express our profound gratitude for the outpouring of love, support, prayers, comfort, scripture, cards, meals, money, hugs, and labor on our behalves. Thank you for traveling to and sitting through our memorial services and telling us afterwards that you felt you knew who Joey was. Thank you for coming to the beach and paddling out and sitting in the ocean with us and saying goodbye. All of these heartfelt gifts have meant everything to us, and they share the burden of our loss and give us strength to continue on. Please know that every effort on your parts is cherished by our whole family and that you have carried us.

With all the formalities over, we are pulling into our family and mourning Joey deeply. Our hearts are so full of loss and grief and tears. Death is a cold, cruel and terrible foe and we finally really understand why Jesus had to conquer death. We love Jesus our Mighty Warrior who battled Death for all of us, and won the victory. God never intended us to be parted from those we love and eternity will be a huge healing of the aching wound that we all feel on this earth. In the meantime we all live with loss, sorrow and grief, and we are thankful for Our Man of Sorrows, Acquainted with Grief. He understands our suffering. He is our Hero.

The long future ahead of us without Joey is hard to bear. That is going to be the challenge. The everydayness of him being gone is too empty...missing his voice, his ideas, his comfort, his humor and his touch. We all adored him. Our whole family and Rachel and his closest friends stare at a great big wide chasm of emptiness without him. His big personality took up a big space in the room. He was the source of so much of our laughter, the inspiration for our dreams, the confidence for our enterprises, the motivation for our adventures, and the pleasure in our ordinary moments. He was truthful with each of us, and yet so gentle and kind with our weaknesses. He was good enough to be admirable, and human enough to be comfortable. He was wise and smart and aware. He poured out so much love and it has multiplied in our hearts in losing him.

One thing that helps right now is to talk about our feelings, about him, to see his pictures, and to hear others tell their stories about him---even little ones. Since we don't have an open mic available, this blogspot will have to be our forum. If you don't know how to use the blog comment site, email it to rememberjoey@gmail.com and we will put it in. If you'd rather just e-mail but not get it posted in the comment section, just e-mail and let us know.

We will continue to write our feelings because it helps our grief process. I hope you will check in on us this way and keep in touch with us in the difficult year to come.

Much love to each and everyone of you who have walked with us,
The Johnson Ohana


Anonymous said...

thank you Joe and Karen and all the Johnson ohana for the privilege of sharing in your burden. we continue to pray for you and will be here walking with you. we love you.
pete carrie nichols and girls

Mackenzie said...

i was walking home from a coffee shop today here in our our new town - el segundo - and i saw Gunther's "twin" (a dark grey VW Vanagon) parked across the street. it made me think of Joe and the memories i have of seeing him drive his beloved beater of a van that took him and rachel all over the continent.

just a little something i thought i'd share - it helps me to talk about how much i miss joe too. there is indeed a gaping hole left in our lives.

love you,

ps-thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures from the paddle out and the maui memorial service. wish we could have been there.

lee & Renee said...

we are here...sharing, aching and praying with and for you.
You are an amazing family and although we did not have the good fortune of meeting Joey we do feel we met him Sunday and know we missed out knowing someone very special and so loved by all those that knew him. Your granddaughter's sharing was precious!
With big hugs to each of you with love,
Lee and Renee

michael, ciara & mikaela said...

We are here, walking beside you, and although we cannot truly understand, we are grieving WITH you, praying FOR you, and want to say We Love you, TO you!
~ciara, michael and mikaela

Trish Garcia said...

I thought that I might get through one day without crying, however, I can't help but cry with you. I think about how I would feel if it were one of mine and I feel the tiniest slice of what you must feel and I am overwhelmed with grief. It will be a very difficult year, but we are here for you--to help as much as we can and however we can.

From my 'Mother's Heart',


Valeria said...

Dear Keren and Joe,
That was the most BEAUTIFUL MEMORIAL anybody could ever had!
You guys not only did a such awesome job raising your son but you also did an incredable job returning him to Our Lord Jesus!
May God continue to comfort you both.
You are in our prayers!
Love always,
Valeria Strand

kehaulani said...

I was horrified. I missed five overcrowded flights at LAX due to my low-priority standby pass and it didn't seem like I would make it to my Midwest destination. There I was. At 2 a.m. Frantically calling Rachel. Then Joe. Then Rachel. And then Joe again.

When I got a hold of one of them, Joe arranged a cab for me to Rachel's place. He gave the driver directions. I had no cash; he paid the $40 tab. And he called the cab for my 6 a.m. departure back to LAX. I'm pretty sure he paid that fare, too.

All I could do was thank him with my words that night in 2006. I had no money on me (until later when I sent him a check that he didn't cash).

Joe took such good care of everyone in need. His caretaker's approach always made me feel safe with Rachel and Joe. His life (and everything I learned at the memorial) is something that inspires me to seek out those in need and offer tangible love, the kind that feeds or helps or walks alongside or listens.

Joe's life is a rad, rad portrayal of that agape. Imagine that: Agape even at 2 a.m.:)


Anonymous said...

Joey and Jaime came to visit us one evening with Jaime's two young baby daughters. I believe it was JJ's first year at USC. We had a great visit, it was getting late and the kids were very tired and crying, so we packed them in their car and sent them on their way.

They stopped to get Starbucks and realized they had left Jaime's wallet at our house - so they called and returned. I ran out to give them the wallet and Joey stepped out of the car to get it.

The windows were steamed up from the girls crying, you could hear them through the closed doors. As Joey was opening the door and getting into the car he turned to me and said, "Aunt Viv - this is by far the best form of birth control I have ever encountered." We all had a great laugh and they went on their way.

Joey had such great timing for funny things to say. I loved being in the background with him and having the "side bar" comments - they were always silly and fun.

I am grateful for everyone of those special moments with Joey.

Love you JJ - Aunt Viv

Debbie said...

Indeed....what a warm, feel-good, loving, honoring, and memorable tribute to Joey. Like others, though I didn't know Joey I felt like I did after the service was over.

You all did a fantastic job in raising him!

You're in my prayers,

lorensaved77 said...

Dear Joe and Karen
Although I only had the honor of meeting Joey one time, on Mother's Day this year. I felt that I truely got to know him On Sunday, by everyone's heart felt stories and such wonderful memories of him,and great pictures...
What a special man!
I am so sorry we were not there on the beach Monday morning, but I prayed for you all, as knowing it would be a difficult experiance, The pictures capture it all so beautifully.
Thank you for opening up and sharing your feelings and needs so we can better help you get thru this difficult time.
We love you guys sooo much!
This acheing in my heart and the tears that flow out of nowhere are just a reminder of how fragile we are,and so good to have friends to help us get thru,sharing in the loss.
Prayers will continue to flow daily for you all...I Promise!
Love and Many blessing today and always,
Nancy and Loren Family

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe and Karen, We are in Washington DC but we are still thinking of you and praying for you. Rocky, Doreen, Annie, David, Tommy and Aunt Anna.

Lee & Renee said...

Remembering and loving you
Lee & Renee

Anonymous said...

Joe, Karen, and family....
I too like so many others felt like I totally knew Joey after the service sunday. I hadn't seen Joey in probably 10 years...but because he is your child I KNEW he would be absolutely amazing!! Anything coming from Joe and Karen is always amazing and wonderful and so full of love!!! We continue to cry with you and keep you all in our prayers daily, praying for strength, comfort, and joy thru the rain. Love you...love you....love you a ton, Lori (and Wes)

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe and Karen,

I am in awe of the stories about Joey that I have heard over the past several days. One thing that stands out above all is how he made people feel so loved and I include myself. I had actually said to myself, 'wait...I thought I was his best friend." I knew that I wasn't, but that's how he made me feel. He was always so gracious.

I remember playing music together and asking him, "how does that go again?" Always patient, never condescending, he would show me the part again; a lot of times showing me a better or easier way to play it, without ever making me feel inadequate or 'less than'.

As I’ve learned how talented, intelligent, and gifted he was, I think how egotistical or inflated he could have been and almost justifiably so; he was that gifted. But he wasn't, far from it. Instead, he was one of the most kind and humble persons that so many of us have ever known or met - another testimonial to his godly character and wonderful parents : )

The smile on his face, the look in his eyes, the big, sincere hug that he gave me that last Sunday at church and the tangible love that I felt from him is something that I will never forget for as long as I live.

I can't wait to see him again when I see him in glory.

I’m praying for you every day. May God’s grace be with you continuously.

Steve Mac

Anonymous said...

Joey was at Baldwin High School when Bradley and Joey came over to our house to pick up some items for the Hope Chapel rummage sale. Bradley joked, "Ger, you're just giving us junk." But Joey said, "No this stuff is great!" Although Bradley was probably right, Joey made me feel like I was making a worthwhile donation. A few years later when he was back from college, Joey & I were both one of the boys in "Joe & the boys" oldies group. This proved to be the last time I spoke to Joey. His last words to me were,
"Let's rock!".