Sunday, February 15, 2009

How We Are Doing Now

We got back to Maui on Monday. It seems all green and blue technicolor after being in wintry gray Virginia for the past 10 weeks. Despite the gloomy skies of the east coast, the warmth of our family circle got us through our first Christmas without Joey and into a new year. We needed each other like a chilled person needs to be wrapped in a thick blanket. We didn't do much, but were comforted by the little things: meals together, our grandchildren's "performances", walks in the woods, and the silly antics of the three dogs, Rommel, Maggie and MJ.

Being back on Maui is like returning to an empty house. It's beautiful but lonely for us. Not that our Maui friends don't care, because they do. The problem is simply that we have so many memories here and painful reminders of a life that will never be again. The waves he surfed, the porch he stored his board on, the lanai we ate breakfast on, the bed he slept in....we see Joey everywhere, but he's not here, and it aches all the time.

The relentless ache of grief can't be easily soothed. Nothing makes it go away completely. It's always there now, like a burdensome relative who's moved into the house to stay. A few things quiet it momentarily and we give ourselves breaks with those things as much as we can. Anything funny is really helpful, so I've gotten into the habit of watching old episodes of funny shows on my dvd player, just so I won't sink into sadness. Who knew Seinfeld and the Office would be such great therapy?

We still don't do much. I come up with all kinds of ideas of things I could do or should do, and before losing Joey, WOULD do, but now I don't follow thru on many of them. No energy for anything extra. I hope all the time that people will understand when I don't call, don't show up, don't go out, don't move off the couch, don't laugh, and don't want to talk about it. Sometimes it is necessary to keep myself in a suspended state of animation, then I don't feel and don't have to think about what I lost. I just keep the pain at bay for a little while.

What we lost? Too much to say, but a short list reads like this: a best friend to each of us, tall hugs from a man (not my husband) who adored me, a tower of strength, a fount of love, a scrabble partner, a comedian, an interested and inquisitive conversationalist, an inspiring motivator, an adventurer, a cool and informed cultural guide, a future daughter-in-law and grandchildren, someone who would laugh at adversity, and smile at everyone else. He made our world safer, kinder and funnier. Now we all have to do life without his wisdom and humor to soften the blows and inspire us up and over the walls.

Can we do it? Yes, we always knew from the first night that we could do it. We knew God would give us the strength to bear our loss and that there was ultimate hope. We just didn't want to have to do it. And it hurts more than we ever imagined that first night, when denial protected us and we didn't yet know what it meant to not have Joey in our world.

So the next obvious step is to move back to Virginia and be with our warm blanket all the time. Home IS where the heart is. We are trying to buy a 7-acre farm in Virginia. Don't ask us why, we really don't know the answer. Probably something having to do with being a fun place for our grandchildren. It just fits us right now for some inexplicable reason. So we will be saying a sad goodbye to Maui and the people we have loved and suffered with, and in April, with God's help, we will be moving on to grayer pastures.

In closing, I would like to share this verse from Psalm 23 that the Lord reminded me of when we found the farm:

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in GREEN PASTURES.
He leads me beside STILL WATERS.
He restores my soul.

I'm trusting that this place of green pastures and still waters will help to restore our souls.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We love and appreciate you all.

Your faithful friends,
Joe and Karen

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Aunt Viv's Dream of Joey

* this was taken from Autie Viv's post on Remembering Joey at Facebook:

I had a dream about Joey a week ago Saturday. My son Jeff and I were working on my mother's 1893 house which we are putting up for sale...empty - and for those of you who know me....some not so fun times and thoughts from this house. '

Jeff and I decided to sleep on aero beds in the house that night and use the old air conditioning unit in the window (we both can't sleep without fans) ....passed on from mother to daughter to son...anyway.

I woke up in the middle of the night and heard this whispering voices - I asked my son if he heard them, but he was half asleep and said no...I heard them again and started to get scared...demons in the house! I prayed that over the house and myself and Jeff and in the name of Jesus prayed for them to be gone and threw the covers over my head!!! I fell asleep.

All of a sudden - Joey came rushing in the front door telling me what a great job I was doing on Grandma's great a house it safe a house it was. He said, "Let's go and look at all the rooms together"...he was laughing and running around like a little elf - although he was probably 24-25, but laughed like a young boy. He ran into each one of the rooms - just out of my reach as I asked him to wait for me....he just laughed and turned to come on follow me, this is great! He reached the stairs and turned around and smiled - "this is a great house". So we went through each one of the rooms in the house and then he just walked through the back door upstairs and walked away. I woke up and was thinking WOW - I feel so safe and comforted. Joey loved his grandma and her big old house and he knew that it was a safe place to be...and he wanted me to know that too.