May 31, 2019
REMEMBERING AND CELEBRATING JOEY’S LIFE
I recently shared a beautiful poem on my facebook page about remembering the life of your loved one who has died. Rather than share the entire poem, I’d like to share just one line which really tugged at my heart, ” I talk about him, because he deserves to be remembered.”
When your loved one has passed, their death does not wipe out their existence. Their physical body is gone, and their soul has moved on, but the memories they made will continue in the lives of their loved ones forever. In the beginning, it may be difficult to talk about them. But as time passes, They want to talk about them. They want to share their stories with their family and friends. They want to laugh and know that their loved one’s life did affect the lives of others in a positive way.
So now three stories, which I hope helps people to understand why you should acknowledge someone’s death, because in doing so, you are also acknowledging that they lived.
STORY #1 – I remember a trip to one of our local groceries soon after Joey died. As I was pushing my cart up an aisle, an acquaintance probably through my sons’ sports, came around the corner and started towards me. As soon as she saw me, she quickly turned around and actually ran in the other direction. At the time it hurt! But now I can kind of understand it. They probably didn’t know what to say. Acknowledging my son’s death probably made them uncomfortable. They didn’t realize how their reaction to seeing me affected me.
So my advice to everyone is this. If you know someone whose loved one has died, acknowledge that. Tell them, sorry for your loss. Those thirty uncomfortable seconds you will experience, may be the best thirty seconds of their day.
STORY #2 – My family started going to a local doctor when Joey was about ten. So he saw that doctor on a regular basis for ten years before he died. After his death, that doctor never acknowledged Joey’s death to me, my husband John or my younger son Jeremy. It bothered me of course. But it really bothered my husband a lot, to the point he thought about finding another doctor. We also had recommended him to other family members who also started seeing him. Long story short, we managed to get past that and still see him today. But every time I do, that still bothers me! Some day, if I’m in the right mood, I might just ask him “why ?” Hopefully it’s because he didn’t know what to say.
STORY #3 – It’s so nice to share our memories and stories of Joey with family and friends. By doing so, I know my son affected their lives in a positive way, and will always be a part of them. But now and then, you run into someone you don’t even know, and find out how much Joey affected their life.
Probably about a year ago, we needed to get a new part for one of our appliances at one of the company’s local offices. It was a Saturday, so I went with my husband for the ride. It was his experience, but I’ll retell it the best I can.
After his approximately fifteen minute visit in the office, he came back into our car all choked up. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me this story. As soon as the young woman who waited on my husband saw our last name, she asked him if he knew Joey. When John told her Joey was his son, she shared how important Joey was in her life. She said she and Joey were great friends. They always had a good time together. He made her laugh and would always dance with her. Then she confided to John that like Joey, she too suffered with addiction. After Joey died, she struggled but would always reach out to him to keep her strong. She even would visit his grave and talk to him. She said during her toughest times, reaching out to Joey would help her to stay strong on her road to recovery. The great news was, she dealt with her addiction and was living a good life with her children. Joey will always have a special place in her heart. She was so happy to meet John and to tell him how much Joey meant to her!