Sunday, May 27, 2012

Finding the Gem at the End

A few months after Joe was diagnosed, I started writing this blog.  I wanted to use it as a way to express my feelings about his illness. I knew that eventually it would be about my grief over his loss. My hope was that by writing openly and honestly about my feelings,  I would be able to work through my heartache, sadness and grief. My goal would be that someday I could find my way back to Joe again through the happy memories I have of him.  The times before he was struck down by the evil that is cancer.
Although it has been just shy of only six months since Joe passed away, there are times when I feel that he has been gone for such a long time.  He seems so far away.
There are other times, and these times have been happening more frequently lately, I feel he is painfully close.  That’s when my heart and mind become consumed with memories of the last months of his life.  And although these times are heart wrenching, it is then that I can vividly remember what his voice sounded like.  Through the pain I can clearly recall the feel of his hand in mine.  With the grief I am able to see his face in front of me, his eyes sometimes filled with pain, or fright, but always with hope.
Yesterday,  I went back to read my very first post on this blog.  Then, I began to read through each post and I started to notice a pattern.  Out of the 268 posts I have written to date, there are 42 in which I write about my sadness, grief, anger and depression over the loss of my son.
Even though that is a small percentage of my posts, I realized that of those 42 posts, there is only one post, the one I wrote the day after he died, in which I write about the person that was my Joe.
So, I wondered what it would be like if I included a happy memory of Joe at the end of each post.  Would that help me move towards my goal of finding a peaceful place to spend time with my son?
As I thought about doing that,  I realized the relationship that Joe and I had, started to develop into one which was more open, and loving only after he became ill and it continued to grow stronger after his son was born.
I have a memory from years ago of the moment when I shockingly realized that Joe had suddenly transitioned from a little boy into an independence seeking teenager.   Funny,  but I remember thinking to myself that I had lost him then.   You know that period of time when your children  become strangers.  Is it a gradual thing?  It certainly seemed to happen overnight.  
You can no longer come home with the right shirt or pair of jeans.   You have to buy them gift certificates or just give them money for Christmas because what you picked out, "Well come on Mom you think I would wear that?"  And what is that noise coming from behind the closed bedroom door?  Music?  Really?
The gap in our relationship grew even wider after I made a difficult life changing choice for myself and I no longer had daily contact with him.  
Four years later, after he graduated college,  I helped him get a job with the company where I worked.  Even though I could sense that our relationship was still strained, I think it began to mend through the common bond of our work. 
So, where are the precious memories?  Are they locked somewhere deep inside of my aging mind?  Are they now blocked behind the dark iron curtain of chemo and radiation treatments? Have they become blurred by clear visions of tubes, and pumps, morphine and Percocet? 
Perhaps memories are not what will help me on the path to peace.    
Perhaps it will be Domani's giggle or Anne's gifts of sharing her Joe through her beautiful writings.  Maybe it will be stories of their brother that Jen and Jimmy will tell me.  Will it be the way Bella remembers to make a birthday card signed by all of her classmates for her Uncle Joe?
Or is it just knowing how Joe touched so many lives and that he left a little piece of himself with each of them?
And that's why I write this blog.  As I wander and meander down the path of thoughts and feelings, never knowing where it will lead or how I will get there,  I always seem to find a precious gem at the end.  
And after all I do remember the essence of who Joe was.  He was and always will be my Quiet Treasure.  

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.

Here are the catch up entries from Anna's diary:
Fri. May 24, 1929
Home all day. Rained.  At night went to Eastern Star card party given by Francis Chapter.  Celie and I got a prize.  Drove Helen home.
Sat. May 25, 1929
Met Jean and Jewel for lunch.  Jean and I went to the Elks club to a bridge given for benefit of St. John's Orphan Asylum.  I won prize which was a pari of pillow cases.
Sun. May 26, 1929
Recived communion this morning.  My Easter Duty.  Went to Grandma M's for dinner.  Later went to 360 for awhile.  Then home for supper. 
Mon. May 27, 1929
Baby Marion's birthday today.  One year old.  Bought a little seater for her and grandma gave her a doll.  Had a talk with Edythe and she feels quit bad. 


  1. I can feel the emotion and love for Joe in your post. Both things which I think help you on your journey through grief and loss. Love to you, Mom (or as Joe would say 'Ma').

  2. You are going to be so glad that you've done all this writing in the years to come. I read the "Quiet treasure" precious! I know you miss your boy!!!!!!

  3. LifeinContradictionsMay 29, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    As always, your words strike a chord with me.  And because of that, I tagged you in a little blog-tag (as frivolous as that sounds, I mean it as a compliment).  If you are interested, you can find it here:

  4. Thank you for the tag.  I will be interested to check out the 10 others you tagged.  

  5. Thanks Holly :)

  6. Thanks Anne.  We are all on this journey together.  Even though we are each trying to find our way, in our own way, Joe left us with such a strong connection, didn't he?