I woke up this morning (6/30/2020) at 4:00 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. My mind began racing. I picked up my phone and looked at the date, 764 days. It’s been 764 days of life without our Son, Joseph. Feels like 7 hrs. 64 minutes, or 7 minutes-64 seconds, what it doesn’t feel like is 764 days. My mind keeps racing, I cannot seem to calm it, so I begin to read bible verses and I pray. Suddenly, I’m feeling relaxed. Unfortunately, time doesn’t slow down and it never will. God, I wish you could give me a moment to catch my breath. But, it doesn’t work that way. Not today. So I pray.
After 764 days, I still cry before I go to sleep. It’s become my new nighttime normal. I hold on to my tears most of the day, I don’t want to worry those I love most. So, I save them and every night they flow slowly down my face, alone with my own thoughts at the end of each day. Tears also flow as I think of all the beautiful blessings in life; my husband of 35 years, my 27 years with Incredible son, Joseph (not long enough), my beautiful Daughters who are healthy and thriving and make me so proud, my beautiful Granddaughter who gives us all so much joy, my soon to arrive beautiful baby Grandson…we can’t wait to see him, my amazing family, my lifers, my Joe’s friends and my new friends who walk this journey of grief with me. My tears are bittersweet, but I am thankful.
There is a time to cry and a time to laugh. There is a time to be sad and a time to dance. There is a time to throw away stones and a time to gather them. There is a time to hug and a time not to hug.”
Ecclesiastes 3:4-5 NCV
After 764 days, my heart still hurts, it will hurt forever until my last breath. My soul has a missing piece and my body cannot move sometimes, but life keeps going and I will keep trying. I will always keep trying. I am thankful.
After 764 days, I continue to leave Joe’s room the same. The hats on his wall, his desk, his dirty clothes in his hamper, his dresser with his clothes in each drawer, his nightstand with my picture he placed so carefully on the side so he could look at me. What was he thinking when he stared at my picture? I tell myself he was thinking, “Mehh, I love you so much. Goodnight Mehh.” I am thankful.
After 764 days, I can still smell his scent every time I walk into his bedroom. It’s not as strong, and I know it’s fading but I can still feel his scent of funkiness! It is the best funkiness of air. His dirty footprints remain on his walls where he would put his feet, I treasure those dirty wall prints and they will remain there as long as we are here. Every night I take his aftershave lotion and I pour a dab on my hands so I can smell his favorite scent. Then I close his bedroom door to savor it until the next morning. I am thankful.
After 764 days, we still say Joe’s name. Allie, Julie, Izzy and I will find ourselves all together in his room or in the living room or eating out for lunch and every time it feels like Joe is right there with us. We talk about moments that make us laugh, make us cry, and make us laugh again and again. It’s as if we can literally feel his presence in the room with us. It feels good when we are all together, because Joe’s there too. I seriously feel his spirit laughing with us (or at us!). I am thankful.
After 764 days, I have slowly found my way back to my faith. The anger at God has subsided and I discovered an extremely critical part of grieving…I cannot do this journey alone, it’s absolutely impossible without God. God has placed so many people in my path that help me, pray for me and my family, it’s an incredible feeling to be surrounded by so much love. I am thankful.
“The LORD is your protection; you have made God Most High your place of safety. Nothing bad will happen to you; no disaster will come to your home. He has put his angels in charge of you to watch over you wherever you go. They will catch you in their hands so that you will not hit your foot on a rock. You will walk on lions and cobras; you will step on strong lions and snakes. The LORD says, “Whoever loves me, I will save. I will protect those who know me. They will call to me, and I will answer them. I will be with them in trouble; I will rescue them and honor them. I will give them a long, full life, and they will see how I can save.””
After 764 days, I feel ready to share Joe with everyone who loves him. I never thought I would be able to do this, but, I had a moment one day and I acted on it. My heart strongly feels like this one spot by the Grace of God “suddenly” became available at the Fountain of Chimes was actually chosen by Joe. I just have a feeling and now I’m going to make his wish come true. Took me a while to get it, but I believe our bond continues and I heard him loud and clear. It’s his place, his Fountain of Chimes. I am thankful.
After 764 days, Joe’s close circle of friends still remain connected to me. I know it’s hard for them, because they miss him too. He touched so many lives. I love when I get a text or phone call or an “I love you Momma Suarez” it’s a beautiful feeling! They are still here, by my side, even from a distance. I am thankful.
After 764 days, I’ve learned that life really is fragile. Every moment we share with those we love is truly a blessing. I take nothing for granted and I continue to keep trying to find my way thru this uninvited journey of grief. Doing what I absolutely know without a doubt, its what Joe would want me (us) to do. His love and joy lives in all of us. I am thankful.
After 764 days, I think healing is here, just a little bit. I can honestly say, if I move forward we all move forward, together. The best part is Joe moves forward with us too! I am thankful.