Thru this world of grief I’ve met countless people who share this terrible pain of loss. Throughout my travels online, I came across a site titled, Project Grief and it caught my attention. I apparently caught the authors attention as well, her name is Danica Thurman. She endured loss at a very young age when her Father suddenly passed away and found solace thru art. She has an incredible story, link to Danica’s blog is above, as well as below.
Danica was working on a blog focused on weddings and grief. She came across my Instagram page @grieving_joes_life and seen my post about my daughters wedding and a picture of Joe’s Remembrance Table. She graciously reached out and asked permission to share Joe’s table and thoughts from the bride (my daughter Allie) and those who created such a beautiful Remembrance of our son. I was ecstatic and welcomed her invitation with open arms.
She posted the article today on her blog. I am overwhelmed with joy and can actually say today has been the most joyful moment in life, I don’t have too many of those anymore (with the exception of our daughter’s wedding a couple of months ago). After experiencing the sudden loss of our only son, grief tends to cloud most days.
Thank you Danica Thurman (Project Grief) for the most beautiful gift, helping me to share the “Life of Joe” with the world. This article has given my soul much needed nourishment. My ♥️heart can breathe a little better today, even if it’s for a brief moment …I’ll take it!
Today I did some refreshing cleanup in Joe’s room. I vacuumed the carpet, dusted his furniture, wiped the dust off his shoes and clothes in his closet, and I put away his sunglasses that were on his desk. I don’t know why but I guess I got tired of them getting touched. So, I put each pair inside an eyeglass case and placed them in his nightstand drawer. Now their “safe” thats what comes to my mind, they’re in a safe place now. Maybe I’m too overbearing with Joe’s personal things, oh well.
As I vacuumed behind his desk, I noticed a long white piece of paper with tiny printed words on it and a black business card folded in half. The name on the card was Miguel (Joe’s barber). Also, a tiny piece of green paper maybe from a candy wrapper, I’m not sure? I held these 3 items that were on his bedroom floor, in a dusty corner of his bedroom, as if I had been given these beautiful shiny pieces of gold. I sat down on his desk chair and I stared at these little things, wondering how they got to be there behind his desk. I put the business card in his nightstand drawer. Then, as I started to throw away the white tag and green paper I stopped myself, I couldn’t do it! I could not throw those two pieces of things that were in his bedroom in the trash. I put them in a plastic snack bag and placed them carefully inside his nightstand drawer. Those three things I held in my hand with intense love and I kept each one as if Joe was going to need them when he came home. Although my reality is I KNOW he isn’t, somewhere deep in the back of my mind I’m thinking “maybe, just maybe, he might.”
I started to think backwards. Asking myself, which haircut day did he get Miguel’s business card? Or, where did the tiny green piece of paper come from? What about the tag? Which shirt and when did he buy it? He hated those tags on the back and he removed it every time. He has so many shirts in every color! Goodness, why does it matter which shirt?
And, why does our brain start to literally pick apart and dissect every tiny piece of anything we find that belonged to our child who is no longer breathing the same air as us? Does our brain go into protection mode when we lose a child? How is it so many of us have the ability to survive such an enormous gut-wrenching tragedy? And, what is it about every tiny piece of “anything” we hold on to it? When all it’s going to do is remind us that our child is gone? There we are, just when the tiny bit of sunlight begins to find its way through the billions of cracks that come attached to grief, we go right back into that place of darkness and pain. Who knows the why’s or what’s? I’m no expert, but I do know this; I’d rather suffer in pain on my floor weeping talking about my son Joseph versus to not talk about him at all because it hurts too much.
SAY THEIR NAME! His names deserves to be spoken. His name is Joseph Anthony Suarez, and He is my Son.
Today, what started as a very simple “refresh” of Joe’s bedroom was spiraling into that deep, deep, deep water. Once your mind goes to that deep dark place and the dissecting begins, everything turns to black. I started to go there with those three very small pieces of anything, I was headed down as deep as I possibly could, but I caught myself and BOOM! I stopped. I actually stopped thinking so dam hard for once. It was a huge milestone today. I’m kinda proud of myself, I did alright. Unfortunately, tomorrow could look entirely different. I call it “GRIEF IN PIECES.”
Pieces of Joe’s life constantly land in front of me. And, it’s the tiniest of things I find that mean everything to me. I sprayed his cologne on my arm, that was 4 hours ago, but I can still smell it as if he just walked into my room to tell me about his day. So, I’ll lay here and visualize Joe talking in his loud voice, we are laughing because he is the most amazing storyteller, and when he’s done he kisses my forehead and tells me, “Momma, I Love You” And right back I kiss his cheek, “Son, I Love You So Much More!” I feel good now.
Today is July 9, 2019, it’s my birthday. Year 2 without you here on this day. You were always so excited to be the first one to tell me Happy Birthday Momma. I can still hear your raspy loud voice. Then bragging to your sisters how you were the first to tell me, I literally can hear the three of you arguing about it. Makes me smile. It’ll never be the same again, nothing in life is the same because you’re not here Joseph. Tonight, my birthday gift from you is just being here in your room, taking all of you into my soul. It’s what makes me feel good, I can feel your presence as I’m surrounded by all your things. If I had to choose one gift that God would grant me for the rest of my life, it would be You coming home back in my arms. Holding me tight with your arms, kissing my forehead telling me, I Love You Ma! I Love You so much!
Im in your room, staring at everything that surrounds me. I’m staring at all your things; your clothes, your hats on the wall, your shoes, your skateboard, your desk and chair, your cologne, your dresser with shoe boxes on top, it’s all here …as if you’re coming back. Sometimes, I think in the deep back of my mind I tell myself you’re eventually coming home. Even though in my reality I know you’re not. I guess my brain still cannot fully process what has happened. I don’t know if it ever will my Son.
I see the picture of me you taped to the side of your nightstand, it’s by your bed. I’m thinking back trying to determine when you did that? You never told me, I wish you would have told me. At this moment, my heart feels warm thinking how you looked at your Mom every night before going to sleep and when you woke up. I wish I would have known, but it’s too late to ask you now.
I remember the night you were hammering nails on the walls in your room, it was late and I came downstairs to see what you were doing. I knocked on your door, you opened it and looked surprised I was still awake. I looked behind you and noticed your walls, you said to me, “I’m sorry Ma, I didn’t mean to wake you.” Those two words “I’m sorry” could win me over every time, “I’m sorry” was worth a million bucks! I’m looking at your footprints on the wall behind me, lol your dirty footprints! I remember your feet touching the wall as you would lay backwards on your bed and your feet up against the wall. It was simply a comfortable spot for you, now I stare at your wall and close my eyes trying to think back to those days and my heart starts to beat a little bit faster. That’s my trigger to stop thinking too hard, when my heart feels panic..it’s like my brain is protecting me, it’s telling me to stop. That’s about as far as I can go.
I close my eyes and remember when you would sit in here, your bedroom was your very own domain. I never really spent much time in here because you would stop me at the door. Hours and hours you would just be in here with your own thoughts, listening to your music or watching movies on your Mac. Never did I imagine that one day you wouldn’t be here, and now I’m in your room staring at everything wondering what went thru your head? Memories and things are all I have left of you, because you’re gone. And, I know you’re never coming back.
Each day without you seems like eternity. Your absence is heavy, always. And, it still continues to shatter my heart. Some days I feel as if all the air has been sucked out of my body and i can barely breathe. Other days, I laugh thinking of all the stories you would tell me that typically took forever for you to hit the punchline, but I listened attentively and the end was always your best because everything you did or said was your best. It was either really funny or it was surprising, or just downright shocking. It’s who you are, you made everything better.
You left too soon my Son, way too soon. We talked about a plan, I don’t understand what happened. I have so many questions that I’ll never have an answer. This is still too much to take in most of the time and I still can’t believe I’m never going to hear your voice again. It’s only been 1 year, how do I live the next 5, 10, or 15 without you? Sometimes, this is just too hard. Every day I wake up thinking of you and I hate the nighttime, it’s the worst. I try to stay busy, but you’re always there in my head. This emotional rollercoaster is very exhausting to the human mind, but I’m trying son, I promise you I’ll keep trying. I know my heart is still beating, which tells me you’re still shining bright through me. Please continue to find ways to communicate with me so I can feel your air.
We will forever be a team♥️My Love is Forever, Your Momma
As the angelversary day fast approaches, the first year of Joe’s passing (May 28, 2019), my mind was made up and I did not want to do any kind of memorial to remember that day of so much sorrow, shock, numbness, and devastation to myself and my family, as well as his friends. It’s still so painful for all of us. But, I think God had another plan. He sent me an idea to have a “virtual candlelight ceremony” across the country. So, that’s what I’m going to do. More details to follow, but please save the date below.
To my new friends who follow my blog, I thank you for your comments, your support, even the love you give to me…someone you’ve never met until now. I am still writing my “Year of Firsts” almost close to being done. I love this community in WordPress, it’s been extremely healing for me. My heart and soul thanks you!
My goal is to reach as many people across all time zones. People he knew or people he didn’t know. I want the entire country to light a candle for Joe. He is our son, he is our brother, he is our grandson, he is our godson, he is our nephew, he is our cousin, he is our best friend, he is “Our Joe🙏🏻, and now he is Our Angelchild.” I made a promise that I will continue to reach out and share his story, because he deserves the world…still. My promise will continue until my final breath on this earth.
My heart and soul continues to try and heal in this life. But, Joe’s legacy will live forever. Amen🙏🏻
People ask me what are we planning to do for Joe’s one-year? It’s fast approaching on May 28, 2018 and every time I think of that question, I feel sick to my stomach. I begin to sweat, I feel lightheaded, it takes everything in me to breathe, and my body starts to shiver. I’m not much in a celebratory mood these days and I’m definitely not thinking how we should honor his life on the day he left this world. Yet, I don’t want to disrespect his memory. What am I suppose to do? Is there a book somewhere I can read that helps me understand not only this whole grief journey, but on top of that I’m suppose to have some kind of (what?) on the anniversary of this indescribable loss? I’m on the fence here, can someone please point me in the right direction because I’m seriously about to jump at any moment. My son, he is my heartbeat. I’m exhausted in pain. When will my heart begin to heal, please tell me. How do I continue to navigate this life without my son. I’m absolutely lost.
Dear Mommy, today is March 25, 2019, you’ve been in heaven 11 years. Last year at this time, Allie, Joe, Ella & myself spent time at your gravesite, it was beautiful. But, this year is different Mom. I can’t do my normal anniversary day with you today, I’m so sorry, I hope you can forgive me.
Life has changed, but you probably already know that and most likely seen it coming long before me. Joseph, he’s gone before me Mom. My only son, your grandson, but I’m guessing he is probably right beside you saying he didn’t leave on purpose, it was an accident. Again, you probably knew that though, this hurts every bone in my body and even more so today. I’m angry. I’m angry that you have Joe with you now. I know it’s very selfish of me, please forgive me. But, my truth is I want Joseph here next to me and to be honest Mom, I don’t want to go to the cemetery today. I don’t want to take you flowers and sit next to your headstone and talk to you about my life. Because my life took a left turn and went straight into this unknown place where sadness takes over the soul. It’s dark, ugly, and miserable, I hate it.
How did you do it? How did you keep going after losing Daddy, then Sis? How?! I wish you could tell me what to do. I try every day but it’s not enough. The worst part is I know I should be happy that Joe is in a beautiful place with you and God, versus the other. I should be thankful, but I’m too selfish I guess. I want him with me, he should be here with his sisters, his niece Ella, his dad, family and friends, but he’s not. He is with you. God forgive me, please. I’m so sorry. Everything feels so much heavier today. My entire body aches like I’ve been hit by a train. I can’t move my legs, my chest hurts when I breathe, my eyes are swollen from tears, and my heart is broken. Maybe this is my punishment for being so selfish.
I have chosen to stay in my pajamas today, under my blankets, binging on Netflix. I’m going to cry if I want to, laugh if something funny comes on the television, munch on my snacks, cry again, and wait for the night to come so I can close my eyes until tomorrow. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, it’s not here yet. I will cross that bridge when I get there. I hope you know that I love you and I miss you very much. But, to not have you or my son in this living life crushes my soul 100 times harder at this moment. I just can’t do it today, I hope you’re not too disappointed in me. I’m so sorry. I’m just a hot mess today. I love you Mommy, kiss my son for me (I miss him so much) and please help give me strength.