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Joe’s Story

Joe's story is too long to fit here so you can read it in the journal! 



Hello everyone, I have created this website to try to keep everyone informed of Joe's progress towards recovery. Please keep the questions to a minimum. I will post information as I receive it and do my best to keep everyone informed. Please keep Joe and our family in your hearts and prayers during this difficult time. ThanksJoseph’s story actually starts with his dad. In unusual circumstances Dan found out in May that he had a very bad mitral valve. His doctor gave him a 40 -60% chance for a repair so we were expecting it had to be replaced instead. We had to make a decision about biological or mechanical valve. So we went into surgery in June prepared. Surgery, about 4 or 5 hours tops. Dan was in and out of the hospital in four days. Piece of cake! At that time we also found out that this faulty valve could be caused by genetics and we were advised to get our children checked out. We were in the process of making appointments at the Alaska Heart Institutes “Healthy Heart Check-up”. Before we could get these lined up Joseph’s journey began!

Latest Journal Update

The Cloak

Today is July 22, 2013. It has been one full year since we last had a "normal" day. Our lives changed forever on July 23, 2012- the last day that Joseph was truly with us in mind body and spirit. What I wouldn't do to go back to July 22. 

Sister lying face to face in bed with brother their noses nearly touching as they discussed the next days event. She trying to be positive and upbeat, repeating again and again that everything would be okay, HE would be okay. She was trying to allay his fears as much as her own. He was so apprehensive and nervous, why didn't we just cancel the operation then and there. I want, no, I need to think its because we were so afraid of losing him. Oh what cruel tricks the universe can play on us, why? Why our beloved Joe?

Our new normal is helping us all cope but we just can't seem to let go of our old normal. Memories, feelings,treasured moments fall over us cloaking us completely in unending and unrelenting sadness. Some days it's hard to shrug off this cloak of darkness. Other days we can hurl it aside like the pile of garbage it really is. Plain and simple life goes on. Personally, I want the entire world to stop and cry with me. How can it possibly continue without Joe. How can we live in this moment without forgetting joe in the last? I'm not sure either, but we do. By the love of God I guess. Each and every day brings old memories while creating new ones. I have no other choice but to accept both and I do so, willingly. Otherwise, that cloak will cover me so completely that I will never be able to throw it off. My family needs me to be the "crazy red-headed lady" that I've always been and Joseph understands- I know he does. He knows that I can not, will not, ever forget him, he won't be left behind while I move forward. Never

I haven't written in a very long time. Not because there hasn't been anything to write about. As joe would say, oh contrare mon frere"! So much has happened that I'm not sure where to even begin. The problem is that I can only write from my heart, when it is full and nearly over flowing with feelings. Unfortunately, it has been empty, I have been empty. That cloak was holding me prisoner, no that's not true, I wasn't a prisoner, I was there because I wanted to be, needed to be. But I've since discovered that living in both "moments" is not only acceptable it's desirable to both me and joe and especially my family. S I'll  write as the spirit fills me. Live in Love and Peace. Joe would ask for nothing less., would he.

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Jeannie O'Donnell
By Jeannie O'Donnell
Thinking tonight of Joe and his beautiful family..<3 love, Jeannie from The Oxford in Spokane.. Though now I've experienced a loss of my own.. I reside mostly in Laguna Beach, CA <3