Joel’s Story

Site created on April 25, 2020

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. This page begins in the second stage of Joel's story, when he was admitted to the ICU of Memorial Sloan Kettering.  We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Newest Update

Journal entry by C Rhys

Furl. Unfurl.

It has been a rather long and windy/cold early spring here. Everything seemed furled, closed tight against the Spring that wouldn’t arrive. But one day, warmth seemed promising.

I ventured out. Up some steps, left to say hello to the brave tulips, further on to cheer the grape hyacinths and blossoming trees.  I looked down and saw a muddle of tiny brown husks clinging to one another – really, clumping sadly, if truth be told.  Thrust off the sidewalk onto the street. Abandoned, useless. Ah well, I thought so it goes. Discarded.

Then, a gift of presence – the light was suddenly perfect and the air had a bit of warmth. The breeze that played in the empty spaces had cool but also warm air that made me lift my hands to feel the strains more keenly… and then… a rush of petals from a blossoming tree.

But really much more than a rush - a wave - a gift.  A triumph of spring letting-go-ness. Petals everywhere – in my hair, on my face, clothing, in a thick and wide circumference around the little patch of no-blossoms where I had blocked their landing. But truly, there were plenty to go around - this was a generous gesture. I admit it - I exclaimed, out loud.

Well, hmmm… Quite. Indeed. Just so.

It was a message that I needed to experience viscerally; a display of Courage equal to the painful Gone-ness of dear beloveds.  I gazed, astonished at the blossoms covering the ground.  I caught sight of the muddle of brown husks - probably just as victoriously thrown off – and watched the two forms mingle. Each in their own way cast off.

Cast off… A throwing away of unworthy things, that is sad. Or “cast off” - the command to unhook, to release the line holding the craft at bay, holding back the journey to be taken. I found a new respect for my beautiful cast-offs, my friends that had been “let go.”  And looking up once again (trying my best not to sob for all the beauty of it all), another gift… the smallest sliver of infant green on something destined to be a leaf. Someday, to be able to soak up the sun and shield us from harsh light. Dappling our existence, softening, not by untruths, but by the truest of truths. Showing themselves to me, saying we grow. We look forward to it. Don’t be sad. We too will enjoy our letting-go-ness when the time comes.

So my dear friends if you are having your hearts wrenched by your own losses, other’s losses, the world’s losses, or the painful/beautiful moving on that nature pursues, take heart. We are in the wondrous cycle of the Universe; that is the human condition, and maybe that is why we come to stay in this earth arena.

Now whenever my heart feels empty, I close my eyes and I see it. That slender branch illuminated by the sun, with the tiniest slip of unfurling green.  I have tucked that vision in my heart, as a reminder that casting-off is a privilege. That there are ways that those we have loved and lost will ever and always remind us that the form may have changed, but the force of life is still there. Take heart. Unfurl.

And below - for those among the One Million that have been transformed by casting off or by staying on and observing and grieving - here is a favorite song of Joel’s, by a favorite musician. A magical mix of lullaby and gentle warning, love and noticing, holding on and letting go. For those who have closed their eyes. And for those of us that hold them in our hearts and sing the song. And hope to see them in that “better day”.

Sending love and support to all -


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