Monday, July 20, 2009

A Letter to Joseph

Dear Joseph,

I received a birthday invitation to your little buddy's 5th birthday the other day. It was then that it hit me: we are a month away from your 5th birthday. And also about a month from the day we said goodbye to you. The time goes by but the heartache remains the same.

Sweet Joseph, I miss you every day. Every day I ache to see you, touch your sweet face, hear your loud, boisterous voice and laugh. No-one can ever replace the special, beautiful little boy you were to us. When you were little I used to marvel at the depth I would see in your eyes. It seemed they were older than your tender age. You seemed to understand, get things, before you should have. And you proved it with your advanced humor. You could make jokes that adults found funny. But you also proved it with your kind heart and eagerness to love and live life fully.

I loved your mischievous spirit. You always laughed the hardest and had the best gleam in your eye when you thought you or someone else was getting into mischief. You would flap your arms up and down and squeal with delight when you were younger. Then as you got older you would smile excitedly and shrug your shoulders and share the mischief with your partner in crime. You would say things like "Let's not tell Daddy we had another brownie!" or "Let's not tell Mommy I got to stay up late." It was always so fun to share a mischievous secret.

You, with your child-like passion and love for life, grew me up as a person and as a mother. You taught me to get over my selfishness, my need for order, my need for control. I realize now that the most important thing is to appreciate and love fully the ones you treasure. Having a house that's in order will not go in the photo albums. I used to get so stressed about how messy our house got, but now I wish for the mess...the cars and trains all over the place, evidence of a happy child playing.

Anyway, dear Joseph, how I wish we could have a party for you to enjoy. I would love to see you playing with your friends, tearing into presents, and gobbling up your cake. But I know you are celebrating in heaven and your joy and life are complete. We will treasure the days and years we had with you and I will be forever thankful for the lessons I learned from my sweet boy.


Anna Tester said...

xxxxoooo. Happy birthday Joseph! Thanks for brightening on lives. Love you Gillian - what a light you are to all of us. I have your blog bookmarked and decided to click on it as I sit next to half a load of laundry that I have out of the dryer with the other half still in there with the door open. Anyway, with all the distractions, thank you for reminding me to treasure my treasures. xxxxooo!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your tender letter. My heart aches for you. It seems like yesterday and then it seems like a 100 years since Joseph went to be with Jesus.
It's hard to believe his birthday date will soon be here. I'm remembering the special cake you made him last year and how excited he was to have it before his birthday. It was an amazing creation!
Praying for you today that you will rest in the "princess mess" and laugh out loud with Holly.
Love, Mimi

Lynn T said...

This is beautiful...I also remember how much thought and love you put into his train cake last year. I think you even made a "practice" cake too! I love you and continue to pray for you, Allen and Holly as you miss your sweet Joseph. We miss him too (terribly). Love you all,

Doris said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful letter! After Jennifer died, we did different things to celebrate her birthday in October each year. I remember us going as a family to buy toys for the playroom at Scottish Rite where she spent so much time. Another year we bought toys for the church nursery and spend some time sorting and cleaning the toys that were there (something she would have loved to do). One of our daughters cuts a jack-o-lantern on that day every year. All that to say, you will find your own way to commemorate the day, but make it something fun and encouraging. Love to you all.

Mel said...

What a beautiful letter. Praying for you and your family. Love to all.

Sarah-Jane said...

Oh Gillo.
I was lying in bed last night imagining a bigger Joe P. A 5 year old. I was wondering what it would have been like at Moms this year with him and who he would have played with more...the boys, or bella. I know he would have knocked Deacon out a couple of times for annoying Holly. I was trying to imagine what he would like and how tall he would be.
Its hard to believe that he would almost be 5.
Happy Birthday Joseph. I miss you. We all much.
thanks for sharing your letter.
I love you gillian

Anonymous said...

my heart is hurting so much, Logan misses his buddy.
Happy Birthday Joe P. Knowing your in Jesus's arms on your special day makes us look forward to being together to celebrate in future! love you,

Audrey said...

I have been thinking about you SOOO much the past couple of weeks knowing you're approaching the date. Praying for you...


Kate Etue said...

I'm all teary sitting on the couch thinking of Joseph with his head thrown back in your kitchen cracking up at his mommy! Grey wore one of the shirts you handed down to him last night, and I heard him telling George, "Do you remember Joseph? He gave me this shirt!" I'm so glad it's like 3 sizes too big so he can wear it for a long time. We love you guys and are really praying for you right now.

Jennifer said...

Oh Gill. I am aching with and for you. Thanks for sharing your sweet letter to Joseph. No more words, just tears, prayers and longing.

ambie said...

Thank you for continuing to share your heart with all of us Gillian. Your words are such treasures. We are praying for you.

Randi said...

Tears are here. My heart aches. I know Joseph is in Heaven and will have a spectacular party (I'm sure every day is beautiful in Heaven). Sweet Peabodys, I am thinking of you.

Christy said...

goodness, how beautiful and heart-wrenching. we all miss you, joseph!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Joe P. All grown up in Paradise.

scott c.

Brooke said...

Oh sweet Gil. Thanks so much for sharing this letter. It feels like it can't be 11 months ago that we all had to say goodbye; the emotion can feel so new when it hits like a wave. I'm so full of gladness that I got to know Joseph in this world and pain that we, and especially you, can no longer be with him in it. We love you guys and will be thinking of you even more in these coming months.

Nana said...

Words fail me.My heart is so full of emotion both sadness and loss mostly a deep sense of sadness for you and Allen and Holly-Bear.When we were in Nicaragua on the mission trip I thought of Joe P . so much seeing so many children in desperate need of medical care and just basic needs like shoes or a diaper or a bowl of food..looking into their eyes was like looking into their souls one cant help but ask why? why are there thousands of kids that are hungry abused sick and not loved.Why did it have to be Joe P. he was so loved so cherished.Last week in N.Y.C. when we took the big boys for their trip with Nana and Grandad and Davey it was very sad just knowing we will never have the chance to do that with Joe P. Dad and I saw a little boy sittng in a double stroller with his little sister watching a magician in central park then we noticed he was bald his face was pale..His Daddy gave him a dollar to put in the magicans hat he smiled a big Joe P. smile and wobbled over to put the money in the hat ..his Daddy helped him back to his stroller.He was a brave little warrior just like our Joe P.I know you are preparing for the best birthday party ever in Heaven I just wish we could see the invitation list.I feel pretty sure its a lightening Mc.Queen party at the Cone Motel.Happy birthday precious boy and thanks for all the fun memories we have of you!!Thanks Gillian we love you all dearly ...O.M.B.

Vanessa said...

I have another friend who's son went to heaven in August and I can empathize at the pain it will cause...Hang on to the positive; though Joseph is in heaven, another beautiful baby is waiting for you to be her mommy! And Joseph is happy and not suffering. :)
FOr Giuli's b-day, i focus on the fact she's alive, b/c it's too hard to bear having lost the healthy one :(

Anonymous said...

Missing him for you - so sorry you are approaching a painful anniversary. Praying for strength & peace for your sweet family.

KR said...

So grateful you posted. Praying God comforts your aching heart. Happy Birthday Joe.

Susie (So Blessed) said...

Your letter touched my heart.
I'll be praying for you as Joseph's birthday and heaven day approach. May you be blessed and comforted with special memories of your precious boy.

jody said...

Love you lady. I just sent you email and read heart going out even more this month with our babies turning 5.

Joseph and Abigail being brought into this world and those 'Northside Storkes' are what brought me and you together(blessing from above). I am SOO glad I wrote you that note and we went on that 1st walk...first of many memories.

I miss Joseph so much. I keep picture of him and Abigail laughing in my planner and look at it daily - a constant reminder to me to enjoy and be present in the moment (something I really struggle with). Your note hit home - memories are not a clean house, kids being nicely dressed, the good family photo, or home cooked meals with nice dishes - they are smiles and laughter and messes! I always LOVED and still tear up when I think of all the times Joseph came to our house and Abigail and him would go running back into her room and pull out EVERY toy (they were so polite and asked me first if could make a big mess and I always said YES). I LONG for those Joseph messes. I LOVE YOU LADY! August has always held many special memories for me and even more so since bringing you and your family into my life…….we just love you! I am only a couple miles away (we love having you back).....please lean on me however best for you and Allen and Holly.

Courtney said...

Such a sweet letter to a very sweet boy. Thank you for sharing!

—Courtney S.

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful letter...we miss Joseph and think about him so often. we love you all.

Anonymous said...

Was thinking about you today.

Remember how we put the babies on blankets near each other and called it playgroup?


suzebab said...

Thought about Joseph today as I was looking at the most beautiful rainbow. We love and miss you guys!

Praying always for you my sweet friend.

John and Kelly said...

you are a complete stranger to me but you and your son have changed me. thank-you for being willing to share your personal thoughts. thank-you for reminding me to treasure each moment.

Chloƫ said...

My Butterfly, Robert Frost

Thine emulous fond flowers are dead, too,
And the daft sun-assaulter, he
That frightened thee so oft, is fled or dead:
Saave only me
(Nor is it sad to thee!)
Save only me
There is none left to mourn thee in the fields.

The gray grass is scarce dappled with the snow;
Its two banks have not shut upon the river;
But it is long ago--
It seems forever--
Since first I saw thee glance,
WIth all thy dazzling other ones,
In airy dalliance,
Precipitate in love,
Tossed, tangled, whirled and whirled above,
Like a limp rose-wreath in a fairy dance.

When that was, the soft mist
Of my regret hung not on all the land,
And I was glad for thee,
And glad for me, I wist.

Thou didst not know, who tottered, wandering on high,
That fate had made thee for the pleasure of the wind,
With those great careless wings,
Nor yet did I.

And there were other things:
It seemed God let thee flutter from his gentle clasp:
Then fearful he had let thee win
Too far beyond him to be gathered in,
Snatched thee, o'ereager, with ungentle gasp.

Ah! I remember me
How once conspiracy was rife
Against my life--
The languor of it and the dreaming fond;
Surging, the grasses dizzied me of thought,
The breeze three odors brought,
And a gem-flower waved in a wand!

Then when I was distraught
And could not speak,
Sidelong, full on my cheek,
What should that reckless zephyr fling
But the wild touch of thy dye-dusty wing!

I found that wing broken today!
For thou art dead, I said,
And the strange birds say.
I found it with the withered leaves
Under the eaves.

Audrey said...

been thinking about you a lot Gillian.

Anonymous said...

Allen and Gillian,

I just want you to know you remain in our prayers, especially this week which no doubt will be filled with memories, both happy and sad. It has been amazing to witness how God has worked in your lives over the past two years. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Best wishes to you and Holly as you await the arrival of your newest precious angel!

We love you,
Mark, Ellen, Becca, and Ben

Allyson said...

You're in my prayer...especially as this difficult week approaches. I pray it will be a time full of joyful rememberences and a celebration of life.

susan & brian said...

We are thinking about you on this difficult week - but know you will get through the week just as you have got through the past couple of years with hope, love and faith.

I'm sure the excitement must be great while you are waiting for your new little girl.

Love to you all always. Susan and Brian xxx

juliette said...

Thinking of you, Allen, Holly and your families this week especially Thursday and Friday. So many people have been and will continue to pray for you. Hope this time of sadness and heartache can be followed by joy and thanksgiving for your new little one. Can't wait for her arrival!
We love you.
Juliette and JR

Shannon said...

Just want you guys to know I am praying for you. Really praying. Your initials are written in purple crayon on a post-it right next to my computer. I am lifting your wonderful family to the Lord every time I look at that way.

Ashley said...

You are an inspiration to all mothers! God bless you and your wonderful family! Thank you for sharing your story.