Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sorry For the Previous Post

To make it up to you, I will post some pictures from the Memorial Day party that took place in my backyard.
The first grade team

a bunch of teachers

H (Mel's daughter) pushing Joshua


Patrick playing with the kids


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

We broke up today.

Was it something you said?

Was it something that I said?


There was just nothing left to say.

You've been so good to me these past few years.

You've listened to me, guided me, advised me, and gave me the occasional dosage of tough love.

But I'm in a really good place now.

Life is good.

I laugh more than I cry.

I am relaxed more often than I'm worried.

I just no longer need to keep seeing you.

Maybe (probably) I will come back. I will sit in your office and share my problems, and you will guide me once again.

But for now, I am taking a break from you.

Goodbye my amazing therapist!


Monday, May 26, 2008

Note To Self

Dear Self,
Next time you go hiking with the boys, and the boys are showing you a route they take with their teachers, leave a trail of breadcrumbs, or better yet, pay attention to where you are going. Because it's true, the boys do know how to follow the trail that leads to the hill, that leads to the dock, that leads to the fishermen.

But they don't know how to get back, and strangely enough, there seems to be multiple trails heading back, and the boys will argue over which trail is correct, and you will end up guessing the wrong trail and will have to backtrack for what seems like hours even though is far less than that, but with the sun beating down on you, and the boys fighting, and Josh reaching his arms up to be carried you will wish you were anywhere but there.

Then, because you are lost in the woods, you will start to imagine that there are coyotes, because there have been coyote sightings in Newton recently. You will wonder why you didn't bring snacks. You always bring snacks and right then everyone could use a snack. And if a coyote did approach you could throw your snack for the coyote, and gather the boys in your arms and run.

By the time you see the JCC you will be ready to bow down and kiss the ground in gratitude. Neither child will be speaking to you at that point, but you won't care. Your car is in view, and your car holds snacks and air conditioning, as well as a GPS system. You will no longer be lost.

Remember this all for next week when you try it again, OK?


Sunday, May 25, 2008
I just finished reading this book of short stories, and I could relate on some level to each story. I highly recommend it, if you are looking for a good read.


Friday, May 23, 2008

The Library Card

A library card may seem like just another card to hold onto, another card to get lost, or stolen. To me a library card has always been a symbol of freedom, a pass to a world of knowledge. What could be better than a huge building filled with books that you get to take home for free? And these days there's videos, dvds, and cds. There is free internet, and best of all, there is quiet. Everyone, even the youngest of children know that the library is a place where voices are to be kept quiet, where only whisper voices are acceptable.

I've tried to bring the boys to the library on a weekly basis, but must admit that the past few months have found our afternoons to be too busy to stop on our way home from school. Yesterday, after hearing Joshua plead to go to the library for weeks, I finally relented.

As we walked into the children's section I wondered aloud if Jacob was old enough for a library card. "He just needs to be able to print his name by himself," the librarian answered as she walked by.

I looked at Jacob and asked him if he'd be interested in getting his own library card. He nodded excitedly, and I grabbed an application from the desk.

We browsed for a while, then got in line with our books. Jacob wrote his name in his sloppy four year old handwriting, with his "b" hardly recognizable. Still, it was his very own library card! I could barely contain my enthusiasm.

"This is such an exciting event!" I said for maybe the 5th time.

"Stop saying that!" Jacob screamed. Mind you, we were still in the quiet library.

I looked down at Jacob, completely confused. "Why are you so angry?"

"Because it's not exciting. Stop saying it's exciting. I hate the library!" (again, screaming inside the library!)

Why do kids know exactly what to say to ruin a moment?

On the plus side, Joshua has been practicing writing his name since we got home so that he can get his own card.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beach Day
This morning we drove to about 7 different beaches to scout out possible Scuba dives for T. The boys loved checking out all the different beaches, and I enjoyed taking pictures.

The boys walking back from beach # 5

the path that led to beach # 2
beach # 3?

Silliness on beach # 1

Stop taking my picture and wipe my nose!!!!!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Message to B & C

Have an amazing weekend
I expect details
from both sides!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


My sister called me yesterday with exciting news that she thought I didn't know.

R: Guess what show is coming back this fall?

B: Beverly Hills 90210! I can't wait!

R: You already knew this? I just read it!

B: Oh, my dear sister. don't you know that if there is any news about Beverly Hills 90210 I know it immediately?

R: Well did you know that they are just calling it 90210, and that they are dropping the Beverly Hills?

B: I did not know that, but it makes perfect sense. We all know what 90210 stands for. And I, for one, can't wait to see what those crazy kids from Beverly Hills are up to.

Who's with me?


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wait, I'm 33?

T and I were walking out of a local restaurant recently, and I thought I recognized an old friend from high school.

"Dave?" I said.
"No, Tom," Tom responded.
"Oh, sorry. You look just like an old friend of mine."
"No problem," Tom said.

T turned to me and asked who I had thought Tom was.

"Oh, just an old friend from high school," I said.
"B, that guy was 20 or 21 years old. How could he have been a friend of yours from high school?"
"But, but, but that's what Dave looked like last time I saw him," I protested.
"How long ago was that, B?'
"Um, maybe 10, 11 years ago?"
"Exactly my point, B."

When did my friends stop looking 20 or 21? And how did I get to be 33? I still feel like I'm 17. Honestly.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

One more on Joe

It still amazes me how much is expected of a widow/widower immediately after their spouse dies. I had to make more decisions within the first 24 hours after Joe died then I had ever made before. It started the moment I walked into the house after (finally) leaving the hospital. Scratch that, it started in the hospital!

After we left Joe's room, I had to meet with someone, I don't even know who! I had to tell that person what to do with Joe's body. What funeral home was he going to. Luckily, my whole family was there, and they had some knowledge about funeral homes. I announced that I wanted the rabbi who married us to officiate the funeral. This was all within an hour of him dying.

Then I got home, and as I walked in, the phone was ringing. It was the funeral home director wanting details from me. I remember sitting at my dining room table that was filled with food, thanks to my amazing friends. My friends were sitting around the table, and I was telling the funeral home director facts about Joe. Facts like his time of death, his place of birth, his Hebrew name, how did his face look upon his death, what would I like him dressed in for his funeral. i was in such shock still, and I had to answer these questions. It was like a really really bad dream.

The next day I had to pick a cemetery, pick a plot, pick a coffin, and negotiate the details of his service. Thank god my siblings and mother were with me. I don't know what I would have done without them. So many decisions, so many questions. It was awful.

My other saving grace were my friends. While I was out making these decisions, they were watching Jacob, cleaning (seriously cleaning)my house, making me meals, and shopping for funeral clothes for me. I actually came home to two outfit choices thanks to Anna and Jen (thanks guys!)

I also came home to an amazing photo tribute to Joe that was displayed at his funeral, and is now hanging in the play room. I feel so lucky to have such amazing friends who helped me through such a difficult time.

Here is the photo collage they made:
(click on image to make larger)

Broken BrooklynShe has a broken pelvis and needed stitches on her leg. She's bruised up and down her belly, and she will require bed rest for the next month. But she is alive, and as sweet as ever. Thank you for all your concern.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

For The Record

I handled today really well
I made it through the school day
I even laughed
I was able to teach
and converse with teachers and parents
and only cried once

I brought the boys to the cemetery after school
and handled that really well too
No tears, no major pangs of sadness even

We came home with the plan of eating ice cream
in the backyard
before eating dinner
I was proud of myself
for being so carefree

Then the dog escaped the yard
and was run over by a car
that pretty much did me in

she is alive
but quite broken
kind of like me


May 6th

As I was driving to school this morning, my sister called me to check in. I began to cry, and told her that I just really missed Joe. We talked about how we couldn't believe that it had been four years already. That just doesn't seem possible.

I then told her that I was worried that I was forgetting Joe stories, that I was losing memories. She said that she had been thinking about it and had come to the conclusion that all of his stories had been told. Not in the past week, but over the course of my almost 3 years on this blog.

Joe died when he was 31. There are only so many "stories" to tell about someone who dies at 31. Most days were normal ones. Joe would wake up, go to work, eat dinner, watch tv, go to sleep. When we had Jacob, his days were staying home Jacob, going to work, coming home, going to sleep. The stories that show how fun and crazy Joe were, the really big stories, those have been told.

And that made me all the sadder.

His stories should not have had to end so soon. He should not have had to die at 31. He should have been allowed to see his youngest son be born. I should have some stories to share about Joe and his children. But I don't.

Since I'm done sharing how Joe lived, here is the story of Joe dying. Here is the story of letting go.


At around 6am the doctors woke me up and told me that my talk with Joe, and my arms around him had worked wonders. His oxygen levels had gone way up, and he was in better condition than he had been the night before. I went into the waiting room to share the good news with all the sleepless people who had gathered. Melanie left to call people with the good news. My step-father questioned if my mother really needed to fly home after all. I left the hospital for the first time in almost 24 hours to walk next door for coffee. I felt myself breathing for the first time in days.

But within a few hours, his oxygen levels went back down. The doctors had to perform the same procedure that they did in the middle of the night; turn him back over, this time onto his back.

When I was allowed to go back in the room to see Joe after they flipped him, I was shocked all over again by what I saw. I had become accustomed to the huge amount of fluid in him, the 40 pounds that he had gained in the past few days no longer phased me.

What was new was the discoloration in his arms and legs. They had turned blue. When I touched them, they were ice cold. Even through my gloved hands, they were too cold to touch. His eyes, which were closed, had blood continuously pouring out of them. I asked permission to wipe them dry, and it become a never ending struggle to keep the blood away. His ears no longer looked like ears. They were completely crusted over and curled up.

I asked the nurse about his arms and legs. She explained that when your body's blood levels get very low, the blow circulates around the organs that need it most. Therefore it stops circulating through the limbs. I asked if he would lose his limbs, and she told me that was a possibility.

I didn't leave Joe's side all day. I kept rubbing his arms in legs in a vain attempt to warm them up. I also never stopped talking to him. I never stopped telling him to fight. I never stopped talking about our future, and our childrens' futures. I also kept singing him a song that he would always sing to Jacob. But every time I would sing it, my voice would break, and the tears would start up. I just couldn't believe what was happening before my eyes. I couldn't believe what was happening to my future.

My sister and the nurse insisted that I lie down, but I refused to leave the room. They set me up on a chair in the corner of the room. While I was sitting there, I heard my sister remark on how cold Joe was. The nurse decided to take his temperature. This was a disaster. Joe's tongue had become so enlarged, she couldn't get the thermometer under it. When she finally was able to get it in, it registered 92 degrees fahrenheit. This shocked me enough to get back up, and continue talking to him.

At around 3:30, my mother finally arrived. I was never in my life so relieved to see her. And so it was, for the next two hours my mother, sister and I stood by Joe and told him various stories, most of them funny.

At around 5 pm my sister went to eat some salad. She was also pregnant, and had not been eating or sleeping nearly enough. My mother insisted that I lay back down on the chair in the corner of the room.

I lay down, closed my eyes, and listened to my mother's familiar voice as she talked to Joe. She told him that my sister was eating salad, and that I was finally resting. I think that was Joe's signal. He had waited for my mother to get there, he had waited for me to relax just a bit, and now it was time for him to go.

I heard the heart monitor making a strange sound. I sat right up and asked the nurse what was going on. My mother told me to lie back down, but the nurse told her no, that not only should I not lie down, but that someone should get my sister. I stood up and rushed to the bed. The nurse looked in my eyes and said, "This is it. He's going."

The room was suddenly filled with all of the doctors who had been treating him, along with numerous residents. I didn't notice any of them as I began letting go.

I had taken off my gloves when I lay down, but now I instinctively ran my hands through his hair. I suddenly realized what I had done and looked at the nurse. She told me not to worry, to touch him all I wanted. And so my hands never left his body. Finally we were skin to skin. For the last time, I was touching my husband.

I told Joe that is was ok, he had tried so hard to fight, but now it was time to let go, and rest. I promised him that I would talk to the boys about him every day, that they would know him through me. I promised him that I would be strong, and would make him proud. I told him how proud I was of him, and how much I loved him.

Then I panicked. I changed my mind. I wasn't ready to let go. I looked up at the nurse and said, "I've changed my mind. He can't go! Can I tell him to fight again?"

She looked at me with tears in her eyes. "You can tell him whatever you want. But he's going."

My sister has told me since, that at that point she wanted to scream at all the doctors to do something, to save him. But as she looked around she could see that they were all crying too. She knew that there was nothing left for them to do.

I went back to telling Joe to go. I promised him we would be ok. I promised him he would never be forgotten. I let him go.

And then he was gone. The heart monitor showed that his heart was no longer beating. The doctor gently announced that he was gone. I insisted that he was lying, because Joe's stomach was still rising and falling. He then unplugged a machine, and his body lay still.

The doctors told me that they would give me privacy, and that I could stay with Joe for as long as I wanted. I remember standing there with my mother, sobbing. I kept asking her how I was supposed to leave him. How can you walk away from the love of your life? How can you say goodbye?

But he was already gone. The body that remained wasn't Joe. It didn't even resemble Joe anymore.

I had let him go.

I am still letting him go.

It's just so hard.


(To everyone who took the time to read this entire story, I thank you for letting me keep my promise to Joe. He will not be forgotten.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

May 5th

May 5, 2004 was a Wednesday. It was quite possibly, the longest day in my life. It was certainly one of the worst. I hope you'll read about it here
I'm struggling on the memory front tonight. I have so many, but they all feel blurred together. I'm scared that I'm losing my memories of him. Instead of a memory, I think I'll write a letter to him. Please, if you have a memory, will you share it? Please?

Dear Joe,
You used to have the most amazing voice. It was so deep. Al never met you but she spoke to you on the phone a few times and used to call you Mr. Sexy. You had what I called a radio voice. You were meant to be on the radio. Not only did you have a great voice but you were a great commentator. You were quick, and witty, and super funny. I miss your voice. I have it saved in two places. Our old answering machine, and one scene of video. I haven't played either since you died. I'm afraid of how I'll react upon hearing your voice. Sometimes I hear it in my dreams, but it's not your old voice. It's a scared voice; the voice you had in the hospital. I hate that your voice was taken from you. I hate that I never got to hear it those final days.

Do you remember when we went for pre-marital counseling? The whole time the rabbi was talking to us, and asking us questions, you were pacing the room. You never sat next to me, never held my hand. You were a wreck. I was sure the rabbi would say that she wouldn't marry us. But despite your pacing, you gave really good answers about me. When asked why you wanted to marry me, you told the rabbi that you knew I would be a great mother to our future kids. You told her that I was a good cook, and that you loved being around me. She married us despite your pacing. My sister has said that you walked down the aisle with the biggest grin that she had ever seen. You were that happy. The rabbi officiated your funeral as well. She shared the story of our pre-marital counseling, but in her version we were sitting snuggled together on her couch. I like the real version more. It's more you.

Do you remember the day I miscarried? Strangely enough we had discovered that I was pregnant on May 6, 2002. We were so excited and told everyone we knew. At the end of June I had heavy bleeding, and we both knew something bad had happened. We came home from the hospital that night and lay in bed together and watched a marathon of House Hunters. We snuggled, and cried, and planned to plant a rose bush in honor of the baby that wasn't, and in between we debated which house would be picked. 13 months later Jacob entered the world, and the year after that you were dead. When Jacob was born I remember us saying, "If only we had known a year ago when we were so sad that we'd have this amazing baby a year later." And then when you died I kept thinking, if only we had known when Jacob was born that a year later you'd be gone....

You came to me last night in my dreams, Joe. It wasn't a good dream. I ended up crying all night. Send me good dreams tonight, ok? Four years ago tonight was our last night together. I know you knew that I was there with you. Tomorrow I will go to work and the boys will go to school, and then we will come visit you at the cemetery. Joshua had an interesting theory of how the rocks that we leave at the cemetery get to you. He said that storks pick them up, and fly them up to heaven. Jacob quickly corrected him by saying, "Actually, aliens come down and fly in their spaceships up to heaven, right mommy?" You sons are so ridiculously cute, Joe. I hope you know that. I hope you are still watching us. I hope.

Tomorrow will likely be bad. But that's ok. We will get through it like always. I will cry and share memories with those that will listen. We haven't forgotten you Joe. You have not been forgotten.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

May 4th

May 4, 2004 fell on a Tuesday. It was the first time I saw Joe since he was hospitalized on Saturday. It was a bad day. To read about it, (and who wouldn't want to read about it after that lead up! :O) ) click here.

May 30, 1997

During my 8 year courtship with Joe, we broke up twice. The first time was the summer before his senior year of college, and my sophomore year of college. It lasted for about 3 weeks. The second time was when I was a senior in college and he was out in the real world.

I had been pressuring Joe for a ring (hmm, I am noticing a pattern.) During Christmas break Joe told me through tears that we needed to break up. He was worried that we had been together so long that maybe we were only together because it felt safe and comfortable. He was worried that we would get engaged and married and then realize that it was a mistake.

To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement. I felt like my world had fallen apart. I cried for days and days, and then I decided to stop feeling sad, and live a little. I figured if Joe and I were destined to be together we would be together.

I moved in with my friend Suzy who was going through a divorce, and we nicknamed our house the "judge me not house." Many mornings we would look at each other and say, "Judge me not." I was having a blast, and was greatly enjoying my freedom as a single woman.

I have no idea what Joe was doing during this time. We never discussed it later. I assume that he was out there dating/sleeping around a bit. This was our chance, and I like to think that we both took advantage of it.

Two months after we broke up we saw each other for the first time. When we broke up, we set the date, and agreed not to speak during the time in between.

I remember nervously pulling up to his townhouse the cold February morning. I was wearing a super short dress from Express (I had gotten very skinny after the break up, and had to flaunt it.) and I remember Joe looking me up and down as I walked towards him.

We hugged hello, and it felt like I had come home. Being single was fun and exciting, but Joe was my home. You know how when you go on vacation it's great, but getting home afterwards feels even better? That's what it was like.

We spent the day together, which led to spending the night together, which led to the day , which led to the night....You get the idea. We both knew. This was it. We were meant to be together.

Once we announced that we were officially back together (although I don't know if Joe told anyone that we had ever broken up. Brett? I know his family never knew.) it was clear that we would be getting engaged. Joe knew that I wanted to be engaged before I graduated college, because I knew I would never see most of my classmates again, and I wanted them to know that I would be marrying Joe.

Two days before graduation was a beautiful Sunday. Joe asked me if I wanted to go to the Swan Boats, one of our favorite spots when we first started dating. We arrived to find a very long line of families waiting to ride. There is little that bothers me more than waiting in a long line, so I told Joe that we should do something else, but he said he was going to talk to the people that run the boats.

He came back and told me that he inquired about us being extras in a movie that was being filmed at the Public Gardens, and that they were contacting the movie producers. He said we might as well wait in line, because we needed to wait to hear the answer anyways.

When we got to the front of the line the workers said that the movie didn't need any extras but that we could board the swan boats for free. We got on, and despite the line being super long, our swan was almost empty. There was no one in the two rows in front of us, and no one behind us. I remember thinking that it was odd.

Halfway through the boat ride Joe dropped his camera onto the floor of the boat. He got down to pick up the camera, and stayed down on one knee.

"Elizabeth Ellen S...., will you please do me the honor of becoming my wife?" Joe pulled a ring box out of his pocket and presented me with a perfect round diamond. He handed his camera to the people in the front of the boat and they took pictures of us.

Even though I knew it was coming, it still managed to surprise me.

Of course I said yes, and was able to show everyone at graduation that I was engaged. (Engaged at 22, what was I thinking????)

One year later we were married.

Today I feel so freaking homesick.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

May 3rd
I just sobbed in temple after standing for the Mourner's kaddish (a prayer you say at anniversaries.) I had to walk out and go into the bathroom. The Rabbi's wife followed me and talked to me until I was calm enough to return. Very sweet. I can't believe how grief just takes over me. I miss him so much right now. It feels like it was yesterday, not four years ago. To read about May 3, 2004, click here. To read more about Joe alive and well, read on.

On September 26, 1995 Joe and I attended the Bruins game at the Boston Garden. It was the last even to be held at the Garden, as a new building had already been built in its place, and it was to be torn down the following week.

I was glad to see the new building, but Joe had a love for the old Garden and was sad that it's time had come to an end. He wanted to keep a piece of it with him always.

So he brought a saw with him to the game. Yes, you read that correctly, Joe carried a saw with him into the Bruins game. (Can you imagine this happening post 9/11? Would never be possible. But back in 1995, there were no body searches walking into a stadium, and so Joe kept the saw tucked into his jacket.)

We sat down in our seats and the game began. Every time the Bruins scored, or were close to scoring, everyone would stand up and cheer them on. Joe took those opportunities to saw the back of his seat. The first time he did it he got quite a few stares, but by the fifth or sixth time nobody paid any attention.

The whole row of seats would shake every time he would saw away, and I was worried Joe would be arrested if anyone turned him in. I kept yelling, "You'll get arrested! Stop!" And Joe would reply, "It'll be worth it!"

By the end of the game Joe had successfully sawed the back of his chair. (You know the part with the number on it?) Our whole row cheered for Joe, and I took his picture with the back of the chair in his hands.

We later framed the chair, along with the ticket, a picture of Joe holding the seat, a poster, and a special puck they gave out that night. We still have it hanging up in the playroom.

When I look at the framed "art" I always smile. It pretty much sums Joe up. He never did things half-assed. It was all or nothing in his world. That was how he lived, that was how he died.


Friday, May 02, 2008

May 2nd

To continue reading Joe's hospitalization story click here. I hope it's getting read, but I am liking posting memories of Joe this week. It's kind of strange to me that so many of you never knew Joe. I feel like everyone knew Joe. That's the kind of personality he had. Everyone knew him.

Pregnant with Joshua
(I looked through the archives to see if I had posted this story before. I felt like I had, but I couldn't find it. I apologize if you have read it before.)

When Jacob was four months old, we conceived Joshua. It was not a planned pregnancy by any stretch of the imagination. We were planning on spacing our kids a couple of years apart. We were watching a Red Sox game on our porch, Jacob was napping in his room, it was a commercial break, Joe and I looked at each other, decided to seize the moment, ran upstairs, and were back down for the bottom of the inning.

I was still nursing exclusively, and had not yet gotten my period (sorry Brett, Patrick, and Owen. I think you're the only guys that read this...) The likelihood of me getting pregnant seemed slim, and we did nothing to protect against it. But we both knew we were taking a risk that afternoon.

About a month later I was taking a walk with my neighbor, Chris, and our boys. I mentioned to her that I hadn't been feeling great, that I had been a little nauseous, and was throwing up a few times a day. "It feels almost like I'm pregnant," I said.

Chris looked at me wide eyed and insisted that I buy a pregnancy test from Walgreens. I told her I was sure that I wasn't pregnant, but I would buy one just too be positive.

We got to my house and Chris waited outside with the boys while I ran upstairs to the bathroom. You know how some tests take a few minutes to get the two lines? Well this one turned immediately. Two dark lines staring at me in the face.

I ran downstairs and showed Chris but was convinced that the test was faulty. I drank 3 quick glasses of water and ran upstairs to take test number two. Two more immediate dark lines.

I was undeniably pregnant.

I called Mel on the phone and told her to come over immediately. She thought something was wrong with Jacob and rushed over. She found me sitting in the corner of my living room, two positive tests sitting on the couch. She tried not to laugh at my misfortune but had great difficulty because I had been giving her a very hard time for purposely getting pregnant with #2 when #1 was only 6 months. And here I had beaten her crazy record by 2 months.

At this point I was having a bit of a breakdown. Me, having a breakdown? Impossible! My biggest concern was telling Joe. How in the world was I going to tell him that I was pregnant again? I was sure he would turn around, get in his car, go to a bar and get drunk. I knew that it took the two of us to get in the mess we were in, but I expected him to blame me.

Melanie took off before Joe got home, and I began pacing the house. I was trying every technique I knew of to calm myself down, but nothing was working.

Joe's car pulled in the driveway and I sat at the dining room table, tetst held tightly in my hand,

Joe took one look at me and knew something was wrong.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Something really terrible happened," I answered.

"Are you pregnant?" he guessed. (I still don't know how he guessed it so quickly.)


"That's not terrible," Joe responded.

"It's not?"

"No! It's great, actually."

"It's great?"

"Yes. It's great. Who knows, b, maybe in two years you wouldn't be able to get pregnant. Maybe I wouldn't be able to get you pregnant. You never know what will happen in the future."

Neither of us could possibly imaging how true his words were. Neither of us could have possibly predicted that Joe wouldn't be alive that summer when Joshua was born. But whenever someone asks me if Joshua was planned or an accident (and believe me, people ask that all the time!) I say that he was a planned accident. Joe and I may not have planned him, but something bigger than us did. (I'm not getting all religious on you, but I do believe in fate.)

Joe was thrilled to be having a second son, and never once called him an accident. He was proud of his super sperm that beat the odds at getting me pregnant at a time when we didn't think it was at all likely. He told all of his friends that we were expecting again, and never once showed any doubt that it was a good idea.

Joe was a great dad. One of the saddest things about him dying four years ago was that he never got to meet his second son.

Brett's (BCA's) story for the day
(mine will be posted later along with a link for today)

One day during high school times/age, Joe and I went down to the market near my house to buy some food to cook on the grill for that weekend. My mom was never a (good) cook, but his mom made her look like Rachel Ray, so he ate at my house quite a bit.

I was driving my mom's 5 speed Audi GT Coupe, a truly hideous car that had red leather interior (sad, I know), and as I parked the car on the side of the grocery store and we got out, we noticed that the car I parked next to (which was unlocked and with open windows) had a barrel keg in it's back seat.

Joe's eyes lit up the way only people who knew him know that they could. I talked him off the ledge and we went into the store to shop for grillables. We were in there for at least 30 mins, a reasonable enough time for the owner of the car to have come and gone, taking their keg with them. But when we came out, the car was still there.

Joe reached in and shook the keg, "It's full!" or something like that, he said. And so in a moment that will forever be blurry in my memory, in approximately 15 seconds time, Joe and I, weighing in total probably no more than 275 pounds ourselves, lifted this over 200 pound and awkward to carry full-barrel keg of beer out of this person's backseat and into the trunk of my mother's car. It didn't even really fit, so we had to push and wedge it down into the small sized trunk.

And then we were gone.

We took it back to my house for our newly planned weekend festivities. I called another group of friends to join us, who I knew had a pony pump we needed to extract the beer from it's aluminum jail.

And while I don't remember his exact words, Joe said something to the likes of, "we can charge everyone $10 per cup." I squashed that one as fast as he uttered it and we all had a grand time that weekend. Oh, and we also got the $50 "back" for returning the empty keg on Monday after school.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May 1st

Four years ago today Joe entered the hospital never to return home again. To read a detailed account of that day, click here. Now for a memory of the day.

Owen's post below got me thinking back to my high school days with Joe. We began dating when I was 15, and he was 17. he had a car, but lived an hour away. Typically he would come visit me on Saturday mornings, and spend the day, but within 6 months or so of dating he started spending entire weekends with me. In the beginning my mom made him sleep downstairs, but soon gave up and let him sleep in my room.

My first year of dating Joe I was a bit of an emotional mess. I had a lot going on in my family, and I hate to complain about it because many others went through similar upsets in their families, but I just took it very hard.

Owen mentioned in his entry that my mom was hardly ever around, and I think that's a pretty accurate account. She wasn't neglectful or anything. She was just busy living her life, and kind of left me to live mine.

Joe was my rock. Even at 17 he was my rock. I would call him in the middle of the night sobbing, and he would drive an hour to be with me. I would fall apart on a date, and he would just hold me in his arms. He was very protective of me, and tried his best to help me through my emotional upsets. (Again, nothing crazy, just family upheaval that many others faced.)

One morning I had a fight with my mother. I don't remember what it was about, but it was big. I called Joe from school all upset. Within an hour he was at my school (He was a senior and was already done for the year. It must have been early June.) He waited for me to finish my classes then we got in his car. I asked him where we were going, and he wouldn't tell me.

We drove north to New Hampshire and ended up at Canobie Lake Park, a local amusement park. He led me to the biggest roller coaster there, and he told me that my life was like a roller coaster right now, with lots of huge highs, and lots of low lows. He promised me that he would ride them out with me, the highs and the lows.

We got on the roller coaster and held hands tightly as it went up and down, up and down. "I'm with you, Betsy," he said each time it reached the top and we were waiting for the descent. "I'm with you."

And he was. He stuck with me through some really hard times. He was a good man, even at 17.

Owen's memory of Joe
Thank you for posting Owen!
Owen said...

My story about Joe (per your request - but it is somewhat long so feel free to remove it): The first time I met Joe was in your old house. It was a few weeks after you had started dating. For some reason, one of the first things you did together was buy a tremendously huge stereo. You were 15 or something and you and your new boyfriend had just bought a tremendously huge stereo together.

Anyway, I walked into your house (it was a summer day, and that whole summer it seemed like you owned the house because I never once caught a glimpse of your mother). You and Joe were sitting on the couch in the living room, toying with the gigantic remote for your tremendously huge stereo.

You seemed like a middle aged couple; you had a giant house all to yourself, a giant stereo with a huge remote control, and you were teenagers. You introduced me to Joe, and he immediately starting showing me all the functionality of his gigantic remote control.

Someone else might have done this and it would have come across as boring and as small talk. But with Joe, it wasn't boring and it wasn't small talk. It was him being very excited about his remote control and feeling totally comfortable sharing his excitement with me, his new friend. He was a very very easy guy to become friends with.

(my memory for today will be posted later today. -b)