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24 Years


It has been one year since Joe left us on Thanksgiving Day 2017. Hard to believe. Memories of him flood my mind this week…

Homeschooling him—he struggled with spelling but excelled at thinking and problem solving (and art, music, economics…)

Hiking up the local hill with him to see the sunset—he had a thing for sunrises and sunsets, which may have started when he was very young and I walked him to the park in the predawn so he could sit at the top of a big slide and see the sun rise. I don’t know what possessed me—just thought he would enjoy it, I guess! And he did; at his request we did that several more times

Teaching him a few guitar chords and watching him quickly pass me in ability, then begin teaching others

Trips together—just the two of us: west Ireland, Lake Tahoe (with two flat tire adventures), Turlock to visit Grandpa and play music for him, Ethiopia with our church group, where he became the self-appointed group herder/rear guard

Family road trips: even at a young age, so easy to travel with (the girls were, too). They didn’t have “screens” then, but we did a lot of singing and listening to audio books. And magnetic chess. And when we tired of that, there were always windows to look out of. I think I passed on my daydreaming talent…


Beaming with pride as he became the youngest black belt recipient at age 18 in his martial arts school, developing his gift for teaching as he coached the beginning students

Sending him off on church group trips to Jamaica and Eastern Europe (someday you must hear his song “Mission Trip Relationships”)

The fun of hearing each new song he released. When I first heard “Lockpicks” I said, “Joe! When did you learn to play piano?!” He replied, “Last night”. He had taught himself just enough to get the riff he wanted for that particular song. Cracked me up!

We are sad and disappointed when an elderly person dies. But we are not surprised. We are accustomed to a life being about 80 years long. So 24 years seems a very short life…

But still, it was 24 years. Twenty-four years to get to know Joe, to love him, to joke and sing with him, to counsel and receive counsel from him. To inspire and be inspired. To teach and be taught. I am grateful for the time we had together, and for the privilege of being his mom.

So today I am both grieving and grateful. Grieving that we only had 24 years with Joe, but grateful for those 24 years.


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