The Gift Of Peace…

This past year, I was bracing myself for Christmas. Since Thanksgiving was behind me, I began to gear myself up for the BIG holiday. I started surfing the internet, looking for the perfect gifts for my family. I sent out a text to my kids ” Someone is going shopppiinnggg!”. Soon after, I received their wish lists, to which I laughingly replied, :” uuuhh you are adults…we need a spending limit.”

Each year, I need to create a list to keep track of the gifts I need to purchase. As I started color coding my columns, as I do every year (large extended family) I did something without thinking. At the top of one of the columns, I added Joey’s name. My heart crushed.

I stared at his name for a few seconds. Waves of sadness, bitterness and mostly guilt overcame me as I pressed the back button and deleted his name. There are no presents for him. Nothing to buy. No expectation of delight as I watched him open his most desired gift. Yet, for some odd reason though, I felt as if I NEEDED to give him something!

As I sat in my chair, and deeply put thought into it, it came to me! I felt a lightness over come me. A smile crossed my lips as the idea of the most perfect gift I could ever gift him hit me like a ray of sunshine!!! I knew what the perfect gift would be. I WOULD GIVE HIM MY PEACE.

Joey never liked to see me sad or stressed. He would NEVER tolerate anyone hurting me, physically or emotionally. My pain became his pain… my anger his. He loved me like only a son can love his mother. The most precious and innocent love that we as humans can feel.

I have always felt a sort of comfort that even though he was ripped from me and I never had the chance to say goodbye, he KNEW I loved him without exception and I KNEW the tremendous amount of love he had for me. He knew that if I had a choice, I would have fought death tooth and nail for him and I would have NEVER EVER given up.

SO, even though no physical gifts were exchanged with him this past Christmas, I was STILL able to give him something meaningfuly beautiful and when I close my eyes, I can still see that child like excitement in his face. He would have lifted his head up, laughed out loud (HAA, HA!). He would have said “I KNEW IT!”, as he leaned over to kiss me and tell me “I LOVE IT MOMMA! THANK YOU!”

You’re welcome, honey…

So Many Unmade Memories

When we lose a child, we lose more than their being.  We lose our hopes, our dreams,  our desires for our children.  We lose what might have been.  We lose our ourselves.

It will hit me out of nowhere and it will come as a massive slap in the face. I am forced to face the reality that I have nothing left of him.  I have the pictures,  the memories, the ‘stuff’ but I will never have the things my other children have and the precious gifts they have given  me.

I will never cry as he says his ‘I do’s”.  I will never have a mother son dance at his wedding.  I will never be able to hold his newborn baby or  get a desperate phone call from him asking me what to do because the baby keeps spitting up.  I won’t have the eagerness and nervousness as I watch his children perform in their first school play or first dance recital.   The giddiness of Christmas and birthday shopping is forever lost. All my future memories ended when his ‘being’ ended as well.

My two precious grand babies were watching the movie Coco at our home.  At the end of the movie, as the music still played, they blissfully danced around the living room. As a bubble of laughter surrounded us, my granddaughter grabbed my hand and had me dance around the room with her.  There I am, laughing, clapping my hands, spinning her around  and absolutely loving every single moment.  She then walked over to her daddy, pulled him off of the chair and told him to dance with me (Abuelita) because she wanted to dance with her brother.  There we were, my grandchildren, my son and I, laughing and dancing in the middle of the living room.  My son pulled me into his arms to slow dance and as if on cue, the song “Remember Me” started to play.  At that moment, as beautiful as it was, we both were in tears.  We held each other tight,  softly crying our anguish away.  I whispered to him, “I will never have this with your brother.”  he answered, “I know mom…I’m so sorry. “

He made me realize that I wasn’t the only that would never have the “moments” we have dreamed of.  My living children will not get to experience having their kids grow up with their cousins…the children he never had. They won’t be able to ‘approve of the fiancee’ or give a toast  at his wedding.  They will never have an older brother to seek advice from or share the highs and lows of being a parent.  They will never have the typical holiday get together , the loud crazy toddler birthday parties, the summer bbq’s or the annual family trip to Disneyland.  Those beautiful memories would never come to be.

I pray that in the midst of missing him and wishing he was here,  his love will always be felt by all of us. I  hope that in every rainbow, in the melody of a bird,  and the laughter of children,  we forever feel his soul inside of our heart. And though his physical being  is no longer here,  my deepest wish is that no matter what, that I always feel him dancing beside me.






If My Son Mailed Me a Letter From Heaven

There was a time Joey lived far from home.   He would write me letters all the time hoping to close the gap of miles between us .  When I saw the envelope in the mailbox, I would start opening opening it before the mail box door even closed!  I would close my eyes and smell the letter.  I devoured every written word.  I would savor each sentence.  I  laughed as he shared his antics and fight back tears when he would tell me how much he missed us.  When I would get to the end, I felt as if I had finished an amazing best seller and couldn’t wait to read it again. Then, there was his consistent ending.  Whether it was a text, a letter,  the inside of a card,  he ALWAYS signed his letters the same, Your lil’ Angel, Joey. 

I started wondering, if Joey was able to write me a letter from Heaven, what would he write? I sit here in silence and let his words spill out on paper…

“Momma, I’m okay.  I REALLY am!  You should see this place!!!  It’s even better than I ever imagined!  I’m sorry I made you cry!  I would never hurt you, momma!  I really didn’t want to go.  I didn’t know I had to go.  If I knew, I would have hugged you a little longer the last time I saw you.  I would have let you hang on to me.  I would have told you not to worry, even though you would have!!  I would have waited until after Alix’s wedding.  I would have talked to Ares and Aubrianna more and made sure Anthony and Angela brought me up to them all the time.  I miss all of you, momma, but only in the physical sense.  I am still all around you!  You just don’t pay much attention sometimes. 

Remember when you thought you dreamt that I was sitting on the edge of the bed and we were talking?  Well, we really were, mom.  And those times you thought you smelled me in the kitchen…that scent of smoke and cologne?  That was me too!  I am even around Ant and Alix…tell them they need to pay more attention, too!  One day, a few days after I left, you were sitting outside with Anthony and you were starting to get in his business….Yes, momma, you get in our business but we know it’s because you love us.  Anyway, you were giving him a “talk’ when all of a sudden the sprinklers  came on and you both went running into the house..HAHA…yup that was me too!! No drama, momma!! Tell Anthony “You’re welcome!” 

I love that you can talk about me now with out crying that much.  I know that there will be days that are harder than others, but I also know that you will be OK.  You are strong mother!!  You stayed strong through all the crap I put you through!  That’s why I never wanted kids of my own, remember?  You would point your finger at me and say “Hell no, Joey!  You ARE having kids!  A boy just like you and a girl that DATES a boy just like you!!”  HAHAHAHA! Oh my goodness!   I’m sorry momma, I never left you a part of me.  I know how much that hurts you. But, I live inside Aubri and Ares!  When Alix has one of her own, I will live inside of them too.  Oh and tell her she BETTER name a boy ‘Joey’ after her big bro and if it’s a girl, it better be Josephina!  HAHAHAHA!” 

Never stop looking for me momma.  I am always looking after you. I am the one laughing the hardest at your silly jokes.  I sit beside you when you sleep.  I have my arms around you when you cry.  Don’t cry so hard anymore, momma.  I am always here.  

Love, your lil’ Angel, Joey