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Old February 11th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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Default A Mother's Recovery

I am starting a new thread, because most of what I have to say these days are sad, and some would not like to hear it. By posting on the good morning thread, you are reading sadness before you realize it.

In the next couple of month, I am going to share what is going through in my life. One because it helps me to put it to paper, but also because it might help one of you who has to deal with it, or with someone you love.

If this is inappropriate for the web site, I will gladly agree to not do it, without hurt.

Although from time to time, I will have to include my feelings for cruising, but as of this moment, I will never cruise again, without my baby, who loved it so much.

So get your Kleenex, and come along with me on my search for recovery.


Good morning from a sunny, but wind blown Texas.

Yesterday, as they say, I hit rock bottom. I started to cry, and could not stop. I knew I needed help, and fast. The wonderful people at the Crime Victims group recommended a couple of therapist in our area, so I got out the folder they gave me, and called the first one on the list. Now I have never had therapy, (I didn't say I have never needed it) so I really thought they would be booked up, but lo and behold, they had a cancellation.

I tried calling a few people to come and take me, but everyone was busy, so I drove myself. It's a good thing that God is my co-pilot, because I sure didn't drive the thing.

The first thing I had to do was fill out the paperwork. You know the kind where you tell about yourself. I always knew it would happen, but I was not ready to answer the question, "How many children do you have?" It then asked their names. (I can do this) I wrote Josh's name, then age, then "Does he live at home" yes

Then it was Joe's turn. I got his name and age down, but for the question about living at home. No he doesn't, but he also doesn't live away from home, so I put what any half crazed Christian would put. I said he lived in Heaven.

While I was waiting I noticed all the children also waiting. The little boy next to me was only 5 years old, and he looked like a pro at this waiting stuff. So sad to need help that young.

Once it was my turn, every stereo type came to mind. What would the room look like, and did it have a couch. I almost laughed when it had a love seat. lol He also does couples counseling, so I guess that's a good way to "trap" the couple in one area.

I was afraid I would have to tell him, once again, what happened, but small town, knows everything, helped me out. He in fact lives in Austin, in the area that it happened. His first question was who was I most mad at? Before I could answer, he said "You know it's okay to be mad at God" You know that is the one person I am not mad at. I am mad at the shooter, the girl who started this, and myself. I am also mad at Joe. The shooter and the girl is self explanatory, but myself for not protecting him, and Joe for not listening when I told him of the evil around us. Joe thought there was good in everyone. He thought a joke could bring anyone around. He didn't realize that we have many people who do not have that little voice that tells them that what they are about to do is wrong.

We then discussed meds for me. I am against meds, unless it is absolutely necessary. I am not suicidal. I would love to be with Joe, but I can't kill myself, and go to the place where he is, and I also have a wonderful hubby, and son, that still need me. He agreed that we would monitor the next couple of weeks, to see if therapy works without meds. That is not to say that meds are not for anyone. I just don't think they would help me do anything, but prolong the pain that I must go through to find normal again. I know that many have told me that there is no more normal, but yes there is, and I will find it. I am looking for the day that I only feel a bit of pain, when I am reminded of Joe, and not the kick in the gut feeling I have now.

He had to diagnose me for the military to pay. He put down that I have separation disorder. Joe was so "High Maintenance" that I worried about him from the time he was born, until now, and suddenly I don't have that worry, and my mind can't adjust to it. I think I will one day begin to understand that I don't have to worry so much, and that will give me normal. You noticed I said that I was still worried about Joe. Yes, I am. I have no doubt where he is, but I worry he is not behaving. This is the kid that once duct taped all the chairs together in the Theater Arts room, knowing they had to be moved. Now picture Joe in heaven.

My baby is gone and I accept that. Now I have to figure out how to live without him.

Have a good day all. Continue to pray for us.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 11:44 AM
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Luanne, God loves jokesters!! I love it that Joe duct taped the chairs!!
And, please don't ever apologize for how you feel - and feel free to PM me if you want to talk!!
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Old February 11th, 2009, 11:51 AM
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One tiny step at a time.....you took a giant one, the hardest one. This is a good place to start to help you make sense of it all and move forward in your love for Joe.

I don't see how anyone can object to you using the forum in this manner to help you heal. Cruisemates have been behind you from the second you needed us.....and will continue to be.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 12:11 PM
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Luanne; no complaints from me... if they don't like; they don't have to read it and can skip to the next thread....
let's just hope Joe doesn't find duct tape for the angels wings.....
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Old February 11th, 2009, 12:12 PM
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The process of grief is so personal, and different for many people. While watching some snippets of Caylee Anthonys funeral yesterday, I said to myself..I could never do it, the way they did, but, to each their own, in how they cope.

Some people seem to be able to come through it, seemingly very quick, while others, need much more time. There is no timetable for pain. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, it is what is, on any given day.

Luanne, your loss is so profound, and the circumstances so hard to take in. That you are able to come here since Joe's passing, and, let us walk this path with you, just amazes me. Your journal of remembrance, I am sure, will give much strength for others dealing with loss.

I have wanted so many times, to pick up the phone to call you, but I don't want to intrude in your day, knowing the time may not be the best to talk...

I hope the help you seek, will keep you strong, and feed your soul.
xoxxxoxoxoxo
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Old February 11th, 2009, 12:24 PM
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Bless you.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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My sympathy and prayers go out to you.

As far as I am concerned we are all here for one another.

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Old February 11th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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What to Keep, and What to give away.

You have heard the advice many times, about not making decisions before you have had time to think clearly. Before this happened, I could not understand what they were talking about. Of course
you are able to think clearly. It's not like you are asleep. But, yes in many ways, your brain does put you to sleep. You still look awake, but you cannot think like you might have before. My therapist yesterday explained that one side of the brain takes over, which causes you to not think everyday common sense things.

I have very little memory of that first week. I know that my brother was here. I know that some of Jim's family was here. I remember the house being full of people I had worked with for years. I remember looking at food, and either throwing up, or being completely turned off by it. I have always had a love affair with food, but that first week I had two cup cakes and a piece of bread. People would fix me food, and I would either give it to the dogs, or throw it away.

I remember Joe's room being a complete mess, and wanting to get in there to clean up, but not being able to. When we came home from our cruises, I begged Joe to unpack his suitcase, and place it in the hall to be put away, at the same time as the rest of them. Joe being Joe, dumped his stuff out on his bed and chair, and said "see suitcase is empty"

I was busy getting Jim ready for Iraq, and I guess I never went in there to see what a mess he had made.

Two things I knew I had to do. I wanted to clean out his room. I needed this, so that my mind could get use to the fact he was not coming back.

The other thing I wanted to do, was get his truck out of my sight. My dear friend took his truck to her house that first day. I will be forever grateful for that.

But the room had to wait. The day after all the family left, Jim started on Joe's room. At first it was to get rid of his clothes. Then it was getting rid of the bed, and then it was getting rid of his recliner. Goodwill was kind enough to pick up most of it. They do good things in this world, and I had no doubt they would make good use of Joe's things.

Many times, people try to hold on to the lost persons things. Again, I am not telling people what is best for them, but common sense says that if you plan to let go, then getting rid of stuff is a good start.

We also started giving things away to friends and family. We tried to pick out things that would mean something to them. His sweatshirt with the Name Russo went to Jim's brother who came here from Idaho not realizing that it gets cool here too.

We also had to make funeral plans. This is something I have never had to do. We were lucky to have a very nice funeral home down the street from us. They walked us through what we needed to know.

We did not make anymore decisions until after the fog cleared, which is what I call the way your thoughts feel.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 02:05 PM
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Luanne , I dont think anyone would have a problem with you venting and letting us know what your going through. You experienced a unthinkable tragedy that most of us could not even phathom. We have all told you since this happened we are here for you and will be as long as you will let us. God Bless
Andy
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Old February 11th, 2009, 02:22 PM
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Bless You Luanne - I am here for you always - at all times.
As are most of the Mates I am sure.

Your Joe sounds so like my Lizz - so busy at life that they can't be bothered to pick up....her room is always a whirlwind...but she is too busy living to be tend to things like clothes or dust - there is a song to be learned or sung and audtion to prep for - a rehearsal to rush too.
A friend that needs a hug - and smile.
Like your Joe - she needs more guidance and assistance then my other child. Must be that is a trait in the creative types.

Whatever steps you need to take for you to find your new normal we will walk with you! God is holding your hand and leading the way.
May you feel His grace and His peace and may they warm your soul and bring light to your path.

We love you!
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Old February 11th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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I have learned to hate and love the daily mail. Today is no exception.

I love receiving cards from people who care, who have thought enough of you to find a message that will make a difference in your life.

I hate the legal stuff we get in the mail. The letters from the DA's office scare me. I keep thinking they are telling us the shooter is free.

Today we got a letter from the bank. It was addressed to "The Estate of Joseph Russo" I had to smile, because Joe didn't have a pot to pee in as my grand mother use to say.

This was a letter telling us that they now accept the fact that Joe no longer needs a bank account, and they are transferring the grand total of $ 156.44 to our bank account. As I have said before, they wanted us to get a lawyer, and even go to probate in order for them to determine Joe didn't have several wives running around.

We cleaned his room, and found no wives, or the signs that any of his wives cleaned up the place.

I also realized that today makes it a month since his death. This is the longest I have ever gone without him.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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Luanne, you are a very courageous woman, and from all I've ever read on here a wonderful loving mom. I'm glad that you are reaching out to get whatever help you need. You always have had a gift for putting words together and sharing a story, and even in your grief that God-given talent shines through. I believe that is one of the ways that God is going to help you get through this. I certainly don't mind your sharing your thoughts with us.

My prayers and thoughts are with you.

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Old February 11th, 2009, 05:15 PM
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I also don't mind you using as much space and time as you need. I wish you the best of luck to find normal. We want only the best for you and your family.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 07:05 PM
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Hi Luanne,

I am sorry for your loss and the pain that comes with it. I cannot imagine it.

I know you said at this moment you'll never cruise again because your son loved it so much. I hope that this feeling is only temporary as I feel that your son would want you to go back to cruising and feel his spirit with you with each cruising day.

When you do cruise again, you can toast your son and smile knowing he'd be telling you to hurry up to the next show so you can get a good seat!

If posting your thoughts here helps you, I have no problem with that at all. Keep on going to your counselor and trust in them to see you through this as an extra support system in addition to us!

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Old February 11th, 2009, 07:31 PM
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Luanne,
I continue to be amazed by your strength. And just when I least expect it you make me laugh.....no wives found cleaning....
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Old February 11th, 2009, 07:46 PM
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Louanne,
Your idea to post your daily blog is wonderful. So many of us go through grief. You are so good at expressing feelings and telling your story. Maybe someday you can turn these feelings into a book. Even though we all grieve differently, sometimes it is helpful to read about how others deal with the stages.

Whatever you do don't shut yourself off or try to hide your grief. It is something that you have to go through.

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Old February 11th, 2009, 10:25 PM
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Luanne, if this is what you need to do to heal, then I am all for it.
I am also glad to see that through your grief, your sense of humour is still intact.

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Old February 12th, 2009, 12:46 AM
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As others have said, we cannot imagine your pain. But, the spirit that Joe had must have come from somewhere and that appears to be from you.

Counseling helped me through the loss of my husband and my sister - these people are kind and very good at what they do. Embrace their help.
And, a little dose of sleeping pills and a mild tranquilizer when needed can do wonders to clear your head - it's only temporary....it will not take away the deep pain but will get you through the next few hours until they become the next few days and on and on. You will not become addicted (that was my worry).

Nature will provide a "bubble" for a long time. You will not know what you are doing or saying and years from now someone will remind you and you won't remember a thing. But, through it all you are functioning, maybe not at your keenest level, but functioning - putting one foot in front of the other - that is all you need to do.

Have faith and courage - God will provide the strength.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 05:30 AM
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Luanne,

This is exactly the reason we are here,to support one another,especially in our hours of need.

Although most of us have no earthly idea what the rest of us look like, we are nevertheless not just like family, but in many respects we ARE family. We're that part of the family to whom you can pour out your heart and not have to worry about, "I can't say that, they'll think I'm crazy.

We all have experienced pain and loss but I dare say, most of us have never gone through what you have nor could many of us survive such an experience as well as you have.

We love you, we're there for you and we are so very proud of you. Whether it takes weeks, months or whatever, we are here to share and support in any way that we can. We'll provide those "E-hugs" that you'll so frequently need and maybe occasionally, we'll even be able to provide them in person.

Love,

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Old February 12th, 2009, 06:22 AM
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Luanne, You are amazing. Your sense of humor and love for your family shine through in your writing. Keeping a journal is a wonderful way to find comfort. Know that I am praying for you and your loved ones.

Laura
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Old February 12th, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Last night Josh finally reached out to us for help. As soon as the Dr's office opens, I am going to try and set up some appointments for him as well as a family appointment.

I think that in this case, we need to learn how to help each other.

I was a bit surprised at myself yesterday. No real melt downs. A few tears, but they stopped quickly.

A little fact that most of you have probably never thought of. It is possible to dehydrate if you are doing a lot of crying. When we perspire everyone knows to drink water, but with crying, you don't tend to think about it.

Last night some of Joe's friends came to find out where Joe is buried. We actually don't know either. I know that sounds strange. Let me explain. Joe was buried at the new military cemetery. They have the grave side service at the pavilion and then burial is done later.

When we get ready to go for a visit, we need to go to the information center, and they will tell us where to find him.

We have not been yet, because even though we had thought about it, we both figured it just wasn't time yet.

I still don't know what we will do as far as visitation is concerned. I know that some families go every week, and some go on holidays, and some, not at all.

This cemetery is maintained by the military organization, so it's not like we will have to cut the grass, or pull weeds.

The reason Joe qualified for burial there, is he was still a dependent of Jim's as he was not of legal age. One of these days Jim and I will also be buried there. I hope that Josh will one day have his own family, and can be laid to rest with his wife and family. At first this bothered me for him to be excluded, but that was before I realized that God willing, he will have many years ahead.

I know that the body in that casket is not my son. I know it is just the cute little shell that God gave him to live in.

He was so cute. Those eyes would melt your heart, and the smile would get him out of most of the trouble he found his self in.

I miss him so much. No one should ever have to bury your child. It is not natural.

It's funny that at times I find myself thinking when he comes home, I will tell him this, or that. Most of the time I know he is gone, but those little times, it is difficult to accept.

I am still in the process of putting together Joe's old room. As I said before, we took out his bed, and chair. We bought a little twin bed and I put my rocking chair in there as well.

As I was putting the bed together, I added extra pillows from our bed, and was looking in his closet for a pillow I got him for graduation. I found his regular pillows that were on his bed. They still smell like him. At first it made me cry, but now it is very comforting. It is also my special comfort, because I didn't mention it to Jim or Josh. One day the pillows won't smell like him, but hopefully by then, I will be ready to move on.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 11:38 AM
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luanne, that monster with the 14 children should be forced to read your messages -- they attest to what a mother should be. they validate the sanctity of life and of love. they bring things down to the love for one dear one needlessly lost, and to the grief over that loss. what a contrast between yourself and the whole beauty of motherhood and another who would have babies as 'things' to bring momentary fame and a bit of fortune. who is caught in the middle? the babies, of course. but not your son, no middle ground there, and not for you either. have you ever thought how your experience and the loss of your son put all of this mess in the news into perspective??? i certainly have, and i thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hombre
luanne, that monster with the 14 children should be forced to read your messages -- they attest to what a mother should be. they validate the sanctity of life and of love. they bring things down to the love for one dear one needlessly lost, and to the grief over that loss. what a contrast between yourself and the whole beauty of motherhood and another who would have babies as 'things' to bring momentary fame and a bit of fortune. who is caught in the middle? the babies, of course. but not your son, no middle ground there, and not for you either. have you ever thought how your experience and the loss of your son put all of this mess in the news into perspective??? i certainly have, and i thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Joe was a mircle baby. I unlike the mother of 14 could not have children. God sent me two in one year. That mother in Calif. could do the right thing, and share those babies with others. So many mom's to be, are crying out for someone to love. There is love out there. I hope the Cal mom will do the right thing.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 12:04 PM
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Everyone please feel free to share your thoughts. One of the biggest complaints of mothers who have lost children is that people around them are afraid to speak, because they will say the wrong thing.

The wrong things have already been said around me, and guess what. It does not hurt. (You wouldn't believe the people who say, "I'm going to kill him, or her") in their everyday life.

I am also not contagious. Just because I have lost one of mine, does not mean that you will loose one too.

Yesterday the therapist used one of his visual aids to explain how the brain works. He had a little green brain that we call stress balls. (every teacher I know has one) He was explaining that one side of the brain takes over for the other side. I lost it, because of course, Joe was shot in the head. He felt bad, and I did too but only for a minute.

I come to all of you for your support. I am selfish, because I simply can not go this alone, and neither can anyone else, if they are smart about what it takes to heal.

I also love to hear about your kids. Your families, your lost loved ones.

I would love to join a support group, but there are none in my area. I might one day start one, but I am not strong enough yet.

You all are my support group.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 12:28 PM
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i agree wholeheartedly. the only 'right thing' to do now is give those babies over to folks who will love them and raise them right. once they were conceived, implanted, or omg whatever, they were people, children. abortion was out of the question, as a catholic priest, retired, i believe that with every fibre in my body. the time to act responsibly and morally was before this all began, and sadly the 'mother' thought only of her perceived needs, not those of her children. i tend to leave 'society' out of it because the excuse of 'society' is so often a cover for personal responsibility. morality comes from within every person. i don't hate the 'mother,' but i am profoundly sad for her and for for every person who has to find love at the horrible expense of others -- in this case the babies and every one around her. she'll never 'buy' into this, because she is totally self-absorbed; to her, those who decry this whole thing are simply uninformed, insensitive, or 'not connected' to her needs. she needs help badly, but i suspect she won't seek it because she feels no need to do so. let us pray that pressures are put upon her to do the right thing, and that is to give those babies to families that yearn for kids to love and nurture. oh, let us pray, indeed. fr. doug
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Old February 12th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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Mike,

Did you make me a sticky? Someone did and I appreciate it so much.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Okay, I am dressed, but still can't get up enough nerve to leave the house. I am trying to take it slow, and only plan one or two things, but it is so hard to do.

One side of me says stay in your comfort zone, but the common sense side of me knows it is best that I relearn to mix with the rest of the world.

Another common problem with mom's who have lost their baby is you don't feel part of the rest of the world any more. You look around and wonder how these people can laugh, and shop, and eat, when your baby is gone.

In some cases people feel like they are being watched. Like somehow people know that they are grieving, but in my case it is true. That good old small town thing again. Plus my name being the only one in the phone book. Why couldn't I have married a man named Smith?

Okay, enough stalling. I can do this......
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Old February 12th, 2009, 01:23 PM
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Luanne,

I am praying for you everyday. I know I don't say anything often but I felt like I should let you know. The smell of your son on the pillows? I understand that. I understand it because when I lost my dad I slept with his favorite sweatshirt because it smelled like him. I was careful not to sleep on it, just to have it next to me, because I didn't want it to smell like me but like him. My mother thought I was sick, my grandmother understood, little did I know at the time she was using his jacket for the same reason. God is good though, that was evident when one day my husband accidently washed my father's sweatshirt. When I first found it in the clean laundry, my throat swelled and my eyes pooled, but I heard God say in my heart, "You have your memories to hold you til eternity, this is but a material thing, I will fill your void until you and your dad are together again." Strangely enough for the first time in many months I felt peace, even though the smell was gone. God and God alone will let you know when you no longer need the pillows. The same thing with the graveyard visitation. It took me two years to go and once I did I realized I didn't want to visit a body when the spirit had gone. Everyone is different. We all heal differently. I will continue to pray for you and your family with constant faith in the knowledge that with God all things are possible even you getting up in the morning, getting dressed and making venturing to the grocery store. I know with Him you can do it.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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Luanne,
A sweet little birdy, pm'ed me & asked if it would be ok to do this. Since Cruisemates is a supportive and loving community, it seemed like the only thing to do... remember every step you take on this path, it's crowded with all of us
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Old February 12th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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Well, I made it. I got my hair cut, and cried with the staff. They knew Joe very well, and said he use to come down there, and turn up the radio and sing for them. That's my baby.

Grocery shopping was worse. I was getting tired, and saw so many things I would have bought for Joe. He was a picky eater, so normally I would buy him things he liked.

They also knew Joe. either from school, or their kids went to school with him, or in one case a mother who's son was in 101 Dalmatians with Joe as one of the puppies. She said her son got in Joe's lap before the performance, and Joe told him how not to be scared. Lord knows what he told him. I suppose we were being pictured without our clothes on or something.

I miss him so bad. I just want all of this to be a nightmare.

Oh Joe, I miss you baby............................
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