Today is it. It was day +50 and Joseph spiked a fever. We spent the day in the clinic and they decided to admit him for IV fluids. We thought he just wasn't drinking enough. I actually scolded him. And I was mad because I knew I was going to likely miss a trip to Florida that I had planned to meet up with some friends. He never came home again. I actually had a good day yesterday and wasn't thinking about this particularly anniversary. Its like my body knows. I woke up feeling off and emotional. I looked at the date, had a suspicion, looked at my journal on Joseph's caringbridge page and exhaled. A year ago today God started easing him out of our arms.
My heart is so heavy. Life looks so different now. He's been gone so long and yet it feels like yesterday. I wish so much things had turned out differently. I was wrapping presents last night for Christmas and discovered tubes of wrap that I had stubbornly bought last year in my determination to be positive, get through Christmas and hopefully bring Joseph back home. I don't think I can use those rolls again. It hurts just to see the patterns on the paper.
I did hear something on the radio yesterday that I turned over in my head all day and that turned my eyes toward hope. The morning radio show I listen to was talking about ghosts and haunted houses and people were calling in to tell their stories. It was mindless, interesting listening, until this one lady called in. She stated she didn't believe her house was haunted, but did believe she gets visits from time to time from her daughter, who died 9 years ago at the age of 4. She woke up one morning crying because her head hurt so badly. After what I can only imagine was hysteria at the escalating pain and franticly trying to decide what to do, the little girl opened her eyes, looked across the room and pointed, stating "Heaven! Oh Mommy, Heaven! Its so BEAUTIFUL!"...and then closed her eyes and a few minutes later breathed her last. So sudden and so sad. She had an aneurysm.
I hope it was like that for Joseph. Beautiful. Peaceful. Wonderful. Full of puppies and other kids, particularly the little ones he was so good at entertaining, and a sweet girl to pal around with like he was beginning to yearn for toward the end. Nick turns 13 on Thursday and is now about my height. I wonder how tall Joseph would now be. He will be forever 13 in my mind's eye.
Today, then December 11th, the day he went to ICU and was put on the respirator, then December 23rd, the last day we had any conscious, deliberate communication from him. And then January 10th will come, and it will be a full year since he flew beyond where I can see.
I don't feel desolate about Christmas nor without hope for the future. But I am inexorably sad and old inside. I miss him.