Monday, August 3, 2009

Joe

It's been exactly a week now since you left this earth and I whispered my final goodbyes in your ear. While I'm working on accepting your absence it doesn't make the empty feeling in my chest any easier to bear. Some days there are happy memories, smiles and laughter. Other days there's only an aching, hollow feeling and concern for all those dear to you that were left behind.

Yesterday at your funeral we came together as a family and shared those memories with all the people that loved you. I'm going to post the words I spoke for you here. Not because I think you can read them, but because I know I'll need the reminder in the days to come that beyond the sadness I need to remember to be thankful for the days and years we did have together.

Today as I look back on the events of the past week I feel awash with emotion… anger, sorrow, confusion and heartbreak. But as I look inside for the right words to put on this piece of paper I also find beneath it all, stronger then all the other emotions a sense of thankfulness.

I am so very thankful to have had Joe in my life. To have known him personally is a gift that I will forever treasure. I was blessed to have in-laws that welcomed me with unconditional love right from the start. And I’m sure that was no easy feet considering I was a headstrong high schooler at that point.

I am thankful to have shared a love for many of the same interests as Joe.. music, photography and graphic design. This brought the opportunity for one on one conversations that enriched my world.

I am thankful that Joe was the kind of father that modeled love, support and compassion through his own actions. I value those characteristics and know that as a member of the Andersen family those will always be the foundation we build upon.

I am thankful to Webster for writing the oh so important Spanish – to English dictionary. He gave a shy Midwestern boy the words he needed to charm a beautiful Mexican girl into falling in love with him. So much of who Joe was, was the result of who Joe was when he was with Luz. I am so very thankful that they found each other.

I am thankful that Joe has left behind pieces of himself that I’m still able to enjoy every day. I see all the wonderful aspects of his personality in his children and grandchildren. In Reyna I see his passion for family. She is the loving and supportive parent that everyone around her strives to emulate. In Aaron I see so much of Joe, his natural musical aptitude and his deep devotion to the art of creating and celebrating music. I also experience daily the commitment to our marriage and families that is a direct reflection of his father’s modeling. Lia carries with her Joe’s silent strength. She’s never one to put her baggage on anyone’s shoulders but her own… yet if you need support, she’ll be the first in line to offer it. Jesse is all that was good and beautiful about Joe. His lust for life and his deep sincerity are inspiring and I thank Joe for allowing me to see that even more clearly these past few days. Julia has her Grandpa’s rhythm and sense of timing. I hear his encouragement every time her hands grace the piano. Jaden was Grandpa Joes’ most vital medicine these past few years. They share the same optimistic attitude to get right back up when someone knocks you down… No time wasted on tears. In Tristan I see Joe’s electrifying smile.

I am thankful that Joe no longer has to suffer through treatments, tests and hospital visits. I would take back those days in a heartbeat but I know that’s a selfish wish.

I am thankful for all the many songs that Joe wrote and recorded. He left us all so many gifts which we can listen to and enjoy over and over again.

But most of all I am thankful simply for Joe. I love you and miss you so very much.


** If you have been following my blog for a while now you already know a good deal about my father-in-law Joe and his battle these past three years with cancer. Joe's stem cell transplant was very successful and he was doing well until an infection took hold a few weeks ago. His death was very sudden and unexpected as he was in remission from the cancer. If you called or emailed me recently my apologies if I have not yet responded. I appreciate your understanding and patience as Aaron, his family and I work through these difficult times. My assistants are working hard in the studio to keep all of your work on time for delivery. I hope to be back on track before long.


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This next photo was taken at Cadillac Joe's benefit we put together last Christmas '08... Aaron playing with his dad.

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3 comments:

Karmen Lindner said...

What a beautiful tribute, J. No other words could of said it better. I feel your sorrow, yet I smile at the same time. His music will live forever. You are so very lucky for that priceless gift. Hugs to you and Aaron and your whole family.

~K

Justyna Nielsen said...

Jennifer, my deepest heartfelt sympathy for you and your family. What a wonderful man Joe must have been. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dan said...

Jennifer, Kelli and I wanted to pass along our deepest sympathies to you and your family. It sounds like your father-in-law was an amazing person. We are very sorry for your loss.