Joe

Yesterday morning my Uncle Joe passed away. It wasn’t unexpected – he had been battling dementia and other health problems for several years and was admitted to hospice over the weekend – but it has been every bit as bittersweet as you would imagine. On one hand there is such relief from knowing that he isn’t suffering anymore. He’s not confused. He’s not agitated. He’s not frustrated.

He’s free.

Even still – in the most earthly, temporal way – Joe’s death leaves a void in our family. He was, as long as any of us can remember, the fun uncle. He always laughed the loudest, cracked the most jokes, stirred up the most mischief. He loved being outside – especially on the water – and I can’t even begin count the number of Sunday afternoons when he was at the helm of his boat, pulling one of the family young’uns on an inner tube or water skis or whatever happened to be hooked to the ski rope. He liked to FLOOR IT so that the front end of the boat was at what felt like a 90 degree angle, and right now, if I think really hard, I can hear the way he would laugh when we would HOLLER with excitement. He was such a blast.

Joe was a storyteller, and he was usually the life of the party. When he walked in a room, you were likely to hear a chorus of people saying “JOE!” to greet him. As a result of that, Alex actually believed for the first four or five years of his life that his great-uncle’s name was “JOE!” He never, ever said it without the exclamation point at the end. Neither did the rest of us, come to think of it. Joe was larger than life, kind as could be and one of the least critical people I’ve ever known. He was just as tickled as he could be to see other people happy. And even after the dementia started to take over, he never met a stranger. He might not have the foggiest idea who you were, but by diggity he would treat you like you were one of his closest friends. We all loved that about him.

Night before last my cousin Paige and I were reminiscing about some of our favorite JOE! moments, and after a few minutes Paige passed the phone to my aunt. We talked for a little bit, and just as Choxie was getting ready to hang up so that she could talk to some friends who had stopped by to visit, she said something that I will never forget: “He’s been a mighty sweet husband.” I know that Paige and Benji would say that he was a mighty sweet daddy. That legacy will last.

A couple of years ago at the beach, Joe spent a lot of time in one of the chairs on the balcony. He was fascinated by the water and kept talking about what a “big lake” the Gulf was. As it turned out it was his last family trip, but nobody knew that for sure at the time. One night after supper my aunt and I were sitting around, running through the geneaology of my hometown, connecting long-forgotten dots between families. And about that time Joe opened the door to the balcony, looked up, and said, “Come here. That, that…” and he pointed to the sky in frustration as he searched for the word that he needed, for the word that would not come.

So my aunt and I walked outside, and we looked toward the sky, and Joe said, “Looka there. It’s shining right down on that water.”

Sure enough, there was the moon. In fact, it was the most stunning, full moon I’d ever seen, hitting the Gulf like a spotlight. So we stood there, and we stared, and we sighed. It was beautiful.

In the last few weeks I’ve thought over and over again about that night at the beach. And yesterday, when I read Paige’s early-morning text that her daddy was finally at peace, one of the first things that came to my mind was that Joe not only knows the moon now – he has seen the One who made it.

He has seen the One who made it.

Amen.

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Comments

  1. Your uncle sounds like he was a lot of fun. Sorry for your loss and you are so right has has now seen the One who made the moon.

  2. Good-bye to JOE! Your sense of humor is living on long and strong in Sophie.

  3. Mary Kat's Mom says:

    These sweet memories will carry all of you through really tough times. The Lord will hold you all through this. I loved these memories you shared. Thank you and I’m really sorry for the loss of JOE!

  4. You’r Uncle Joe sounds a lot like my uncle Joe. They are both with the One who made the moon. Thanks for the laugh and the tears :)

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss, Sophie.

  6. Oh that gave me chills! I’m so sorry for your loss.

  7. I am so sorry. What a beautiful, touching memory you shared. Something to treasure forever.

  8. What a lovely man he was. Thank you for sharing those memories with us. He has seen the One, and praise God.

  9. Sorry to hear of your loss. He sounds like a GREAT man!!! Brings tears to my eyes. But it is wonderful to know that he is no longer frustrated and confused! My grand father passed away from Alzheimers (sp?) and it was such a relief in a way to know he was finally free! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Luckily your memories of him will be forever!

  10. Beautifully written. My own Uncle Joe passed in March and this brought back a flood of emotion. My uncle was in pain for 5 years after a horrific accident. God brought him home in the kindest way. Praying for your family.

  11. Oh, that was amazing. To think he has seen the One who made it. That is just such a beautiful realization. God bless your family. I will keep you all in my prayers.

  12. I am very sorry for your loss. He sounds like an awesome guy and he left you some great memories!

  13. My Papaw passed away 3 weeks ago. This post made me cry for the first time since I heard the news. I haven’t been able to cry because he went so quickly that I can’t be sad that he didn’t suffer and is now with Jesus.
    You and Alex certainly got some of JOE!’s humor and love for life and people. Thank you for sharing JOE! and yourself with us. It’s a delight to come here and laugh with you! I’ll be keeping your family in my prayers.

  14. What a beautiful tribute to JOE! (This was probably some of your best writing.) How blessed to have such wonderful memories to draw out of your memory bank. I am so sorry for your loss. God Bless you sweet girl.

  15. Joe sounds like a blessing to your family and to echo another comment, thanks for sharing the laughs and the tears with all of us. God bless to you and your family and the next full moon, you can bet I’ll say hello to JOE!

  16. Mary Helen says:

    Amen! And praise God for that!

    I am sorry about your uncle Joe. He sounded like a wonderful man!

  17. AMEN! I’m so sorry for your loss, Sophie.

  18. I’m so sorry for your loss. That was a beautifully written tribute. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  19. What a lovely eulogy in remembrance of your uncle. It is bittersweet–death was not how things were meant to be. But at least there is that sweetness. May you feel God’s presence with you as you grieve the time before you see him again.

  20. I’m so sorry for your loss but thanks for sharing your sweet memories of your Uncle Joe. Sounds like a great sense of humor runs in th family!

  21. Beautiful.

  22. Tear came to my eyes as I read this. It reminded me of my grandfather. He (and my grandmother) passed away a couple of years ago, now. It is hard to let them go, but I know they are with the Lord and that helps ease the pain.

    I will be praying for you and your family.

  23. So sorry for your family’s loss, Sophie. Hope the next few days will be times of laughter and closeness and wonderful memories for all of you, along with the inevitable grief and sadness.

  24. What a beautiful tribute; I’m so sorry for your loss.

  25. “He has seen the One who made it”….

    That stopped me in my tracks.

    Amen and Amen.

  26. What a touching tribute to your uncle. So sorry for your loss.

  27. What a reason to praise Him!

    Congratulations to your sweet Uncle Joe! Praying for the family who loved him so.
    God bless you Miss Sophie!

  28. Katherine says:

    So very sweet, Sophie. Thanks for sharing him (and Him!)with us!

  29. Amen and Amen!! What a great thought!

  30. What a beautiful tribute to your uncle. He sounds like a wonderful man. I am sorry for your loss, but rejoice with you that he is with the One that made the moon.

  31. AMEN, sister. What an awesome ending to a fun life – to MEET the One who made the moon.

    Praying for you and yours…

  32. I am so sorry for your family’s loss, but I rejoice with you that your uncle is with our Jesus. Thank you for giving us a peek into his life. I know he was so proud of all of you. I’ll be praying for y’all.

  33. Yes, ma’am. He and my Daddy are probably already exchanging stories like two long, lost friends.

  34. Gosh, I wasn’t expecting to cry and then there I went tearing up with the lump in my throat and all.

    I love how he went by JOE! Bet that’s how the Lord addressed him too.

  35. Lovely remembrance

  36. My Uncle Shorty was the Joe! in our family. He passed away last month. He was my Daddy’s older brother and the fun one in the family. He had lived a wild life and told us hilarious stories from those days. He accepted Christ 2 weeks before he died. I’m so glad that both our uncles are with the One who made the moon now.

  37. I am a faithful reader but first time commenter. . .

    this post brought me to tears. I have no idea who Joe was other than your uncle. But the fact that he is with the Maker of that big, beautiful “that, that” is just breath-taking.

    God bless.

  38. Powerful and incredibly beautiful.

    I’m so sorry for your loss :(

  39. :*-(

  40. That just gave me chills :). It sounds like he was a great man! Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

  41. So sorry for your loss, Sophie.

    Beautiful tribute to a special man.

  42. You have written such a beautiful tribute to your Uncle. He will always live on in your (and the family’s) memories.

    My Uncle ANDY! passed away last year at this time. He was very much like your JOE!

    Thanks so much for sharing with us. It is such an incredible, warming and loving thought that they are now with the One who made the moon.

  43. What a beautiful remembrance of a life so very well lived. So sorry for the loss to your family.

  44. Awesome, awesome post. That should win some kind of literary prize. Seriously, it was beautimous.

  45. Sophie

    I am sorry incredibly to hear of the loss in the family.My Uncle Fred sounds much like your Uncle Joe.Many {{{hugs}}}

  46. I will definitely want to meet JOE! and ski behind his boat in Heaven.

  47. You Uncle Joe sounds like a wonderful man. So sorry for your loss. What a special memory to have of him.

  48. What beautiful memories of a special uncle. We are so blessed to have wonderful family memories. Praise Him.

  49. He sounds like someone I would have LOVED. I am so sorry for your loss. Your family is in my prayers.

  50. So sorry for your loss. What a wonderful post about what seems like a terrific man. Hope you those memories keep you up through these next days, and that you continue to tell the stories to keep him alive for your family. Hugs to you all.

  51. Beautiful. Thank You, Jesus, for family and for sweet people like Sophie’s Uncle Joe who bring a little bit of heaven to earth. I pray peace and joy for this family in the midst of their grieving. Thank You, Lord.

  52. Kate Barnett says:

    Love this post and love you! I just lost my grandmother (my “Gaggie”) and so it hit close to home. Sorry for your loss but happy for your memories.

  53. Amen. What a precious tribute!

  54. my mom went to be with Jesus in June. So of course, your post struck a chord with me. I’m sorry for your loss. And yet happy for his gain. tears.

  55. Pat in Birmingham says:

    This post really hit home with me. We lost my dad in June to Parkinson’s, and he had the dementia that is sometimes associated with that disease. Your description of Uncle Joe’s confusion is so familiar. Daddy, too, was the life of our family, and we are blessed with thousands of funny stories of the mischief he instigated. We are also blessed to know that he is now with the One who made that beautiful moon and conquered all disease. Praise Him Who is Able!

  56. Oh Sophie, what an amazing post! I’m so very sorry for your loss. My heart aches with you as I type this. Yet, when I read your last words, I rejoiced.

    Praying you and your precious JOE!’s family find comfort and joy in the One Who called him home and precious memories fill each of you.

    Much love.

  57. May God bless you and your family!

  58. Awww Soph, beautifully said!! It IS so sad!! Sure wish I could be with y’all today!!
    Hugs and kisses to all!!

    Luv ya,
    Janie

  59. He sounds like a hoot! Easy to see why you loved him so much. One thing I’ve learned in my short 30 yrs is that it doesn’t matter how “good” the timing is for someone to go Home, it still stings. Praying for your family…

  60. What a sweet, moving triubte. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  61. WOW! This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful tribute to your uncle! I feel like I know him by your description of him. Of course I do, because we all seem to have someone like that in our lives. I am so sorry for your loss, but as you have already done, remember all of the wonderful memories you have had with him and know that he is now, as you say, with the One who created the moon!

  62. Wow…beautiful post. Praying for your family.

  63. What a wonderful tribute to your uncle Joe! I am still hanging on the words, the One who made it! Praying for you and your family.

  64. What a beautiful tribute to your Uncle Joe! So sorry for your family’s loss, but so happy that he has now seen the One who made the moon and that you all will see him again one day.

  65. This made me remember my fun uncle as well.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful tribute. I know he will be missed, but I am thankful he is with The One.

  66. My heart. Thinking of you.

  67. Praise the Lord for the true peace he gives his children even in times of death. Your uncle sounds like a wonderful man and this post was such a beautiful tribute, but that last line was worth reading the whole post over and over again for. Thank God that one day, hopefully very soon, we will all meet the ONE who made it.
    Thanks for you beautiful post Boomama. You and your family are in my prayers.

  68. Your last line made me cry. I am so sorry for your family’s lost, but so excited for JOE!

  69. So sad and so precious all wrapped up in one!

  70. AMEN.

  71. This was SO beautifully written and brought tears to my eyes!! So sorry for your loss!!

  72. I love this story, isnt it nice to have so many fond memories to look back on. My step father passed away 3 wks ago and he also had dementia but what took him home was that he went in for knee replacement 2 months ago and it all went down hill from there. We would sure love to have him back to tell him the same thing for the 10th time he would ask it because he had forgot! We sure should not take one breath for granted! Who knows he and uncle JOE! may be up there looking down and reminiscing at this very moment!!!

  73. Sophie-I am sorry for your loss. What a beautiful post. Thank you Jesus that our hope is in You.

  74. Sophie, I’m so sorry to hear about his passing. The one time Annie and I saw him at your parents’ house, he was just as sweet as could be. I know you’re all missing him so much. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

  75. OH Boo,

    So sorry for the loss of your precious JOE! So thankful that he knew the One who made the moon and left you a treasure trove of JOE! moments to remember.

  76. Dear Sophie,

    I am thankful that you and your family have been given the gift of knowing that Uncle Joe! knew his Creator.

    It is indeed a blessing to mourn, not as those who have no hope.

    Warmly,
    Monique

  77. What a blessing his life seems to have been to all of you who were fortunate to have known him….family and friends. Wonderful post in his memory…thanks for sharing!

  78. Beautifully written, Sophie!! Sorry for your family’s loss… thinking of you and sending hugs your way!

  79. SOPHIE!
    You carry JOE! on… and will… until you both see Him face to face Who made the moon shining out the window here over the fields… can you imagine the Joy?

    My prayers are with you tonight….

    All’s grace,
    Ann

  80. God bless you as you grieve for Joe in this life.

  81. You KNOW I have been praying for you all, esp. Choxie, Paige, and Benji. I told Jody earlier tonight that Joe reminded me of my daddy because he NEVER got mad and was ALWAYS in a good mood. He IS with the Creator God, and I hope he, Rosie, and Richard are laughing. :-)

  82. What a wonderful tribute to your uncle. It reminded me of the time just before my grandmother passed away when my mother said, “I bet you cant wait to see blackie again”. Blackie was my papaws nickname that everyone called him. She just smiled, looked my mom in the eyes and said… “I cant wait to see Jesus”!

    Love and Prayers for your family,

    Tim

  83. “He has seen the one who made it.”

    This game me goosebumps. So beautiful.

    Prayers with your family.

  84. Mary Craig says:

    Goodness! What a beautiful post! I am so sorry for your loss. :( I am weeping right now!

  85. So sorry for the void here and rejoicing with those who already in Glory at having your Uncle JOE! with them now. We are definitely spiritual beings having human experiences – and sounds like Joe’s spirit was bigger than one mortal body could hold. I lost my father years before he died – Alzheimer’s robbed him of his memories and even knowing his children or wife – but he was known as Sweet Old Bob in the alzheimer’s unit
    all that rambling to say – bless you sweet friend for sharing yet another tender moment from your family with us – your fanily!

  86. A beautiful and moving tribute to JOE!

    “He has seen the One who made it”…. Amen.

  87. Wonderfully written. And, I can’t help but think of the weird coincidence that a lifelong family friend (not a blood uncle, but an uncle just the same), on the very same day….with the very same name….passed away, also. The world has lost a couple of good Joes. The memories will live on!

  88. Thanks for the memories you shared. You brought tears and chills with your last statement. To think that the Maker of the Moon knows my name and loves me is beyond my comprehension. I’m glad JOE! knew Him, too. Prayers for you family right now.

  89. I so love your last statement….”.He has seen the One who made it!”
    What a precious thought! Thanks, Sophie!

  90. Karen in CA says:

    Oh Sophie, what a beautiful tribute to your uncle. You are so lucky to have all those memories of him. And now, he’s living what we can only dream of. . .he’s seeing Jesus face-to-face. May these thoughts comfort you and your family as you grieve. I love your blog.

    Karen

  91. i’m so sorry for your loss.

  92. Thanks for sharing such sweet memories of your Uncle Joe. Now we’ve all been blessed a little bit by his life too. May God fill you and your family with His peace.

  93. What a wonderful tribute to a life well lived! I am so sorry for your loss.

  94. There is something so beautiful and so sad when death arrives. I’d love to know what JOE and the Creator are talking about tonight. Thanks for sharing Sophie. Saying a prayer over your family now.

    ((hugs))
    Fran

  95. Well, Peach, you know who’s teared up now but smiling too!!! Nothing like when we headed to the funeral home with a tornado warning in the north and dark clouds with rain all around then the biggest RAINBOW shining through all of that. I know daddy was revvvvvving his boat in heaven. We will miss him and his sweet spirit. xoxoxoxo
    Cuz

  96. oh, sophie.

    your joe sounds a lot like my dad.

    except for the part that my dad didn’t have dimentia.

    and any ‘dimentia’ he may have had could probably have been attributed to all the alcohol.

    i’m sure they would have been great friends. in fact, they’re probably ethereal friends now (my dad died a year ago last week).

    i’m sorry for your loss, bigmama. he sounds like one of god’s finest, not unlike my dad (alcohol withstanding).

    xo

  97. Amen.

    And also, love you, Sophie.