It has been a rough week, as expected in many ways. Many people have asked how Joey has held up this year, since he has classically shown signs of missing Josh. He still did this year and is able to verbalize things a bit more which as I have mentioned in the past is heart warming and heartbreaking all at the same time. Joey has displayed some major clingy and needy behavior towards Phil and I especially when we are going to leave. I take Joey to a park district on Wed. and Thurs. while I teach for 2 hours and he has not had any issues since the first few weeks over a year ago, but this past week he has cried when I was gone and told me that he was when I returned. Upon discussing Josh with the day care ladies their eyes bugged out and said "That is it! I remember you saying that before, and it is so true! He hasn't been like this before and he just started it last week." Joey has had issues (throwing up) when not allowed to sit on one of our laps during a meal, a behavior we don't encourage. In addition Joey has cried like an infant, even screaming at times throughout the night. The night of the 12th and 13th he was up almost every hour needing consoling. And his naps were much of the same (when he's been taking them...another story). Joey is able to talk about him more, and one day coming home from work he pointed out our house as we were driving down the block and said "I live there, and you and Daddy, and Jill too." I said "What about Java, and Josh?" He said "Java live there, but not Josh. Josh is in heaven with Jesus." There are many, many more examples I could give you over the past week that Joey has shown of missing and knowing Josh is gone, but don't want to type forever. One final sweet thing on the night of the 13th after baths, Joey went in his room with Daddy and got his pj's on. When Jillian and I walked in he was donning the Corduroy the Bear pajamas that Josh had received from his Grandma but were too big for him to fit into. They are 2T's and fit Joey perfectly. I walked in and he said "I'm wearing these for Josh!" Joey definitely has a bond with his brother that is special and one that I will never even know completely.
We went downstairs and popped in the video that we posted on the blog. The video of Josh's life that Phil and I worked feverishly on up until the minute we left for Josh's wake. Joey and Jillian would point to the tv and say "that's Josh!" or Joey would say "Look its me and my brother Josh!" We let the kids play and had the video on for a short while until Mickey became their priority. After they went to bed Phil and I watched the video and reminisced. Earlier that day we brought food to the NICU staff like we did last year, to honor their work and love for our family and all the other families that pass through the NICU. We keep in touch with a few and are blessed that they still remember and talk about Josh quite a bit as well.
Monday we decided to celebrate the family that we have. We brought some flowers to Assumption and Joey and Jillian enjoyed being outdoors and going into the chapel to light candles. We then headed to the Children's Museum to let them play and have fun. We had never been there before and there was a lot for both of them to do and keep their interest. After lunch at Stir Crazy, one of our favorite places, we headed back home for Joey and Jillian to nap. I received a phone call from Tina, one of the NICU nurses who was one of Josh's primaries. We had already seen Bethany, his night primary nurse from the NICU the previous Sunday, so it was nice to talk to both of them. Tues. night we had a Family Advisory Council Meeting at the hospital and I went out for a drink with Tina and we talked for a good long time. It was very nice to catch up, reminisce, and comfort each other. Tina had lost her sister at the same time Josh passed away and was unable to make it to his funeral because she was in Florida where her sister lived. So we both feel a connection to each other at this time and know we feel Josh's love pulling us together. Of course I was on my way home when I realized I got a text from Bethany who was up in the NICU wondering why I didn't go and visit her since I was at the hospital for the meeting. She is helping us plan our Disney trip since she is Ms. Disney and got Josh and Joey their first Mickey dolls, and Jillian her first Minnie (which as we all know she loves!). I am glad to see her on Friday again as well.
Anyways, sorry to ramble off subject, but thank you all for the comforting wishes and thoughts. We hope that Josh is remembered every day as we remember him each and every day, but know that at this time we feel his absence even more and relive what the night of March 13 and early hours of March 14 have left us.
To keep catching up here, this past weekend we went to Arlington Race Track with Grandma, Auntie Christy, Andrew, and Emma and saw all the rescue dogs. Grandma seems to be getting the itch to look at and soon get a new dog...probably puppy! So it was a lot of fun to watch the kids pet all the dogs. The warmer weather allowed us to take Joey's bike outside and see how he does on the pavement. He does really well! He biked all the way to the park and already seems to know the way on his own. He had one spill on the downhill home the first time, but now knows that he needs to apply the breaks a little bit to keep in control. His bike is now officially an outside bike and he is loving it. Now if we could keep the weather warm! Jillian has also been enjoying the outside time, playing with Joey's older bikes, chalk, the little slide in our yard, and even taking a turn at t-ball.