Strength (noun): the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force.

That force was around this time last year, June 29th to be exact.
I remember receiving the phone call around 10:45 that night last June.

Give me minute as I digress.
Last June we had the unexpected opportunity to fly home for a weekend, which just also happened to be Father's day weekend. The weekend was filled games, laughs and dinners with all three fathers in our family. Definitely a moment in time that our family needed, unknowingly.
A short two weeks later our worlds would be changed forever.

Back to the top. Joe and I had just spent a wonderful June summer day at the lake with two great friends, fishing, sangria sipping and really soaking in the beauty of upstate New York. On the way home we stopped on a scenic route to view the Helderberg Escarpment. We commented how we couldn't wait for Joe's stepfather to make a motorcycle trip the following spring, as the Escarpment would be at the top of our list to show Rex.

The phone call came late that night as Joe and I were sitting on the couch. As it rang, I remember Joe saying "Hmmm it's Mom". 
Something in my stomach immediately sunk. She never called this late and I knew it had to of been something bad. 
She asked for us to pray as Rex has just suffered a massive heart attack at home, and it didn't look good.

That night we lost an amazing part of our family. A part that we couldn't have back, wouldn't get to introduce grandchildren to, and a part of our hearts that could never be replaced. This year Joe's family has shown nothing but strength. Strength that was thrown into our lives like a horrific thunderstorm with a force that we hadn't properly prepared for. 

So many times we all asked why?
Why would He choose to take away Mary's love of her life?
Why would He take away our nieces and nephew's Paw Paw?
Why would He choose to take away Joe's hero?

He chooses to bring us to these hardships in life so that we may find our strength. 
In a way our family has become stronger. We enjoy the small moments together much more than we did in the past.
And sadly, we see each other much more often now than we did when Rex was with us. Master plan of sorts? Maybe.

This past Sunday we took a moment to remember Rex and reflect on all he gave us during the short time we had with him with a single red balloon. We went to the exact spot we were last year, knowing that Rex would have loved to see the beauty of the Helderberg Escarpment.

Moral of the story? Never take time for granted. It can be ripped away from you in an instant. Never have regrets or "What if's".

We miss you so much Rex, and we once again honor you this 4th of July weekend. Save us a good seat up in heaven.

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  1. It's always hard going thru things like this. I just lost an uncle last month to a heart attack and seeing it all right after it happened scared me for what seemed like forever. and it's great to remember the memories.

  2. Tears! This is a heartbreakingly beautiful post, remembering him- thank you for sharing him with us.

  3. All the tears my friend. This was so beautifully written.

  4. This. Is. Beautiful. Not that I'm surprised.

    Rex. Such a precious man in those pics and done so beautifully by you in these words. He'd be proud of how much love he's got in this world... Something I'm sure he's in heaven smiling about. Also, I will always think of you when I'm at my mom's house because she's got a fluffy little Rex of her own! :)

  5. Tears. I remember when you posted on this last year. So sorry for your loss. Thinking of your sweet family.