I went digging through all of Joe’s drawing pads, notebooks, folders. I just knew there were sketches somewhere I hadn’t seen. I remember him working at his desk or sitting outside. He always told me he couldn’t come up with original work but could copy any picture. He was wrong because I’ve seen some of the things he thought up in his mind and they were pretty good. But he did really have a gift for re-creating the lines around someone’s eyes as his pencil followed the face he saw in front of him.
I was desperate to see him, to feel him and I knew if I could only find some of his drawings I could get inside the mind I miss so much.
I found pages torn out, I knew immediately they were drawings he had ripped up and started new on the next page, then probably tore that one too. He left a slab of wood, half painted in the garage. He was working on it for my brother, they were going to build a bar. It’s half of the Brooklyn bridge and leading into other life events. It’s almost more beautiful to me to see his thoughts in mistaken pencil lines. There are still paint brushes matted with old paint, I haven’t had the heart to rinse them off. An old rocking chair he was going to re-paint for Mira, not done. Canvases splashed with ideas but never finished.
I felt my heart sinking as I realized there may not be more drawings. I had seen the last of his beautiful mind. The projects will forever sit un-done.
But then I found it. Not what I was looking for but something I didn’t even know existed.
It’s his hand-written notes, his rawest thoughts and fears as his mind tried to wrap around the word cancer and the horrific change his life had just taken.
I’ll share one tonight that I thought was just so insightful, so in tune with Joe and his deepest love for all of the people in his life. Something that made me think about who is there when tragedy hits and who will forever leave a mark on your heart.
Joe saw friendship and marriage in the purest form. This is his entry from 2011. He had just been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and had a major surgery. He did two rounds of chemotherapy before our wedding November 18th.
October 12, 2011
I think my Aunt Laurie’s death really started shaping who I was going to be throughout my life. It made me, or forced me to be a different person. I think everyone has to have some type of major event happen in their lives to mold them, form relationships and bonds with other people, and “mature”.
Think about the closest people in your life. The ones you would call your closest top 5. For instance, I would say that you probably went through multiple evens with them. Thus, your closeness.
I think this is because, in those moments you have officially shown your entire self to that person. Those are the moments that define us.
And, this is the beauty of life.
Amanda and I will only get closer throughout our lives. We will only go through more events like this, unveiling more and more about each other, this part is exciting.
Life goes on.