Monday, December 14, 2009

Goodbye Joe Fitzgerald

My heart aches tonight. A dear friend died this afternoon. I rushed to the hospital to say my last good-bye, but I was too late. I missed his last breath by minutes.
Joe Fitzgerald is gone.
And yet he’s not. He lives on in our hearts and minds, and the memories we have soothe our souls.
When I came home from the hospital and told my sons, 20 and 16, about Joe, we all shared Joe stories. Zach and Micah recalled him showing up one Halloween with treats in hand wearing a scary mask. The boys, little at the time, ran to me screaming. Joe had terrified them but made it all better with plastic pumpkins full of sweet treats.
I remember arriving at the funeral home to plan my brother-in-law’s funeral (his wife, my sister, died less than two months later) and being told that an anonymous person had paid the entire bill. It took all but a second to know it was Joe.
This is a man who went to my son’s preschool programs because unlike all of the other kids who had grandparents who could attend, mine had none. So Joe gladly became the grandparent they didn’t have.
Joe was never married, didn’t have any children and yet he had a family bigger than most.
I could go on and on about Joe, but mostly I want to say how blessed I am that he was a part of my family’s life. Pushing 80, he was ready even if the rest of us weren’t. It’s never easy saying goodbye to someone you love. But I’m trying.
And to sign this as Joe always signed everything: Peace and love

A post about Joe:
A post that will soothe your soul:


  1. Buffy,
    I am so sorry for your families loss. Losing a friend is just as hard as losing a family member. We lost a famliy friend three years ago on January second. Slowly we are able to bring out the Christmas or birthday gifts she has given us. I wish you the best during this hard time. Take care and cherish the happy thoughts you had together with Joe. I keep in touch with my friend's Mom, but still get weepy every once and a while. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  2. It's hard to lose someone so dear, but it sounds like he had a great life and left you with many fond memories.

  3. so very sorry for the loss of your friend. beautiful post.

  4. Buffy,

    I'm sorry for your loss. I read your comment on Rachelle Gardner's blog, and I wanted to drop by and offer my condolences.

    Awhile back, I experienced the death of a loved one and was looking for comfort when I came across this quote from St. Simeon of Thessalonica: "For even dead, we are not at all separated from one another, because we all run the same course and we will find one another again in the same place. We shall never be separated, for we live for Christ, and now we are united with Christ as we go toward him . . . we shall all be together in Christ."

    I know not everyone believes the same thing, but these words gave me a lot of comfort. I hope they bring you comfort, too.

  5. Buffy,
    Like Kat, I read your comment on Rachelle's blog, and I wanted to read what you had to say. Joe sounds like a wonderful man. I'm so glad that your sons had him as a grandpa-in-spirit. I lost my grandmother two days after Thanksgiving, and I take comfort knowing that she is with Jesus now and that she lived long enough to know my two daughters, her only great-grandchildren. Please accept my sympathy at your loss.

  6. What a wonderful tribute to a true friend. I'm truly sorry for your loss, but glad he left you with fond memories. May you and your family find peaceful comfort.

  7. Thanks everyone for all of the kind words. It really means a lot to me that you took the time to write. I really think that God puts people in our lives who are meant to be there. And I am so grateful that He gave us Joe. Blessings, Buffy