It’s not easy

Losing someone close to you is always hard, but when it’s something that didn’t have to happen, when they make a choice you don’t quite understand, there’s a lot of frustration to go along with the sorrow. My brother Joe had been planning this for a while, and I guess he was at peace with it, but there wasn’t anything that couldn’t have been resolved if he’d asked for help. He didn’t want to be a burden on anybody. If he had any faults, just one, it was that he was too proud. Thinking about it, years ago, I was talking about the brevity of our lives. He surprised me and became angry. He rarely got mad. I’m wondering if he didn’t make this decision a long time ago, to move on as his quality of life began to decline. He was certain of an afterlife, and might get a new beginning there.

Joe helped me get my blues library started. I was in my last months on Capitol Hill, having recently given up drinking and getting pounded by a whole new set of problems. I was helpless at the time. I tried AA, but the 12 Steps and the meetings turned me off. I needed an outlet, and Joe handed me a portable cassette player, with tapes by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Tom McFarland. I’ve been playing the blues ever since.

Joe loved all music, except for something known as “the 70s” (we used to argue about the relevance and aesthetics of that era). He was a huge Beatles fan growing up, and I have a deep admiration for Ringo Starr, so nothing but this seems more appropriate right now:

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5 Replies to “It’s not easy

  1. So sorry Jon. Tough times, and you know they don’t come easy.
    Thinking of you, but mostly of my Dear Donna…she has been a beacon of light for me since I was just 22 and right out of college. I wish Joe would have seen that light at the end of the tunnel. There is one.

    Rebecca Giles

    1. Thank you, Rebecca. He was at peace with it, but I still don’t fully understand.

  2. Jon, I am sorry for your loss…but mostly I am sorry for your Mom. She has been a beacon of light for me since I was a mere 22 years old. I wish Joe could have breathed in some of that light in this thing we call life.

    He did what he wanted to do and we cannot condemn him for that, just learn how to repair hearts…and you know it don’t come easy.

    ~~Peace….Rebecca Giles

  3. So beautiful, Jon! I have thought about everything you just wrote down and concluded just as you did, that part of his issue was that he had too much pride.

    Everyone–including you and Joe have read some of the things I went through on Facebook…yes, there was a time I thought of checking out too, but I didnt because of friend I think I think she just wouldn’t let me she pestered relentlessly into living.

    I’m so haunted by the fact that on the 27th of April, he and I had the longest talk I’ve ever had with anyone, inbox and I had no Inkling that such an event was a foot.

    I realize now, that there’s no point in me kicking my own ass — because I didn’t catch it…he seemed that like the usual Joe– just kind, solicitous and wonderful. I miss him for his humility, curiosity an examination of life and earth and humaneness. I miss him, most of all for his genuine deference, awe and respect of WOMEN! He made me feel brilliant and incredibly gorgeous as such that I TOTALLY believed him!

    He has left me personally with the great gift of bringing me closer to the people who loved and respected him.

    Whilst commiserating with mutual friends since he died, we found that he affected us variously– each person knew a DIFFERENT Joe and that’s wonderful.

    One constant, consistent and genuine common thread amongst us was his love and respect for women– which alas, is such a rarity these days. Many guys say they respect remember they don’t act it.! He will be sorely missed!

    I thank you for sharing this. I hope you and your entire family are comforted by the love, goodwill and high esteem in which Joe was held by people that knew Joe held him. Big hugs from me

  4. Jon,

    My profound condolences to you and family. It is hard to understand a loved one’s choice but it was Joe’s life to make that decision and only his. He will be missed because he brought sunshine to lots of people on the Internet. he was the most “human” person I knew with even meeting him in person. Be happy that he made others happy. Just like the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” he affected a lot of lives out there in Internet Land. I would have been proud to have been his brother.

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