Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Always In My Heart

Today it has been two years since Michael was last here with me. That is so hard to accept in some ways. It just doesn't feel like that long ago, even though I know it was.

On Sunday night, I was driving home on the freeway after having dinner at my sister's. A Saab zoomed past me, and as it did, I looked at the clock on the dashboard. It was 7:33 pm - just two minutes before Michael had passed on that Sunday night (the first Sunday in March) two years ago. Keith Green's "Trials Turned to Gold" was playing on my iPod. I can't really adequately explain all those connections, but I do think it was a "God thing".

Today Michaela and I will have lunch with Michael's mom and several of his siblings. We are going to King's Hawaiian Restaurant which was a favorite of Michael's. I have decided that the anniversary of his passing and his birthday should be times where we get together and do something Micheal enjoyed. In this way, I hope that Michaela will begin to understand a little of who her father was.

Last night, I went through Michael's box of personal photos and chose some of my favorites to share here today.

Nineteen months old - Oahu, Hawai'i.
I think Michaela has her daddy's lips (and cheeks, nose, etc.)!

Elementary school. I'm just guessing, but I'm thinking third or fourth grade.
What a cute little boy.

Young adult. Looks like a camping trip.
I love his expression! Michael was always having fun.

1994 - This is how Michael looked when I first met him. I'm pretty sure this was a Sunday afternoon after church. I wasn't present when this picture was taken, but I remember this look so well. I remember seeing him walking across the church patio area, and his hair was flowing behind him. A very Fabio moment. I thought he was so dreamy. Michael, not Fabio!

Doing what he loved.

Another love - baseball. I remember when we used to take our walks through the neighborhood park during baseball season. Michael would always want to stop and watch an inning. This might have been a game his friend Jeff's son pitched in, but I'm not sure.

Michael was really proud of this moment. He played in a tribute concert for the late Frank Sinatra. Quincy Jones (center) was the music director that night. A couple weeks before Michael passed, we were watching a PBS tribute concert to Quincy. Michael reminded me that he had played with Quincy at this event. He said it in a way that I knew he was missing his work and all the people he made music with. I assured him that he'd be playing again soon - that he'd either experience healing and be able to pick up his guitar again, or that upon entering Heaven he'd be handed an instrument. He kissed me in response and told me I was wonderful. I was always believing in a miracle for him, but confident in his destination no matter what the Lord had in store for his Earthly body. When Michael gave his life to Christ, he gave me an incredible gift. I have known great comfort in knowing he was saved and that I will see him again.

My handsome groom. He was so unassuming about his looks. He preferred to wear t-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops. But he sure did dress up nice! We found this suit at the outlets, and I picked out the tie to match the sash on my dress.

I wish I could remember what we were talking about at this moment that day. I like the serious, yet tender way he is looking at me. Michael was so good at expressing himself with me. He always made me feel loved and appreciated, and he was never too proud to apologize the few times he upset me. He had a good heart.

This is one of our last photos together. I think this was early November 2009. He was doing fairly well on his cancer medication at this time but in just a few weeks that would change.


Thank you so much for loving me, and for being my husband. Our time together was so sweet. I just wish it had been much, much longer. I never got tired of being with you. You made simple things like grocery shopping, or washing the dog, or dropping the car off for service, fun. Everything was better when we were together.

I am so grateful to have Micheala in my life now. She has brought a new purpose and so much joy into my life. There are so many things about her that remind me of you. There is a sadness, too. Sadness that we didn't get to share any of this part of the journey together. I know you would have been such a loving and playful father, and I know how much help you would have been to me.

I hate that it has been so long since I saw you last, but I know that each day that passes gets me closer to the day I'll see you again. And then we'll never have to say goodbye. Until then, I will trust the Lord with my journey, and I will do my very best to raise Michaela to know what a good man you were and how much you love her. I tell her that all the time. I know you would want me to.

Love always,


  1. Joannah, what beautiful memories and photos. I'm so happy Michael is with the Lord. Not only will you see him again, but Michaela will someday get to meet and spend eternity with her daddy! I look forward to meeting him, too, and telling him how much you inspired and encouraged me in our mutual journeys without the husbands we love and miss so much.

  2. You are one of the most courageous people I have had the joy to know. God's hand has guided you through all the joys and sorrows and has given you the most precious gift of Michaela.

    Btw, I usually go to King's about every three months when I meet a friend there for breakfast before we go to work evaluating Japanese students and employees on their English skills over at the Torrance Marriott.

  3. Oh, the photos are just adorable! I see so much of him in Michaela. And dreamy is right! ;) I hope you have a wonderful time today with his family and that the memories bring joy. XOXO

  4. Wow. So touching - I just love this tribute and all the descriptions behind the photos. It's pretty surreal that it as been two years. It's so nice to see you and Michaela living life together, I just know Michael is so proud and must be smiling upon you both. The letter to him was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Sending you some extra love today. xoxo

  6. An absolutely beautiful remembrance~

  7. Oh Joannah, my heart is just so heavy for you. You so clearly articulate your thoughts and feelings about Michael and his passing, and your pain is palpable. You are so blessed to have experienced the kind of love and joy that you have shared with Michael, and now share with Michaela.

    You are truly an inspiration. I can't imagine enduring all that you have and remaining so strong.

    Just an aside...Michaela looks so much like Michael did when he was a baby! He lives in her in so many wonderful ways.

    Kim Bohley

  8. It seems like yesterday that you were sharing snippets about the man who had captured your heart, and then the wedding plans.

    You 2 shared such a beautiful love story that will continue forever.

    Michaela looks so much like her daddy in that baby photo. I have never seen one before of Michael when he was little.

    Your words were beautiful but we've come to expect nothing less from such an amazing and inspirational lady

  9. You are such an AMAZING woman... I love the photos of Michael... Michaela will know her Father sooo well and she will cherish him just like you have... He is smiling down on both of you and watching over you... Love you my friend... Hugz..

  10. This is so so sweet. The way you describe Michael is amazing. There is no doubt your daughter will know her Daddy because you do such a beautiful job remembering him.

  11. What a beautiful tribute to your love.

    PS: I think you're right, baby Michaela has SO many of baby Michael's features. Hugs.


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