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A Gift

March 1, 2011

I'm sitting here tonight, trying not to cry.  My thoughts are on Pam.  I can't even focus on any one thing.  Sitting here in tears.  I can't sleep.  I can't think.  This is hard.  I remember when writing helped me so much.  But to write, especially now is difficult, to go on trying to acknowledge and face these feelings.  This really hurts, but Pam knows this.  My sister has had and faced the greatest heartache imaginable.  How do I help her?  What can I say?  What can I do?  Pam won't ever hear from me, "I know how you must be feeling."  I couldn't even imagine.  I remember thinking what if it would have happened to one of my girls?  Imagining the loss of any of my girls was something I couldn't even face.

My nephew is gone.  I want to hold him.  I want to look into his eyes, hold him in my arms and tell him how much I love him.  I want to play with him.  Have him show me how to play t-ball.  What I wouldn't give to hear Joseph's philosophy on anything.  I miss his stories.  His explanation on anything mechanical.  I miss him so much.  Missed holidays, missed parties, missed visits and to many missed opportunities.  All gone.  I can't get them back.  Will I ever learn?  Oh Lord, please help me.  I want to.

Someone I love very much is hurting.  I want to help her, but I know I can't.  What if I say the wrong thing?  What if I don't do something right?  So, I say nothing.  Pam and I have talked and shared.  But it seems so inadequate.  I also know Pam has heard a lot of silence.  Maybe those people are stuck in fear.  Feelings of inadequacy, so they are silent and time goes by ,,,

My loss of Joseph has never left me.  I am reminded of him daily.  I'm taking this opportunity before it passes me by, to share my heart with you.  Is it selfish?  I hope not.  I don't want to be among the silent crowd.  I see Joseph in every little boy.  I see him when I look into Debra's eyes.  He is a part of my heart.  Joseph's going has made me realize life is not to be taken for granted.  An ice cream cone with the kids.  A Disney movie at home.  A Tigger, a Pooh Bear.  Time is a gift.  I now appreciate what I once took for granted.  Joseph was our gift from God.  We didn't have him long, but he was ours.  Our nephew, our cousin, our grandson, our brother and our son.  Our gift from above.  Thank you Lord for Joseph Ramon Tratnik

Joseph's Aunt Debbie

Precious Memories

March 1, 2011

Joseph gave me a lot of memories and a lot of love in a short amount of time.

I still see him running down the sidewalk to see me.  I don't ever remember seeing him walk.  He was always in a hurry.  When he would come over I would ask him if his mother knew where he was.  He would say yes and come over to me and give me a hug.  Then he would kick off his shoes and look for my cat, Dude.  Ten minutes later he would want his shoes back on.  He said he had to go tell his mom where he was.  Five minutes later he would be back, kicking off his shoes.  This would go on almost every day.

His main goals were to find something broken so he could fix it.  Or to get his fishing pole and practice casting.

It was so very easy to love and become close to this little man.

Seeing Lyndsey and Joseph at Christmas opening their gifts, with all the smiles, laughter, and happiness was so wonderful.

When we went out to dinner he would behave so well.  I was very proud of him.

North on vacation really brought us close.  A lot of love and joy was bonded between us all.  Seven days in a little cabin could go either way, but everyone got along really well.  It was the best vacation I had ever been on.  I was looking forward to many more happy times.  It was wonderful seeing Joseph fall in love with Julie.  She was very good to him.  As I said, this vacation was the best vacation anyone could have ever had.  It was so family oriented.  Everyone was terrific.

Watching Rick take Lyndsey and Joseph around town in the wagon with their dog Duchess pulling them, or seeing them go down to the river fishing are memories that will stay with me forever.  As we all know Joseph really enjoyed his fishing.  Even if it was only in my front yard.  I would call out from my front door, "Don't catch all the fish out there."  And just as serious he would yell back, "I won't Grandpa."

Joseph may not be with us now, but the part he left behind with us and all the love and memories is a wonderful gift.

Grandson you were and still are the light of my life.

Grandpa Kinney


February 26, 2011

Life is so fragile for all of us.  How important it is to make decisions that count for eternity.

We will all face eternity.  Some of us older.  Some of us younger.  As for my grandson, he went to be with the Lord on August 12th 1996.  Not quite four years old.

I think of him often.  I miss him, and there is an emptiness.  I wonder, will it always be there?  There are often tears.  I ask will they always be there?  But God says in his word that we may not grieve as others do who have no hope (1Thessalonians 4:13.)  We don't grieve as others because we know Joseph is in Heaven with all our loved ones that went before him.  But, most of all he is with Jesus, and I am with Jesus in my heart.  When God calls me to eternity I will join Joseph and all of my loved ones that are waiting.

I miss Joseph, but he lives in my heart.  In memories, laughter, stories, pictures and even in my tears.  I see him in his mothers eyes and in the stories told by his Daddy Rick when he talks about their last vacation.  I see him in his sisters smile.  I haven't forgotten him.

In Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these."

My prayer for Rick and Pam comes from 1 Peter 5:10.  "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever.  Amen."

I pray that everyone that reads this site will have a better understanding of life.  If you know Jesus, he will become more real.  If you have left the shelter of his arms, that you will come back to Him.  And if you have never received Him, you will.  Because when God calls on you, young or old, you will be with Jesus in Heaven.  It truly will be the best decision you will ever make.

I thank all of who have prayed for us.  All who have listened.  All who have tried to comfort me, and all who have felt my pain as I cried.

This has tested me like nothing ever has.  But, I see life so much clearer.  I have learned that I truly do have an all sufficient God. 

I know it hasn't been easy for the ones that I have bared my soul with.  There were times I carried my pain like an open wound.  There were times of silent comfort, times of question.  I can never with mere words explain how much I needed you, "God's willing servant."  Jesus says in Matthew, "Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.

May God truly become real in your hearts and lives.

Forever grateful, Josephs Grandma Maurer

His Way

February 23, 2011

I didn't know Joseph or his Mom and Dad or his sister.  I do know his Grandmother though and she has told me a little about him.  "He was a cute,,,funny little guy,,,who liked to go fishin' and campin',,,and wanted his own way!"

Another thing I don't know is why a little boy so full of life could be snatched so quickly out of our grasp.  A baby really; full of energy, curiosity, unquestionable trust and unspoiled love.

It is an unbearably sad situation we find ourselves in when someone we love so much is taken from us.  But this I believe,,,Joseph is sitting right beside Jesus with his line dangling in the water, asking questions and,,,Trying to get his own way!

There is one more thing I know for sure, "God gave his only son that whoever believes in him will have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Psalm 119:49 and 50 says, "Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.  My comfort in my suffering is this:  Your promise preserves my life."

God's promises are many. "He will comfort us in all our troubles" (2 Corinthians 1:4); "He will give us eternal life."  

I look forward to meeting Joseph when I get to Heaven.  I look forward to meeting you there too.

If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior today, please ask him to be; I'd like to meet you there too.  Joseph is waiting for us.  He likes to get his way you know.


Gone Too Soon

February 23, 2011

I am frustrated when I look at others.  Parents who are bothered by a child's stop in front of a gumball machine.  I slip a penny in.  A little hand turns the knob.  A gumball rolls out and is snatched with childish purpose.  He runs to catch up.  I want to stop the mother.  It is only a penny.  It is only time.  I want to tell her, "Don't ignore the chance for a memory."  I seem to see things others don't see,,,opportunities for love and laughter.  It's like Joseph's death has removed my clouded vision.

I am confused by family and old friendships.  There are phone numbers I dial.  Messages that are never returned.  But a knock comes at the door or the telephone rings.  It is someone I barely know, "I just wanted you to know I always enjoyed talking to your little boy.  I wanted to tell you how sorry I am.  Come over or call anytime."

I have sat and listened to conversations around me.  People talking about the future.  Their plans for their lives.  I listen in silence.  Their earth has not quaked yet.  Life can change in the twinkling of an eye.  Josephs death has changed me.  It has taught me I can never count on tomorrows again.

I tire of hearing how brave I am.  I tire of people saying, "I don't think I could go through what you have been through."  I am no stronger or weaker than they are.  We all do what we have to do when we don't have any choice.  Sure, I act normal.  Sure, I smile and crack jokes.  That's not brave,,,that's survival.

I am different today then I was before.  I will continue to change throughout whatever tomorrow's are placed in my hands.  I will never return to 'normal.'  I can only evolve.  This empty person is slowly being refilled.

In the first few months after Joseph left, trips to the cemetery were very important to me.  Taking care of the little piece of ground meant everything to me.  When people drove past I wanted them to know that his family loved him.  Gradually, visits to the cemetery gave way to moments of remembering.  Memories of times we shared and even when he disobeyed, helped me recapture some of what I had lost.  What was in my heart and mind became more important then what was left at the cemetery.

Sharing my life with Joseph has been the greatest joy and the greatest sorrow for me.  When he died I had moments of incredible peace remembering the night he was born.  Coming into this world so easily,,,leaving so quickly.  He walked with me through so many experiences and he will be cherished for who he was.

The transition from giving up the physical person, Joseph, as I had known him is heartbreaking.  Not being able to feel the warmth of his body is devastating every day.

I remember standing next to Joseph's hospital bed the day before he left us.  I told him if he wanted to go to Heaven it was okay with me.  I told him I would do whatever I could to make it easier for him.  I did.  Before the doctor removed the ventilator I started to pray.  I asked God to please take him quickly.  My little boy had suffered enough.  He looked so tired.  I wanted this to be easy for him.  God answered my prayer.  Joseph was in Heaven within minutes.

I was holding him when he took those last few breaths.  I was holding him when he left this world.  The last thing Joseph felt was my touch.  That means so much to me.

Joseph is in Heaven now.  He is able to play without the conditions that were set for him here.  But most of all he can be face to face with his creator.  He is able to hold hands and hug the one who laid down his life for him.

I will never have to worry about whether or not he would have chosen Jesus.

Josephs death was sudden.  No on knows better then this family that life is fragile and unpredictable.  We have to be ready.  We have to make sure that our lives are right with the Lord.  We don't know how many tomorrow's we have.  I would never have imagined that Joseph would only have three years with us.  I don't know how many days I have here.  I can't take a change of never seeing my son again.  And I won't miss the chance to thank Jesus for dying on that cross.  For dying for Joseph, for me, and for you.


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