Joseph and Jenna

Our friends Holland and Sarah told us something sweet recently that I wanted to blog about until I got a brainwave: I’d let Holland tell it to you all in his own words. I made Holland a guest contributor on the site just so he could come in and share:

 

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Jenna was born just a few months after Joseph, so they have always existed in each others worlds. When it was time to go to church, Joseph would ask, “Is Jenna gonna be there?” They were together so often that a couple of the older kids from our church made up their own role play game, Joseph and Jenna.

It was the Wednesday before Halloween, I had picked Joseph up from Pre-K and Sarah (my wife) and Emma (our new baby) were along for the trip, just to get out of the house.  Joseph just piped up, “We should go to the funeral place.”

“The what?” I asked.

“The funeral place. You know dad, the place where Jenna… where we… uhh..” He trailed off. He understands that Jenna is in Heaven but also knows we visit the cemetery when we are thinking of her. He was having a hard time reconciling in his mind what to call that.

“You mean to the cemetery?”

“Yeah.”

Tears began to well up in Sarah’s eyes, She looked at me, I nodded. “Sure we can go”, she said

I reached my hand to the back seat and he grasped it like he often does and we drove the short distance to the cemetery. As we drove the winding path to Jenna’s grave we discussed the usual. Joseph talks about how she was his best friend, how they had the best times together and how he will play with her in heaven. Once he said that he was sure Jesus had the best toys.

scan0013As we had walked up the small green hill with other graves on our left, the grass covered downward slope on our right and the tall oak right in front of us, Joseph thoughtfully said, “This is my favorite place.”

 Sarah said: “Hello Jenna-girl. I miss you”, as she knelt down to brush the dust off of Jenna’s picture and set the mini flower pots upright.

 “I miss you Jenna,” Joseph sighed. We all cried for a minute. Joseph sniffed, wiped a tear, smiled and ran down the larger hill. Emma continued to cry… She was hungry. 

“I bet you can’t catch me dad!” Joseph was on top of another small hill, yelling across the divide. I ran down the hill toward him as he let out a gleeful squeal, and tackled him. This is what we do when we remember Jenna. We play.

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“Did you bring the frisbees dad?”

“Not this time”, I said, as I hoisted his upside down body into the air. ” I’ll have to remember next time.”

“I’ll remind you.” He really forgets he’s four.

“O.K.”

“I want to whistle with a blade of grass like you, Dad”

So we walked to the tree line at the edge of the cemetery where the grass grows long and each selected our blades. That activity lasted about as long as it took for him to remember that he couldn’t do it. So we moved on.

“Dad. We didn’t bring any flowers!” he said as we were walking the tree line at the edge of the cemetery. “We could take these”, he observed as he pointed to some little wild flowers in the undergrowth. He stooped and picked several of them. “We can take some to Mama too.” Once the flowers were securely in his hands he took off running. “I’ll race ya!” called his little voice, as he sprinted back down while his little hands crushed the even littler flowers.

“We picked you some flowers!” he said proudly as he opened his hand revealing a couple flowers that no longer had petals. “And some for Jenna too.” His faced scrunched up seeing that he had lost some of his cargo. Sarah chimed in, “That’s O.K. honey, we’ll put them all here,” as she pointed to a tiny flowerpot. Joseph and I gently inserted the flowers and were off to play again. We jumped, ran, balanced, and tumbled. This is how Joseph visits Jenna.

 Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

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Joseph knows Jenna is in heaven. At the same time he really wishes she was still here. Somehow in the midst of this duality he has figured out how to keep her as a part of his world. He has figured out a way to be as close to her as he can and do what they would have done together.

Keep playing Joseph.

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10 responses to “Joseph and Jenna

  1. Oh my goodnesss….what a sweet, sweet story!!!!! The ending really choked me up.

    In Him,
    Alicia

  2. What a beautiful friendship. What a sweet boy. You have a wonderful family thank you for a glimpse of your life and and how you allow him to process the death of sweet little Jenna. God Bless You.

  3. I’m not sure if I really needed this morning cry, but I’m so glad to have shared in that wonderfully sweet story. What a wonderful friend Joseph is. God Bless you all. ((((hugs))))

  4. What a sweet little guy and what a great relationship he has with Jenna! Thank you for sharing this amazing story.

  5. That is a beautiful story

  6. This is a beautiful post . . .no wonder Jesus loved the little children so much. . .because they were so innocent and so real. . . thank you for sharing. Joseph & Jenna look like brother and sister, too.

    I don’t comment often but check in on you. . .you are in my thoughts and prayers. I found your site through another blog a while back. You are a inspiration!

  7. This is an amazing story! Thank you so much for allowing us a glimpse into the life of Joseph and Jenna. I love the photo’s you shared as well.

  8. What beauty you have been blessed with in your life..Jenna..and this Joseph guy..oooh..so adorable..them together…beautiful story…beauty..innocence…joy…thank you for sharing this!

  9. What a touching story! Keep playing Joseph, keep playing. Prayers for all of you. These pictures are beautiful.

  10. Thank you for sharing that beautiful story.

    Jesus loved the children so much because they are so pure, innocent and honest. As we grow up we lose that at least until we are very old and can become young again.

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