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  • Writer's pictureTracy Bottiglieri

Make You Feel My Love


And just like that...another year has passed since I last saw Joey. Since he last kissed me goodbye and told me he loved me. Since the boys last shared a beer with their dad. Since many of us knew he was one of our favorite people on the planet. Two years can feel like forever, especially during a pandemic. Or it can feel like a blink of an eye. Either way, forever is forever. And it can take the heart a long time to accept the loss.


For those of you reading Make It Special because you are also suffering, be kind and patient with yourself. Take care of your body. Rest. Drink fluids. Eat healthy. Focus on caring for the vessel carrying your broken heart. I found my brain was numb, at least for the first year. I am someone who has struggled with anxiety, and yet during the year and a half following Joe's death, I did not feel my usual anxiety as it related to my triggers of family safety and health. (My triggers are ironic in a heart-breaking way as it relates to Joe) Yes, I was afraid of my new future. What would it look like without Joe? What would I DO without him? With help from my wonderful therapist, I focused on getting through the day. Not looking into the future. Trusting that "it" would all work out somehow. Not the way I planned or wanted, maybe, but in another new way that had yet to be revealed to me. I simply had to trust...in my family...in my friends...in myself...and in God. And so that is what I have been doing since March 21st of 2019.


 

I wanted to develop a unique way to honor Joe on his Memorial Day. A tribute to his life, his love of nature, and my love for him. I chose the place for the tribute first - the C & O Canal near our home. We had hiked along the trails many times together. The scenery is beautiful along the Potomac River, and the end of March marks the beginning of an annual rebirth for the plants and trees in the area. I chose to hold a small hike along the upper end of the Towpath with close friends and family. But days before our Tribute Hike, Covid-19 hit and we were not permitted to gather in large groups. So I pivoted and the boys and I chose to do a tribute with just us. A couple of their friends joined us at the last minute.


To bring more meaning to the hike, I decided to start the tradition of writing a letter to Joe and "sailing" it on the Potomac River. I located a biodegradable, water-soluble paper product (see below). Weeks prior, I had asked the park rangers at the Great Falls Tavern Center If I had permission to launch my environmentally safe paper boats into the river. I brought pencils along with the paper, and we began our little hike. We stopped along a quiet edge of the Potomac. We each took our time, taking in the scenery, writing our hearts out on the simple sheets of paper. Then I showed the boys how to fold the paper into boats. One of the boys' friends remembered how to create an origami boat, so he helped when needed. We each took turns launching our handiwork. Truth be told, the act of writing the note and folding the boat was therapeutic. The act of "setting sail" fell a little flat because as soon as the paper touches the water, it begins to disintegrate. We have now held two origami boat tributes. Two years since Joe has been gone. I told my son, Nicholas, that next year we might make paper airplanes - to see them soar a little while over the water before dissolving into the river.




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5 comentários


Abby Gritz
31 de mar. de 2021

In perfect "Tracy" style, you have shown and continue to show yourself and your boys that there can be life after tragedy. You demonstrate this with grace every single day. I admire your decision you made that you wanted to keep living and keep Joes memory alive by having your traditions and creating new ones. Strength, courage, bravery... These are all things you didn't have to feel or exhibit but you chose to and I admire you so much. May YOU continue to "soar" as you continue your next chapter and journey.🌈💗🌈

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Brenda Rose
30 de mar. de 2021

I, unlike you, am not eloquent. Your words are heart breaking, inspiring and nurturing. You and Joe and Nicholas and Matthew are always in my heart and in my thoughts.

Love you 💕

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Paige Pagley
30 de mar. de 2021

Tracy, how achingly beautiful! Your honor and love for Joe is evident in everything you have done these last two years! I can't believe it's been two years and, yet, it is. You have carried the mantle of Joe's passing with such beauty and grace for you, your children, and Joe's family! You have done incredible things and will continue to celebrate the life you and Joe lived! You are such a beautiful human and I am so honored to call you my friend. Nicholas and Matthew are so lucky to have you. And the idea of a paper launching, whether by land or sea is so perfect!

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Shari Friedman
Shari Friedman
30 de mar. de 2021

May they soar and may you as well. Love you!!!

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Kim Lefelar
Kim Lefelar
30 de mar. de 2021

As always you have brought your readers along this memorial hike and paper boat launching with you. Thank you for the gift of sharing Joe and the love you two shared with all of us. So much love for you Tracy.

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