What I Know About Joe

I’ve received some emails and general concerns about Joe. Before I tell you what I know about Joe, let me summarize what happened in case you missed it on Facebook, Twitter, the blog, and my telepathic messages.

Last week we moved my mom from her apartment to Kealoha’s house. Kealoha is now in my house and while we get his house ready to sell, my mom will live there. This gives us all time to find her a good place to live that isn’t a retirement complex. She was living in an apartment complex in Coopersville that boasted a retirement community of sixty year olds. The truth was most of the people living there were eighty and above and you can imagine how depressing and lonely that got for my mom, especially when a majority of them started dying.


We moved her out of her tiny apartment. Mom is a pack rat, but in a nice way. She has loads of creativity and buys all sorts of ideas for projects she wants to work on. She also wants to organize things. So, she had boxes and boxes of magazine clippings with project ideas, fabric, ribbons, wreaths, and lots of empty containers to pack them in. She also had Joe.

Kealoha found him in a closet, read the note from a funeral home on the side of the box and asked “Anne, who is this?”

Mom said without pausing or apology, “Oh! That’s Joe.”

We didn’t know what to say or do so we did the only logical thing. We loaded Joe in the moving truck with all her other arts and crafts supplies and I prayed she wasn’t planning on making him into a wreath or something.

But who IS Joe? Or rather, who WAS Joe? What’s his story?

I mean, it’s funny in a dark way, but it’s also a little sad. Joe was a person at one time. A living, breathing person with a family and memories and experiences. How did he end up in my mom’s closet?

Here’s the story.

My mom separated from her husband a few years ago. She lived up in Interlochen and had an older friend. Mom has lots of older friends. She’s a caretaker and likes to help people. So the friend called my mom and said that her husband Joe had passed away and she was too distraught to go and pick his ashes up from the funeral parlor. She couldn’t bring herself to do it, so she asked my mom. So mom picked him up.

The friend couldn’t bring herself to get the ashes from my mom. Mom called and called and tried to drop him off, but the woman was too saddened or just couldn’t deal with it. So my mom kept Joe. When mom left her husband, she took Joe with her. She says she’s still trying to contact the friend.

Who was he? Mom says he was some kind of shaman…a spiritual guy. I haven’t heard much more than that and plan on asking her this weekend. So what happens to him now? It doesn’t seem right that his final resting place is in a garage surrounded by the effluvia of my mom’s life. Then again, it’s probably an interesting place to be.

Take away the humor though, and really, it’s not the place for someone’s ashes to be. If he was a shaman, then maybe we should spread his ashes somewhere, give him up to the earth and the sky. I’m not sure what to do.

Mom thinks her friend will one day be ready to take Joe back. I guess until then, maybe we just buy him an urn and move him into the living room. At least it’s warm there.