Joey went to heaven on November 21, 1998. For some compelling reason, I had a severe urge to put up our Christmas Tree early this Christmas. I did, Wednesday (November 18, 1998)- Looking back, I know why I did.
The day that Joey passed away, a strand of lights on our Christmas Tree went out. My husband and I had no strength to replace the lights, so we left them be. I prayed night and day, pleading god to give me answers. I begged God to give me a sign that Joey made it in Heaven, that he was okay and happy.
I was soul searching the internet everyday trying to find comfort (and distraction) to help me with my grief and I came across information about "The Compassionate Friends" and the candle lighting vigil the second Sunday in December. In all of the "thank you" cards I returned for Joey's funeral I included information about the vigil and asked them to light candles for the children.
December 13th came, we lit our candles, said a prayer for Joey and all of a sudden, the strand of lights came back on our Christmas tree. From that moment on, I knew in my heart I received my message from God. Joey was in Heaven with God, his suffering was over, his pain was diminished. My Joe-Joe was happy and whole again. One day, we all will be reunited with our loved ones. Until then, we let Joey's memory live forever in our hearts. We miss him very much.
Maria Strino, Joey's Mommy
Joey died from respiratory complications secondary to Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (lack of oxygen at birth, resulting in brain damage). Eventhough Joey was disabled, he showed and expressed much love to us all.