The Call came at 5:30PM on Halloween of 2006 that forever changed the trajectory of many lives. “He’s gone. We lost him”. That simple, brief message from my sister hit with the force of a sledgehammer. Knees buckling under the weight of denial & grief, a loud wailing emanated from a place never tapped. The room spun. I began to hyperventilate, screaming “NO! NO! NO!” All to no avail. Death is never an easy thing–especially the passing of a brother.
Nine years and two months later, the sledgehammer swinging against souls of Joe’s family still hurts, though the pulverized mush of trampled hearts, mixed with begrudging acceptance still stings. Yet a longing to connect with an undefined yearning grows stronger. It still sucks. It still hurts…deeply. Though sorrow lasted for many a night, slivers of sunlight & joy continue to break through the dark night of Joe’s absence ever so slowly. A new morning emergent springs to life whenever a slice of the soundtrack of his life is played.
Life is tougher without your infectious smile and cans of 12 oz. Cokes you kept on the back seat of your Joemobile to chuck at cars who cut you off. Even your brand of Road Rage was unique…like the time you threw a McDonalds milkshake through the window into the face of a driver who pissed you off. When counseling Aunt Mary to keep warm cans of pop in her car for such occasions with that beautiful straight poker face, your response to her incredulous laugh was “What?” When we didn’t seem to get a particular coping skill you discovered, “WHAT?” was a favorite response of yours. You’d disarm everyone with an Irish mug suggesting we who did not Get It somehow missed out on a key component of truth & justice you meted out on the highways and byways of life.
We’d give anything to see you dance again like a kid again, hear your laugh or watch you swing Scar the pit bull around by a Frisbee. Check this out guys. I’ve been rolling with these kids at the University of Michigan as part of a Documentary Theater class. Our final test was to write, produce and deliver a play entitled “While You Were Away.” You shoulda’ been there Joe…you too Danny. We killed it. Your big bro earned an “A” for the course. Part of the assignment was to develop a thirty minute set of jams for the pre-play as the audience was being seated. One that you’d love is this version of Where Did Our Love Go? In fact, here’s the whole set. Both of you continue to be a big influence. Dig it brother men.
What a legacies you left. Danner & Joey, you’re so alive in our hearts, but living life without you isn’t the same. In just a couple hours or so, I’ll be mixing sound at the Renaissance Vineyard Church in Ferndale for Christmas Eve while the rest of the fam meets to celebrate the birth of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ and the birth and newest addition to Hurlco.
Just about everything learned about the harmonics of sound were taught by you Joe & Danny. I wish you could be there in the booth tonight. We’d have so much fun. Barring that, lemme’ know if you see I’m about to screw up with a whisper in the heart.
Keep those amps on warm-up and know you’re missed by many this Christmas Eve. So how you like Simon? He’s quite a package.
All my love