Happy Birthday in Heaven, Joe!

Twenty-seven years ago, John and I received a message on our phone, “Congratulations! Don’t be alarmed, but your baby boy was born today! Get your plans together and get to California as fast as you can.” Wow. That was a super shock to us. As it was, we only filed for adoption just three weeks earlier. We were matched, as they say in the adoption world, just four days earlier. At that time we were told we had two weeks to prepare. Nope. Joe gave us four days. Even in birth he was fast and early.

I have to tell you that was a magical time for us. These are the first two pictures of us.

As I held that tiny little Joe on the plane, I thanked God many, many times. All of our roads had let to that time.

The common thread that was woven through the next nineteen years, five months, and twenty-one days was this –  Joe loved his family and friends. Joe was kind to everyone. And, Joe had the best laugh I have ever heard. My favorite quality about Joe was that he was drawn to helping his friends who were in need or troubled. After his death so many people who knew him told us that the song, “For Good” from the play Wicked reminded them of Joe.

How do we move forward after our bright ball of energy and light was gone? It did not take us long to decide to start the Joseph Kimutis Memorial Fund through the Pittsburgh Foundation. We raise money at our annual Joseph Kimutis Memorial Spaghetti dinner each year. It is hard to believe that this December 15th will be our eighth dinner. We have given donations to food banks, homeless shelters, scholarships and other organizations that help the hungry and the homeless in the Pittsburgh area. We have collected thousands of hats, gloves and socks. We have collected endless bags of groceries.

This foundation is not ours. We could not have done any of this without the kindness of so, so many. In life, Joe was always bringing his friends together. Our house often resembled a youth hostel and I loved every minute of it. In his passing, Joe continues to bring people together. Last year over 300 people came together to raise money and break bread in Joe’s memory.

Since our son left  the earth before he had a chance to leave his  own legacy, we all are now helping his legacy to be doing great things to help others, for good.

I have been asked if I got mad at God when he took my son back to heaven so young and so quickly. My answer is this. I did not question God when He chose me to be Joe’s mother. Nope, I grabbed that little guy and brought him home, thanking God the entire way. So, when the day came that God felt that Joe had completed what he came to Earth to do and He took him back to heaven, I again thanked God. I thanked him for the privilege and honor of being the mom to this wonderful soul. My son, my Joe.

So today, I will not mourn that Joe is no longer here. I will celebrate those years that were so very wonderful.

If you would like to attend this years spaghetti dinner, it will be December 15th at Our Lady of Grace school. If you would like to donate to our foundation in memory of Joe, you can do so at www.pittsburghfoundation.org – keyword – Joseph Kimutis

Have a wonderful day and a day filled with laughter!

Happy birthday, Joe. Love, Mama



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