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In Loving Memory of Joseph McElwee

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When I came home from school the other day, my mother called my brother and me to the living room. She sat us down and gently told us that one of her best friends, Joe, had died. He had had a stroke a little over a year ago, and soon after was rushed to the hospital after having a seizure. There they discovered that he had a brain tumor.

Even after having a lot of surgeries and treatments to treat his stroke and tumor, he was still making jokes and acting almost exactly the same. He was doing relatively well, and then they discovered more tumors. His condition worsened. On February 28th, 2012, Joe died.

Joe was… well, imagine an uncle, a second father, an older brother, and a grandfather all in one. His death hit me really hard; maybe even harder than it hit my mother. I cried all afternoon, and spent my lunch period the next day crying in the bathroom. I thought I would never smile or be happy again.

The day Joe died, my mother said, “Joe would somehow turn this into a Three Stooges joke.” I didn’t realize it then, but she was right. Today, I was dancing around my room to one of my favorite songs in a burst of good spirits. I looked like a total fool. Suddenly, I heard Joe’s laugh in my mind. That was when it hit me: Joe wouldn’t want me to sit around crying! He loved his life and wants me to have a good life!

Yes, I still am sad. Yes, I still cry. Yes, I miss Joe. But I’m not letting his death consume my happiness. Even Joe’s wife and children are telling old stories of him and looking through old pictures; being the same people that he loved. That is what I will do. I will be singing at his funeral. I love Joe, and I love my life. I will keep being who Joe loved.

In loving memory of Joseph McElwee.

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