I remember that it was mid-September when I reached out to Joe for an appointment. I called him just before he was to go on a long vacation. We agreed to meet for our first session on October 15, 2012 to see if it was a good fit.
It took all the courage I had to show up for that first session, not to mention courage to open my mouth and speak. I had walked around most of my life with a smile plastered on my face, hoping to God that no one would see into my heart and soul. I feared that others would notice the pain I was in.
Honestly, I was wearing my pain. When I first walked into Joe's office, I weighed so much that when I saw a photo of myself, I barely recognized the person in the image. I had buried myself in excess weight. As I began to speak in Joe's office, I began to find my way out.
Joe was a counselor and a healer. In simple terms, Joe helped me reverse all the negativity I had ingested throughout my life. As I recounted my experiences, he mirrored the good in me. These are the three words he spoke to me most often: "You are awesome." He helped me see myself more fully. He helped me love and accept myself more. Much more.
I worked with Joe from the fall of 2012 until our last appointment in January 2019. When I last saw him, he revealed that he was being treated for kidney cancer. At the time, he was optimistic that once he had surgery, he would be just fine. Unfortunately, the cancer spread and complicated his treatment. He passed on June 15, 2019.
Today would have been his 81st birthday. Had you met him, you would have thought he was 65. He was full of joy - we had the best laughs together. The serious exercises and conversations healed me just as much as the heartfelt laughs.
I miss you, Joe!