Loss of a loved one – Joe Howdle


This is a difficult and emotional post for me. Actually, it is a post that I knew I would be writing at some point soon, I just never thought it would be this soon.In the past I have asked for prayers for my dear cousin Joe. For the past 6 months Joe has been battling cancer. Joe put up the good fight but lost the battle, the Good Lord called him home.

Joe was strong man, a kind man and a true gentleman. Above all he was a family man. He was devoted to wife Ev and their three children Joe (jr), Ryan and Stephanie. That his kids were his pride and joy was obvious every time I spoke with him. When he became a grandpa he was over the moon. He loved his family and was greatly loved in return. He will be greatly missed.

Ev, his high school sweet heart. What can I say? The courage, the strength she has shown through all of this is nothing short of inspiring. Her devotion and endless hours of sitting in that hospital room. Caring for him while at home. Ev, I don’t have the words. Joey, Ryan and Stephanie the support you gave, the courage you have shown is amazing. I know you loved your Dad and I know he loved you.

My heart aches for my dear aunt Isabel and Joe’s brothers and sisters. I have always admired, respected and even envied their close family bond. I know they will all be rallying to provide support for Ev, the kids and each other.

My heart aches for all but I think of their Stephanie. Stephanie spent a good part of the summer at home with her Dad. The time came when she had to return to her own home. Steph, married and relocated with her husband to Australia. In that sense she is alone in dealing with this. I am sure her husband and family are doing everything they can to provide loving support. Plus, I am sure loving supportive emails have been flooding her computer and the phone just ringing off the hook. I can only imagine though that at a time like this being so far away from her mother and brothers adds to the load. All are in my heart but Steph, special thoughts and prayers go to you.

I considered Joe and I to be close and there was only 6 months difference in our ages. Have you ever had someone in your life that seemed to make your world just a little more complete. Just knowing they were out there was somehow enough. Regular communication, while nice, is often neglected. To a point it almost not needed with that comfort level being there. We take it for granted that person will always be there for you. Joe was that person for me. More than a cousin but a best friend. The world can change seemingly at the blink of an eye and he is gone. Now are the regrets for not phoning more often. Canada is a huge Country a visit would mean a 14 hour drive to get there, but still.

I got the chance to visit with Joe this past summer. I am so grateful for that time. You have to understand Howdle men, we are not all that comfortable vocalizing feelings to each other. When we were together, I broke that tradition and told Joe that I admired and respected him for the fine man he was, that I considered him to be my best friend and that I was very proud to have him as a cousin. I have to admit I was a little hesitant even nervous breaking the “Howdle man” code of silence on such things but I am so glad I did.

Joe, I miss you man.

I ask for prayers of comfort please

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7 Responses to Loss of a loved one – Joe Howdle

  1. lypenner says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss Bill. I lost my dear cousin Evy to cancer and I know the bond that miles can not erase. I saw her at Christmas and am so glad that I got a chance to see her again. Glad to hear you broke the code and expressed your heart with him. You will never regret that. Thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve his loss and are grateful for who he was for you.

  2. Sherry says:

    What a beautiful sentiment! Your words are so kind and heartfelt! We love you lots! xoxoxoxo

  3. Betty says:

    I am very sad to hear of Joe’s passing. He certainly sounds like a wonderful man and I can imagine the loss is enormous. The family can rest assured he will be rewared in Heaven for the man he was and the suffering he indured. May beautiful memories give strength to all that knew and loved him, especially during this difficult time.

  4. Mel says:

    ((((( Bill )))))
    It is so hard, this painful hole we feel when some vital part of our whole being is suddenly gone. Nothing fills that void entirely, not that we’d ever allow that if even if something could. We want to hang on to and honour that person, that relationship for the part of our being that it actually was…and is. There will always be that footprint of their presence in our life.
    Joe loved well….and he was, and remains, well loved.
    I’m sorry your heart hurts, but I’m filled with gratitude that his footprint will remain in so many.
    My condolences to all those who have lost such an integral part of their being…I send blessings and prayers to you all.

  5. Beatrice says:

    Bill,
    My Condolences to you and the entire family. God Bless

  6. rangewriter says:

    There are no words to ease the pain of loss. It is so…final. But there is often a feeling of kinship and spirit even after the physical body is gone from reach. I hope you find this spirit.

  7. hilarymb says:

    Dear Bill – I saw this earlier .. and needed to have time to write compassionately for you … I am so so sorry, though you all knew Joe would be passing on. You’ve described your family life, his family in particular … and I’m glad, that despite the seriousness of his illness, you and Stephanie were able to spend time and visit. I’m sure Stephanie’s family are helping her … but losing a father and being away from home is never easy.

    Aunt Isabel and her family will be comforted by so much, despite their loss …

    However as great friends, best friends, close compassionate family compatriots … it must be difficult for you and Vi .. my thoughts to you all – Hilary

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