JoAnn Brozowski
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  • Bethel CT
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Posted on January 10, 2012 at 11:28am 5 Comments

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At 12:03pm on January 26, 2013, Janet - Todd's Mom said…

At 12:01pm on January 26, 2013, Janet - Todd's Mom said…

I'm thinking of you and Tyler today and sending prayers and good thoughts to you.  I never knew that Gregory Peck had lost a son until I read this quote he gave in an interview...It describes how I feel and I know you do to, as you mentioned in a previous note.

At 3:11pm on January 25, 2013, Janet - Todd's Mom said…

Hi JoAnn,  I just wanted you to know that I'm thinking about you during this incredibly difficult month of January for both of us.  And tomorrow I'll think of you even more, on the 3rd anniversary of the terrible day you lost your Tyler.  Saying a prayer and hoping you're as well as possible,



At 10:01am on January 3, 2013, Janet - Todd's Mom said…

Hi JoAnn - Thanks for responding away.  I had been feeling very down about my mother and her comment about my daughter's weight and how much that hurt Tracy's feelings.  She's tried every diet you can imagine, including one that was held at her church, which sounded natural and hopeful, but she's dealing with a huge problem and has been since she was a child.  Fortunately she has a wonderful personality (with other people) that makes them feel good about themselves and happy to be around her. 

Hearing from you made me feel better right away.  When I told John that you were planning to give your nice pair of earrings to your sister for her 60th birthday and about the stones from other jewelry you gave to your nephew to use in an engagement ring for his girlfriend, because these things don't mean anything anymore, he said, "She sounds just like you!".  He's right.  Things don't matter to me anymore but if someone else can enjoy them they're welcome to have them.  I do enjoy giving to Todd's friends and their children because we are all connected to Todd in a special way.  None of us want to believe he's really gone, it's too painful.  One of his closest friends, a girl, bought a beautiful memorial candle to honor his memory.  At get-togethers, i.e. New Year's Eve, she lights the candle near a picture of him, and makes up a plate of his favorite foods before we eat.  It makes us feel as though he is there with us.   This picture was taken two years ago at Andrea's house.  Sadly, I didn't think to take a picture this year.  I have a few others and I usually try to bring a different photo each time.  In this picture Todd was in his early 20's and taking a photography class in college.  He was taking a picture of himself taking a picture!  That's his reflection in the glass!  Tracy described perfectly why we love spending times with his friends.  She had been invited to another New Year's Eve party and had accepted, but when she received this invitation, she called her friend and told her she thought it would be more healing to spend time with her brother's friends.

I'm glad to hear that the leg ulcer is healing.  It seems like some part or parts of me are hurting all of the time, but when I get outside I feel better.  Our dog, Ginger, has been barking every 10 minutes or so because she wants to go for a walk.  The colder it gets, the more insistent she becomes.  I feel years older than I did when we adopted her 4 years ago.  Of course Todd was with us then and so were the two cats he had brought home many years ago as orphaned kittens.  He was a cat person but I can still remember the gentle way in which he used to pat Ginger and give her affection.  He really loved and respected all living things.

This month is bad for both you and me.  I don't know which is worse, their birthdays or their anniversaries. 

I think it's great that your support group is still meeting.  Our group from hospice was a structured program for 8 weeks for people who had lost adult children.  We all said we'd continue to meet, but didn't, although I see some of the people at Compassionate Friends meetings, especially the balloon release in May and the candle lighting service in December, which is very beautiful.  This year I cried through most of it, especially when Todd's picture came up on the screen.  I was still crying when Ginger's original owner was leaving and saw me crying.  Although she hasn't lost a child, a very close friend and neighbor of hers lost her only child, an 11-year old daughter, to cancer l

At 1:57pm on December 31, 2012, Janet - Todd's Mom said…

Kept getting the 5000 character warning....

Hope you are still feeling better.  The only reason I'm feeling a little better is that we've been so busy with my mother's estate plan, something she should have done, but wouldn't let even my father do when he was living.  Because of her, we have all kinds of problems and I haven't had much time to think of anything else.

We visited her on Christmas Day in the beautiful assisted-living residence we found for her.  She was as cranky as ever, telling us to "take me home" .  She actually TOLD my daughter that she'd "GAINED A LOT OF WEIGHT", when, in fact, she'd actually just lost 20 lbs.  She told my mother, to which Mom replied, "you could have fooled me". Tracy's eyes watered and she went silent. We were shocked because she never had said anything mean to Tracy.  She was mean to me my whole life, but never to her 2 grandchildren, especially Tracy!    After we were in the car, Tracy said, "I want to visit Nana on holidays, but don't know what to do after today".  I told Tracy that I didn't want to see my mother anymore either.   I realize that people with dementia have no filters, but my mother was always mean & very critical of me and my father.   I don't know why I tried so hard to find a great place for her.  She doesn't appreciate it and I'm now paying the price.  

We have a much better lawyer now, so I'm hoping he can put an end to this madness. 

Hope you have a peaceful and joyful new year.



At 1:34pm on December 31, 2012, Janet - Todd's Mom said…

Hi JoAnn,  As always, it's so good to hear from you!  Until a few days ago, I was going through the worst time, crying most of the day, feeling as though I now realize that Todd isn't coming home. I guess I was in denial for 3 1/2 yrs and now feel like I'm waking up to this horrible nightmare that never goes away.  Christmas was just the three of us this year, Tracy, John and me.  Up until 2008, my mother-in-law would have her 3 sons and all of their families over on Christmas Eve, her favorite day of the year.  She passed away in 2009, only 10 weeks after Todd.  She told us not to feel sad because she had had a wonderful life & could now go & be with John's father.  After that, John's brother had everyone over on Christmas Eve.  In 2009, I had to leave very early because everyone was having such a wonderful time with family and all I could think of was that everyone's complete family was there except mine, and that Todd would have been there if he could...he loved those family gatherings.  I explained to John; fortunately I had taken my own car because I was running late and told him to go ahead.  When I got inside my car, I couldn't stop sobbing & ended up driving to the cemetery where Todd's place is, parking there & talking with him.  It's a beautiful little cemetery in my home town of Melrose.  Many parents and others have placed garden solar lights there, making it pretty, even at night.  This place is always peaceful; people take walks there during the day, many times walking their dogs. They let people put up decorations for holidays & birthdays, speaking of which, Todd's birthday is January 12th.  I can't bear to think of that now. 

This year, John's brother, who had everyone over, went to their older son's place in town, because their son & his partner are very active in their church & they were having a special Christmas Eve celebration Mass.  John's other brother, the youngest, has a wife who left him after more than 40 yrs of marriage because she found out he was "talking" with an old friend from high school on FB.  The friend happened to be a girl, but it was platonic. We all think his wife was just looking for an excuse to throw him out of the house, because it's in her name,  having been given to them years ago by her very wealthy brother, who had never used the house, having bought it just to have something to write off on his taxes.  At the time, he was still single and needed a tax shelter.  Back to John's brother...sadly, when he inherited the money from John's parents' estate, his wife started spending lots of money on the house...a new kitchen, addition, beautiful sun room, huge 3-D TV, landscaping & fire pit in the  yard, etc.  She had always handled the money & John's brother never saw what was coming.  After relegating John's brother to the basement, she started dating & going on vacations with her new boyfriend, living a great life, going to FL whenever it's cold here, while John's brother now lives in a one-room apartment...very sad.  

When we heard the terrible news on TV about those poor little children & their teachers, I wondered if it was near you.  Never thought it would be so close!  All I could think of was how their parents feel-and just before Christmas -one of the happiest times for children!  Then I started being grateful for all the years I had WITH TODD AFTER he was five or six, far more years & memories than these parents had.  When we first lost Todd, all I could think about was how many wonderful years I knew him, more than half my life!  At the time, I thought it made it more difficult to lose an adult child than a young child.  After the school shooting, I started thinking differently-how grateful I am for the extra years & memories.  At the same time, I'm so very sad for all of us.

It's a shame your sisters won't talk with each other.  Life is too short.  Which one did you en

At 11:27am on November 30, 2012, Janet - Todd's Mom said…

Hi JoAnn - It was so good to hear from you!  I too have been going crazy trying to get my parents' house ready to put on the market.  The house would have been ready to show when my mother first went to Physical Rehab after her short hospital stay last January, but we didn't know at that time that we'd have to sell it, so we asked our daughter if she'd like to live there since it was close to the time she would have to renew her rental agreement on her apartment.  Now all of her things are everywhere since she doesn't have energy to put things away and clean after she comes home from work.  She's very much overweight, so I can understand why she's so tired.  At least she's working full-time for 3 doctors in a job she enjoys at an excellent hospital, I only wish they paid her more money.  If she had to pay rent, she wouldn't have much left over for everything else, but now we have the problem of helping her find a place to live that she can afford.  Assisted-living residences are SO expensive that we are quickly going through my father's savings, which I thought would last at least 2 years.  My husband is having difficulty sleeping because of worrying about the situation.  I have to try to get over to their house today and pick up all of my parents' coats for the Anton's Cleaners' annual coat drive.  Also have to get paintings for my friend's sister (an artist) to appraise.  Not sure I trust her "expertise" because she's kind of a know-it-all type, but it's a place to start.  Also want to take photos of my parents' mahogany bedroom set from 1942 to show local antique shop owners what it might be worth, and their kitchen table & chairs from the same era.  Everything was so well-made at that time!  If I could sell some of their 1942 furniture, it would help pay for my mother's care.  

I'm also back to walking one of "my" dogs 4 days a week starting today, as her "Mom", who is an artist, is getting ready for the Harvard Square Fair, which begins tomorrow!  I have so much respect for this woman, and she most likely wouldn't presume to appraise the paintings, because she is not a person who thinks she knows everything! I had trouble sleeping last night just thinking about everything that has to be done before we run out of money for my mother's assisted-living home.  I could never care for her ... she's more than a little "difficult " and argumentative, even with the wonderful staff where she lives.

What a coincidence about your leg ulcer!  I had one when Todd was a month old and Tracy was 12 months old.  At least that's what I now believe it was.  The doctor had me coming back weekly for treatment but it wasn't getting better, only larger, so he told me I'd have to go to the hospital for further testing.  I replied, "I have two babies under a year old...I can't possibly go to the hospital"!  He gave me one more week before he'd have to insist, because every week it was getting bigger.  This was back in 1971.  Wouldn't you know...the following week when I saw him it had become a little smaller!  I had to continue seeing him, but it continued to get smaller, so I never went to the hospital.  I think I scared it away, ha ha.

I have so much more to say....I'm very interested in the medium you saw and so happy she was able to connect with Tyler so well!  It's incredible how much she knew - I haven't had that experience with the mediums I've seen.  Only one seemed to connect with Todd, but I don't remember her giving that much detail about so many things, the way you experienced.  I don't have a tape of the session but I do remember that she seemed like Todd's type of girl, very natural and down-to-earth, with a boyfriend who loves the same things that Todd loved.  She shared many of the same interests herself, and that's why I think she was able to connect with Todd.  The other two mediums we visited were not like Todd at all, although they felt as though they had connected with Todd, I didn't feel the sam

At 8:48pm on November 6, 2012, Michelle Berls - Julie's Mom said…

JoAnn - Thank you for your kind words of support.  I am so sorry for the loss of your son.  Our children were almost the same age when they passed from this life.  So full of promise and hope. Some days I still cannot believe its true.  Peace to you.

At 8:36am on September 8, 2012, Janet - Todd's Mom said…

Hi JoAnn - I agree with you that if your mother was back in her own home, when she's well enough of course, with her own routine, she would probably come back to where she was.  My mother was so much better when she lived with my father in their own home up until last January.  With my father's clear mind, he could remember things for her, and she could carry on a conversation about the present very well.  Many people didn't even realize she had memory problems, because she's articulate and was well-informed.  Now, because she's hard of hearing and the staff where she is presently living, do not take that into consideration when speaking with her, has gone downhill.  They watch too much TV when they're supposed to be doing other things, according to their own calendar.  We're moving her to a much better assisted living residence this coming Thursday, where they have a very specific program for elders with memory disorders, which we will be designing with the staff on Tuesday.  Their staff is very professional and friendly, which isn't always the case where she's living now.  Oh, but all the paperwork and running around to doctors for medical records, for more info to the VA (they help out a little with the expense of assisted living for a veteran or the spouse of a veteran).  Getting ready to put their house on the market.  Helping our daughter find another place to live...she's living there right now.  It just goes on and on.

New experiences, your therapist says?  New, exciting, happy experiences?  Is she kidding?  Anything that would be joyful isn't anymore.  I don't want new experiences, I just want my old life back too, with my complete little family, with my son alive, the joy of my life.  I didn't even realize how much I loved having him around until he was gone.  John and I both knew we enjoyed his company, and even grew to really like having him live here with us, as long as he was happy about it.  He really helped out with all the "heavy lifting", not to mention computer and printer problems.  He was always in a good mood and helped balance the chaos that Tracy sometimes causes.  She's sooooo emotional and when not in a good place in her life, shares all of it with us, unfortunately.  But she can be a delight too, and is a good person, so I'm thankful for that, and the fact that she has a job she likes in an excellent hospital in our area is a plus.

JoAnn, it's okay if you are down and share it with me.  I do the same to you and I'm so thankful to have you as a friend.  This site makes me think of others, instead of just my own misery.

Love and sending peaceful wishes your way,


At 3:04pm on August 29, 2012, Janet - Todd's Mom said…

Hi JoAnn - Glad to hear that your mother has made so much improvement.  Wow...her infection seems to have become a life-changing event, at least for awhile.  Your youngest sister's home sounds so ideal, but, isn't that always the way?  The most obvious solution can't be used.  We're still trying to figure out the best solution for my mother.  If we don't sell her house, she will not be able to stay in assisted living much longer.  They do not accept Medicaid and it's very expensive.  If we wanted to apply for Medicaid, she would have to live in a nursing home because that's all that Medicaid pays for, in spite of the fact that it's twice as expensive as assisted living.  Plus I cannot stand the thought of my mother in a nursing home.  She can't live with us, or our daughter because, in addition to all the physical care she now requires, she resists help most of the time and can be very verbally abusive.  (not altogether new).

I really wonder why I was born.  The greatest joy of my life has been taken away.  He made it all bearable, and even funny at times.         


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