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February 16th, 2019- The First Day

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

Was kind of a big deal to start the day. My husband, had planned a night out in the city. Valentine's day having just passed and our 7 year wedding anniversary being 2 weeks away... Now if you know us, this doesn't happen often... We have 2 kids and well life is just busy. So to say I was excited is kind of an understatement, plus I LOVE the city. All I knew about it was that we were going to dinner somewhere not to far from Penn Station and he had something planned for after and I was going to LOVE it. I spent the day hanging out with the kids and of course stressing about what to wear. I didn't know where we were going so I didn't know what was appropriate and he wouldn't budge on telling me, he was clearly excited for the night he planned too. I finally got ready and we headed to the train. We took the 2 something train in. On the way we talked about whatever came to mind, the last time we went out, how the kids are doing, work, our business that we've been working on growing for the last 5 years, and that Joey had asked to work on the house they were finishing up out in Wainscot. This was a big job, one of our biggest to date. Joey didn't work the day before because he had a doctors appointment, so he asked Dan to work on Saturday. We continued on our way. We got into the city around 3:45pm and headed to the restaurant... It was a good day so far, the conversation was good and we had begun talking about the direction we wanted to take the business in and how we were going to ask Joey to become a project manager as he worked hard, took pride in his job and had shown that he wanted to really be a part of it, ready for the role in a sense. We sat down at this modern restaurant, it was nice and it had the perfect menu. We ordered drinks and as they came, at 4:27pm Dan got a call from the homeowner. I told him "Text Joey to see what's going on so we have an idea before you call him back". he agreed, but he didn't get an answer. He got up and went outside. I used the restroom and he hadn't come back yet. I sat at the table and tried to think about what he had planned, I was still so excited. I must've looked down because next thing I knew I saw Dan toward the kitchen nearly yelling at the waiter. I was like what the hell... My first thought was he had planned something and they didn't make it happen and he was mad. Then he strongly walked over to me and the following conversation took place:

Dan: "Get your things, we have to go now"

Me: "I don't understand, what happened? What is happening?"

Dan: "Get your things, we have to go"

*I grab my coat and we walk out*

On our way out, I noticed the hostesses face, not sure why, but she looked at me and just looked sad. We got outside and I asked him one final time, "What the hell is going on? Why did we leave?" with everything he had, he looked at me and says

"Dave* called, there was an emergency at the house, they found Joey, he was unresponsive, the painters found him, they did CPR, they called the police, they are taking him to the hospital"...

My next ten seconds:

What? What did he just say to me? My brother? Is he dead? Is he alive? What happened? My parents have the kids, I have to call my mother in law to get them, My mother is probably freaking out, I'm freaking out, He's dead, He died, I know he did, Oh my god why am I in the fucking city? Why am I so far? What time is the next train? Is there an emergency plane somewhere here, Is there a helicopter we can rent? What hospital will they take him too? Get me to the fucking train.

I called my mother in law. "Mom, I need you to go get the kids, something happened with Joey, we are heading home, my mom can't have them right now, she needs to go to the hospital, I need you to get them" She cries and tells me she is going to get them right now.

I called my mother.

She answered as if everything was fine. That's when it hit me... she didn't know anything yet. The homeowner called us, of course he did, it's our company, he only has our phone number. Tears streaming down my face, nearly running to Penn in heels, the cold blasting my face and hands... I am about to tell my mother that her son, her baby, her youngest child may or may not be alive. I handed the phone to Dan, I couldn't do it. I say "She doesn't know anything yet". Dan asks for my father, he was out, getting my daughter diapers. He asked her to have Dad call us back. I vaguely remember him telling her it was important and he needed him to call him right away. I was like every other person in New York City at that point if you looked at me, in rush trying to get somewhere, on my phone, not paying attention to my surroundings. But I wasn't. My world had just stopped.

I don't remember walking much anymore after that until we got to the station. I started calling Southhampton Hospital and asking if anyone matching Joey's description had been brought in. Not yet, call back in 10 minutes I was told. It was now 5:45pm, the next train was 6:12pm. I called back in exactly 10 minutes. A John Doe had been brought in, someone had to come down and confirm it was him before they could tell me anything else. I called my mother, she was on her way.

We waited outside Penn for the minutes to pass before going down to the tracks. I knew I wouldn't have service down there and didn't want to miss a call. I remember sobbing into the chain link fence with the green tarp behind it, because of some construction. I remember a couple smoking a cigarette next to me, waiting for the same train I would assume. I remember Dan trying to hug and yelling at him to not touch me. I remember my chest becoming tight and struggling to catch my breath through the tears. I asked Dan, what exactly did *David tell you. He tells me, the painters were trying to use the bathroom for a little while and the door was locked. They kept knocking and trying to get in, on the fourth time, they popped the lock and found Joey. They called the police and than David.

That train ride was the longest train ride of my life. There was a family next to us and I just watched the little girl about my daughters age play and ask for more cupcakes from her parents. I tried to hide my face when I would sob because I didn't want to scare as I know my daughter would be scared if she saw some lady crying on the train. A young woman was looking at me every now and then from beyond the seats, she didn't know what was going on but she knew it was bad judging by the look on her face when I would catch her eye.

We finally get to Ronkonkoma. We get in the car and drive home. I run upstairs, get changed, say goodbye to Dan and head for Southampton. It was 8:00pm. I don't remember the music that was on, but I cried. I cried the whole way there. I knew he was gone. My soul just knew, I was no longer the woman who has a brother, I am the woman who had a brother.

9:00pm, I get to the hospital. I see my parents, they are broken already. They confirmed it's Joseph. The nurse brings me back, Mom and Dad come with. He's on a ventilator, I can see his heart beat on the machine, he's not moving. He's not sedated. "This is just him right now" they tell me, no sedation.

He has a cut on his nose and it is bloody, he must of hit it when he passed out. "They are letting his body rest" Mom says.

So began, the hardest time of our lives.

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