Joseph the Strong

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First picture is of Joseph around one years old.

Second picture is of Joseph and Flavius.

Third picture is of Joseph and his wife Dana, this year:)

This particular blog is going to be emotionally very hard for me and you’ll find out soon why.

Between Delia and Joseph my mom lost another boy. He lived only five minutes after delivery due to heart complications.

Born the sixth child, I had a particular fondness for Joseph due to his sweet and humble nature. He did his very best not to cause problems into an already tumultuous environment and kept very quiet and out-of-the-way, often going without food until I would arrive from school around 2 pm. I would ask him if he ate and with the sweetest tone he would responded:

“No.”

“How come?”

“I didn’t want to bother mom.”

By now, due to the tole the pregnancies and the abuse from her husband took on her, my mother was very distant and moody. Thus, Joseph became my child and he started calling me “mommy” which made my heart radiate with love. I had a fearsome protective instinct over Joseph that pushed me into action. In my own way, I stood up for my younger siblings including my mother, in an effort to protect them. I felt responsible somehow for their safety. I was not 100% successful but something snapped in me one particular afternoon while on my way back from school. I was around twelve-years-old and Joseph around four-years old. I heard his painful cries all the way from the court yard; since it was warm outside the windows were open. The distance between me and him has never been as long as that particular day while I ran up the stairs and into the hallway of our apartment, where little Joseph had shrunk into a fetal position protecting his head with his little arms while my father hit him violently. Like a lioness seeing her cub in danger, and without hesitation, I ran between them covering his little body with mine, taking the hits for him. Shocked my father stopped- he had a weakness for his girls- and began yelling insults at me. I stood and faced him, chest high, gaze fixed into his with great determination refusing to move. I saw my father hesitate. Silently I was screaming at him: “Over my dead body.” Joseph was my child and suddenly my father became my enemy. I was determined to protect what was mine, no matter how big the enemy in front of me seemed. Even his slaps over my face and head or his crude insults didn’t make me flinch once as I turned my fixed gaze back at him, not one tear found in my eyes, simultaneously protecting Joseph behind me. Long enough I’ve witnessed this abuse without doing something about it. Long enough. From that day on a verbal war began between my father and I. For my remaining years in Romania I was the middle man in many circumstances. Also, from that day on all the twigs my father picked on his way home from work I secretly broke and got rid of.

It broke my heart when I had to leave Romania, after I married and today I just realized, leaving Joseph exposed and unprotected was a huge reason why. I felt secretly guilty about that for years.

Once gone, I heard Joseph and my younger brothers’s abuse doubled. Like I previously wrote, Marius had a very hard time through adolescence. I guess its as the saying goes: “Monkey see, monkey do.” Once that phase passed, Marius changed.

Joseph didn’t find refuge from the abuse until he entered college in Arad. I believe for a period of time he lived with Alin, who also went to collage, graduated and worked in Arad for many years before moving to Germany. Iosif also found refuge in the home of a young Christian family who sort of adopted him and cared for him greatly. Dana, who later on became his wife was the lady’s younger sister and that’s how they met:)

Joseph graduated college as an engineer and now works in a company run by his brother-in-law. Dana and Joseph have three fantastic children, one of them looks exactly like him. He’s involved in church ministry working with kids and even though it took him around five or six years, he built their home brick by brick, spending hundreds of hours in rain, cold and hot weather to finish. He pretty much built that house all by himself and they moved in it this year:)

With the exception of Alin, all my brother were and still are avid soccer lovers, spending many hours in the dust and confined apartment court yard playing.

Life was not easy for Joseph but God sure blessed him, just like he blessed the rest of us.  I thank God for taking care of him when I could not. He was always God’s child above mine and God took and is still taking good care of Joseph.

I could call him Joseph the Builder, but I think I’ll call him Joseph the Strong.

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