Joel’s Mug

By Darby Pritz

This is my brother’s mug. He used it every day at work.

Until a year ago.

Now it sits on my nightstand.

The drops of coffee that have dried on the rim seem recent. It makes him seem close.

What will those drops look like in another year? Will they still be the same? Will I?

Joel is frozen in time. He left the earth at 25, so 25 he’ll remain.

I’ll be 25 this year.

This is where we meet, briefly. Then I’ll pass by. Older than my big brother ever was.

In pictures his youth will be preserved, but in my mind he will age with me. I’ll look to him for advice, for his experience, for his responsibility, for his humor… like always. But he’ll have to teach me through cloudy memories, tainted by the knowledge that he wasn’t telling us something, and that it could have been different if I saw him through the lens I have now.



I’ll see you again, Joel. Until then, meet me where the drops of coffee have dried. Remind me that your absence here means your presence with Jesus. Save me a spot.


Annette Blackwell says

We are all thinking of Joel more than usual as we approach the anniversary of his death. Darby, thank you for expressing your feelings so well. Love, Nana

Candice Adkisson says

Darby, my heart is so heavy for you and your precious family. Your words have so much emotion, I hear both the happy and sad as you remember him. You have all been like family to us and you are like older siblings to my own kids. Please know we will be praying for you and remembering Joel!

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