At the age of 90, Jo is still haunted from her past after her husband returned from serving the United States Army on the “Manhattan Project” at the Trinity Atomic Bomb Site in New Mexico. As her husband departed from his mission, he was unaware of the assigned duty he would be working on. After he returned to his family, his physical and psychological scarring from carrying out his duties became hard for him to cope with, which permanently altered his overall demeanor. Jo has been seeking closure throughout her life, trying to put herself in the shoes of a soldier in order to understand how the impact of atomic explosion damaged her husband. Additionally, she longs to give her daughters the opportunity to heal emotionally and spiritually from losing the father they once knew.
After losing her husband when he was 59 years old, Jo truly tried to see the important aspects of life by traveling and helping others. She met wonderful people all around world, visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki by herself to honor the soldiers. Her compassionate, selfless soul began working as a volunteer to help those in areas involving family issues, stalker laws and victim advocacy. Furthermore, she organized donations and the distribution of food, money and supplies for the South Dakota-Sioux India and Navaho Indian tribes. She has been involved with the Wounded Warrior Project, spending time completing projects and attending meetings in order to show her support. At the age of 90, Jo now resides in a Brookdale community in Denver where she draws, writes and keeps up with recent news.
On April 2, Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale were more than happy to send Jo and her two daughters, Susan and Lori, to the Trinity Atomic Bomb Site in New Mexico—this happens to be one of the two days the site is open for the entire year. Overall, Jo had a burning desire to give her daughters a sense of closure. “I believe that being present can be more impacting that just hearing the stories,” said Jo. The trip was emotional for Jo and her daughters, but she was able to feel more connected to her husband after visiting the site. In the midst of her tour, she was also able to locate a picture of her husband that she had never seen before. By visiting the Trinity Atomic Bomb Site, Jo feels as though she finally found some peace from this devastating event in her life.
Special thanks to Karina Schuh for photographing this special experience.