Please use this blog to help us remember Joshua Lee Anderson, who made the tragic and fatal decision to take his life on Wednesday, March 18, 2009. Please post any memories or thoughts you may have in the comments.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

April 18, 2009 - One Month Later

The eighteenth of every month will now have new meaning for me. It will mean one more month has passed since Josh decided to leave us. We have been spending the past few days in Hilton Head with good friends, Tom and Nancy. Before all of this happened with Josh, Tim had planned to be a marshall with Tom at the Heritage golf tournament. He decided to keep the committment and I am tagging along as it seemed to be good timing to get away for a little while.

It has been a good decision as it helps to be in different surroundings. I have been taking a walk on the beach daily, at which time I prayed to God for his comfort and strength, and I remember Josh. The conversation here has been about everything except for our loss. This has been a welcome relief from thinking and talking about it 24/7 while at home.

Ever since we received the "sign" from Josh, (please see the Easter Sunday post to understand), I have felt more at peace. Unfortunately, this feeling of peace is not something that stays in my heart. It is more like the wind - blowing in and out.

On one of my walks, peace was elusive. My mind was filled with thoughts of blame: why didn't I make sure he did not mess up again, why didn't I talk to him more, why didn't I know that he was capable of suicide? I was getting quite agitated and going down the depths of despair when in my head, as clear as day came the words, "Chill, Mom." This is exactly what Josh would've said to me when I got worked up or went on and on about something. This was a bit freaky - does the spirit of someone who is no longer here on earth speak to us? I am not sure, but my mind did calm down after that.

Generally speaking, I think I was doing fairly well - until last night. For some reason, it hit me again like a ton of bricks. I was re-living the entire tragedy all over again. The question "Why? Why? Why?" was echoing in my head. The picture that I had brought of Josh became too painful to look at. I can't even describe the depths of the anguish, pain and grief that overcame me - it literally felt like my heart was broken - again. Thankfully, after awhile, I slept and awoke to the most beautiful morning.

We have an audio CD of Josh's funeral service that Tim has listened to, but I have not - until this morning at the beach. Because I had been feeling really sad the night before, I debated on whether or not to do this. I am glad I did. There was not a cloud in the sky and while the gentle waves were lapping over my feet, I listened to the beautiful service for our son while looking out at the ocean. The beach was virtually empty which was good as no one could hear my unchecked sobs.

I was reminded of all the songs, scripture readings, sharing done by friends and family and of the sermon (please scroll down the blog to "Memorial Service Sharing" to read what was shared). This is what helped me today. To remember that "why" does not have an answer, but "how" does. How will I get through this? How can I move forward? How can I keep living when I feel like a part of me has died? The answer is by faith.
  • Faith to believe that God is "close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" Ps. 34:18
  • Faith to believe that with the continued love and support of friends and family, we can get through this.
  • Ultimately, faith to believe that by the grace of God, things will get better.
Unfortunately, as I have experienced in my heart, Faith and Peace have fierce competition in Doubt and Despair. It feels as though a battle is raging as to which two will reign, with the sides changing back and forth like in a mighty tug-o-war. I suspect that it may be this way for an extended period of time. I can only take one day-at-a-time and continue to pray for God's hand to guide us through this very difficult and painful time.

God Bless


Terri H-L said...

I will also mark the 18th of every month in my heart and will think of Josh and you guys on that day for a long time to come. Prayed for you all day yesterday.

I am comforted that you have now made it through the absolute worst month of your lives - and you are still standing. No matter how challenging parts of the future may be, you will never have to go back to that first month. Your courage amazes me.

Still sending much love, many hugs and constant prayers from New York.

Terri H-L

Nadine said...

Dear Sue (and Tim),

I wanted to write today, now that a few weeks have passed. I drove past a house today. It was no.33 and I thought of Josh.
You are in my heart and I am praying for you. Please pray for us too.
I love you. You are very brave and I really appreciate being able to share in your grief with you. You are very open. It helps me as we fight our own battles.
Take care. A big hug all the way from India.

Biggie-Z said...

We were thinking of you on the 18th as well. And I know that many, many people have said that you can't blame yourselves, but I will say it again and again in the hope that maybe if you hear it enough times you might start to believe it once in a while.

Lots of love and hugs to you, Tim, Tyler, Lauren and Gillian.

Gillian said...

April 18th was a beautiful day. I collected some flowers from our yard and went with Bryce to the cemetery. I also brought a bag of sunflower seeds for him. Bryce and I laid down on opposite sides of the grave and it felt like Josh was lying there with us, in between us, just like it always was when we were together. Because it was so nice out, we ended up staying there for several hours. It felt nice to just be there with him. It was also really great to be there with Bryce because we're going through similar feelings of grief. When Bryce would come over in the summers, Josh, he and I were like the three amigos; the three musketeers. We were always together and always always laughing.
Rachael came with her friend Hannah and a bucket of daffodils. She placed them all around the top of the grave. We all sat around him and it really did feel like he was there hanging out.
I didn't want to leave, but eventually we had to get back. Rachael said, "Later dude." I patted the ground twice and said, "I love you. I'll be back."
Even though a whole month has passed, I still can't believe it actually happened. I keep thinking I'm going to wake up. I think of my life now in terms of "before it happened" and "after it happened." They are two starkly different time periods in my life. Nothing will ever seem the same as "before it happened." Though knowing I got through this first month gives me hope that I will get through the rest.

I miss you, Josh. So much. Love you.


Anonymous said...

All I could think of on the 18th is that is was the 18th...a month has passed...I looked at the blog several times on the 18th looking for your post...even tho I knew it would be delayed because of your trip. My thoughts are with you every single day. No matter what I am doing at work or at home I only go a few minutes at a time thinking of anything else. Tonight it was on the news about an 11 year old boy here in Atlanta who killed himself last week. He had been bullied by kids at school. It made me think of the fact Josh was bullied at school as well in a different way but the pain and the result was the same. My heart broke all over again....the family of this 11 year old attends the church that I attend and my heart goes out to them as well! It just shows how HUGH things are to our kids.

Josh would not want you to blame yourself....he wouldn't...and he IS sending you those messages because of the strong bond that you two have that just cannot be broken. He is still your little shadow Sue. He is with you.

Thank you once again for all you sharred! I am right here crying with you and praying for God to somehow make something beautiful out of all of this pain!

All my Love - Roxanne

StephJW said...

By "accident" (which,of course, nothing is by accident) I happened to read the article in the Washington Post and immediately recognized Tim & Sue's names; my daughters and I use to attend the Maryland region of the church and remember Sue handling RCamp - so we remember the kids, and my youngest remembers Josh especially. We were shocked and saddened to hear this news and want to let you all know that your family is in our prayers. I pray that the Lord will continue to move and heal your hearts and souls at this incomprehensible time in your lives. I also hope and pray that this blog will impart some kind of healing. In His incredible love, Steph J.W.

Anonymous said...

Jo and I keep a copy of Josh's service in a special place in our home. The tribute to his life was empowering and encouraging,it was obvious, that Josh touched so many lives.

Our hearts are broken, as your brother and sister in Christ, as parents and grandparents.

We reflect on the serving and nuturing character of your family, the LOVE, compassion and care, you and Tim have always shown others.

You and your family are in our prayers daily. WE LOVE YOU WITH THE LOVE OF THE LORD.

Jullian and Jo Grante