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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Teenage Grief

I shared in my last post about the difficulty that Gillian was having in dealing with Josh's death. We know she is not the only teen who is finding it hard to deal with all of the emotions and thoughts that surround his passing. One minute he is there: on the other side of a text or in class or on the phone or hanging out at someone's house or on the practice field. The next minute, your whole world, as ours, has been changed - in an instant - once you heard the horrible and incomprehensible news.

At first, you think, "no way, it can't be true. It isn't true!" Then you hear from more and more of your friends that it is. Many of you came to our home the first couple of days and saw for yourself that the worst has happened - your friend was gone. Just like us, you couldn't believe it. Just like us, you wondered why he did it. Just like us, you wondered why he didn't say anything to you. And just like us, you might have had thoughts that started with, "if only" and "what if".

This week, Tim found a blog that was started by one of Josh's friends and had a couple of posts - expressing real grief, anguish, confusion and pain. We received an email from one of Josh's best friends who shared that the blog has helped as he could relate to many of the feelings that have been shared. And lastly, I got a surprise and welcome visit from someone who knew Josh in elementary and middle school - who also felt that life has not been the same since that fateful week and finds the blog postings and comments helpful.

Tim and I went to the cemetery today to view the grave stone that had been ordered. It was so hard to see it, as it is something else that makes Josh's death real and not just a terrible nightmare. When we were there, I picked up a few pamphlets that were written to help deal with grief. One of the pamphlets was called "Teenage Grief" written by Kelly Baltzell M.A and Karin Baltzell, Ph.D. I found the words on the cover to be very poignant and have quoted it here:
Being a teenager is an emotionally vulnerable time in one's life. Being a grieving teen can make you twice as vulnerable. Death can make you grow up in a hurry. You may find you are no longer invincible. Beware that the adults in your life may not be available to meet your needs.
The authors shared some tips on how to deal with your grief such as:
  • Write a story about the person you lost.
  • Journal - put your feelings, thoughts, worries and fear down on paper, for your eyes only!
  • Talk to your friends and family
  • Keep physically active
  • Talk to counselors at school or someone outside of school
  • Lean on your faith
I think these are some very good ideas. Many have helped me. If story telling is not your thing, maybe you can express your feelings in music, art or some other creative outlet. I received a scrapbook ready for pictures and words from a dear college friend. This will be my way of telling Josh's story. I really want and need to do this as I am afraid that we might forget certain things with the passing of time.

I would highly recommend a journal - it has helped me to write about my feelings, thoughts, questions and emotions every day, so much so, that I bought a blank book for Gillian so she can start.

Talking to others is so helpful. This blog has been our lifesaver. Maybe this post can be a special place where Josh's friends can share comments with us and with each other. If you are not comfortable with posting on the blog, but want to share your thoughts and feelings directly, feel free to email me at

I know that Josh's friends grieved deeply at his passing. We witnessed this firsthand in our home and at the memorial service. I suspect that many are still grieving and are finding these feelings hard to deal with or understand. Please know that we feel the same way. If you want to visit, our door is always open. If there is anything else we can do, please let us know.

It helps us to know that you are still thinking of our beloved son - may he rest in peace.

God Bless.
Josh's Dad and Mom


Anonymous said...

Dear Sue,

What an incredible person you are! I am more than amazed at your capacity to think outside your own pain at this time. Your sensitivity towards Josh's friends and their pain and bewilderment at losing their friend is such an example of empathy it is beyond words. It is so much like Christ on the cross whose thoughts were about his mother, the thieves hanging beside him and even his executioners while he was in the midst of His own agony.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers,

Love Louise

Biggie-Z said...

This blog has been a real source of comfort to me as well. Every day, I wake up and still think, I can't believe it. It didn't really happen.

Every morning, one of the first things I do I check the blog for new posts, new comments, and I look at the pictures again. It's a good thing - it's my way of visiting with Josh.

And yes, we ask ourselves the same questions over and over again. Josh, we hope you have found peace. Take care of your sisters and your brother and your mom and dad.


Anonymous said...

I thought about Josh frequently yesterday. It has been really really hard for me to get on with my normal life without thinking about it but I was sitting in one of the classes that I had with him, and I just imagined him sitting in his old seat smirking at me. I almost started crying right there and then... somehow I managed to hold it in so as to not draw attention to myself but this was a good moment more then a bad one. I wasn't thinking about him being gone, I wasn't thinking about what he did to himslef, I wasn't thinking about what I could of done, or wishing this had never happened (even though those thoughts really never leave my mind) I was just happy to see him. I felt his presence, and whether he was really there or not didn't matter... I was just happy to see him.

Anonymous said...


Last night on PBS, a documentary titled "Cry for Help" that focused on teenage mental health was aired. The film was informative, moving, and applicable to many of our lives. I thought you might like to see it:

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Sue, you blow my mind. I am amazed at your concern for Josh's friends and all of us who love you guys.

Praying for you daily, still.


texgal said...

Hey Tim and Sue,
I can only hope that it helps to let you know we are thinking about you--it is a rare day when I don't have some thoughts about you guys. Josh, of course, but mainly about how you two are doing and how you are trying to get through day after day. I didn't know Josh that well but I can see how much he meant to so many people, my kids included. However, as a mom I can only try to imagine the grief, mind-numbing grief, you must feel--probably on a daily basis. Please know we think of you so often and pray that you able to put each foot after another when that is what is required, and time to stop and rest or reflect when that is what is called for.
With love, Art and Terri