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.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Coping - 14 1/2 weeks later

It is difficult to know how to begin this post. I still have a hard time believing that Josh is gone - never to return. I keep hoping that it was a terrible mistake and that one morning, he will walk down the stairs as if nothing had ever happened.

Many things remind me of him - such as sitting by the pool on a nice sunny day and picturing him with trademark sunglasses, laying on a float and just "chilling" as only Josh could do. Or as probably most families do, we enjoy barbecuing in the summer. For Father's Day, we grilled steaks and sausage and I couldn't help but recall how Josh loved a huge, thick steak - cooked medium rare.

We are big Red Sox fans as Tim grew up in Boston and we actually met while in college at Boston University. We always make it a point to attend a Red Sox game when they are playing the Orioles at Camden Yards or "Fenway South", as we like to call it. Last week, we were fortunate to get tickets through one of Gillian's college friends, to see the Red Sox play the Nationals. This was our first trip to the Nat's new ball park. I know that Josh would've enjoyed being at the game, sitting next to Gillian, cracking jokes and making her laugh.

Other memories are triggered unexpectedly - most recently by things that I have found. When this happens, I find it hard to breathe and it is like a spigot goes off and tears stream uncontrollably down my face.

For example, I was clearing a flashdrive the other day and found a Word document for school that Josh had saved. It was basically a note to his English teacher regarding some feedback she had given to him on an essay. It made me cry because I could actually hear him speaking the words - as he was trying to explain himself.

There were some comments that I can't argue about, like that I needed more analysis or that I needed to better explain the significance of a quote, or something like that. I thought the first quarter was alright, there was some room for improvement. I look forward to get better grades in the second quarter and we'll see if I can. Things might be a little bit easier because football season is basically over. That's my goal for the second quarter. Josh Anderson

Most homes have some space that is dedicated to storage. In our case, it is a large crawl space located in our basement, which over the years, had become filled with unused items - most of which I could not remember. This space is located directly under our laundry room and unfortunately one night, when the water from our washing machine did not automatically shut off, not only did that room get flooded, but water flooded the crawl space. For four hours, with the help of our two girls, my brother and sister-in-law (who arrived just in time to help!), we emptied the entire space.

Over the past few weeks, we've needed to sort between what to keep and throw out. As a result, I found boxes of memorabilia and various pieces of art work that had been done by the kids. When I came across Josh's baby book and scrap book, I wish I could explain the emotions that overcame me. Suffice it to say that I could only take a cursory look through my tears and put it in a fresh box to review later. Some photos of what I found.....

A page from Josh's baby book.
I had forgotten that he was a big baby, 8 lbs and 11 oz. and was born at 3:45 am. This book also contains the ultrasound pictures as well as a picture and a locket of hair from his first haircut.

Josh was a good artist - even at a young age.

Josh's picture of himself and his dad.

Self portrait with a note from his art teacher:
Joshua - I'm sorry that I have had your self-portrait for the whole year. I simply am amazed by your talent. I hope you don't mind that I trimmed and mounted your picture. You should keep it for as long as you can to remind you of your skill!

It has been over three months now and I feel the need to make sure that all memories of not only Josh, but our family are preserved. This is an overwhelming task as we have photos in various photo albums - many of them in those awful, sticky pages of another era - as well as in photo boxes. We took hundreds of pictures in the "pre-digital" age where the originals are stored as negatives.

I know that any kids who are reading this cannot even imagine the time when you did not have instantaneous access to your photos and had to wait until the film was developed. I recently asked my 19 year old how many pictures she had. The answer was over 3,000 in her iphoto library and even more saved in other files. In our day, that would've meant a lot of money in film and developing. Technology is amazing.

So with the collection of memorabilia uncovered, and the need to organize decades of photos, my dining area is no longer recognizable. I have known that this needed to be done for some time, but for some reason, there was never a pressing enough reason to tackle such a monumental task. Until the passing of our beloved son.

So for the next few months, or however long it takes, I will be spending my spare time going down memory lane - with a box of tissues close by.

God Bless


Biggie-Z said...

I was just thinking about Josh this morning - triggered by some pretty rough 9/11 memories last night while we were talking about it with friends - and I remember, so vividly back in 2001 and also recently, going to sleep each night hoping to visit a kinder, happier world in my dreams, and hoping I could wake up and turn back the clock.

hugs hugs hugs

Adrienne said...

Oh how I wish I could come and park myself in that dining room and help! So brave, you are ~ we tend to photograph and save the joyful, positive and milestone prayerfully there will be much laughter and many smiles through the tears. Scrapbooking (for me) has proven to be an incredible tool for processing, and treasuring, and working through some challenges... I find it soothing and reassuring ~ I hope you will too! Can't begin to express how deeply this blog and your willingness to continue to share your heart has moved me ~ Hugs to you, A

wendyrsm said...

God Bless you!!

Nadine said...

Dear Sue,
Of course I shed a few tears as I read this last post. Your pain must be so raw. I feel for you. Thank you for being so courageous in sharing your journey. I love you,

Anonymous said...

Dear Anderson family,

I am a University student in Vancouver Canada. I am debating in a class this week against the zero tolerance policy. I came across your story in the Washington Post and wanted to express my condolences.

I wish you peace and wellbeing.

Kind regards. said...

Sue, I too want to come over and help. Hopefully I can do that some time soon. I have as much as you that need to be put together and preserved. I totally understand why you feel an even deeper need to get this done now. Thank you for sharing your heart, your thoughts, your pain and tears as always are flowing and seem to never stop~ I love you Rox