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.

Friday, June 12, 2009

June 12, 2009 - Weekday or Date?

This probably seems like an odd title for a post; I will try to explain. Josh decided to leave us on March 18th, which was the the third Wednesday of the month. So, when do we commemorate his death? For example, the third Wednesday in June is the 17th. But three months is on Thursday, June 18th.

This might seem like a trivial question for many, but for Tim and I, it means the difference between a somewhat "normal" day and one that is filled with memories, questions and almost unbearable pain. And for me, non-stop tears.

This question is not unique to us. I wrote in an earlier post that I had been doing a bit of reading to help me deal with this tragedy. One such book is called "When Suicide Comes Home - A Father's Diary and Comments". It is the journal entries that the author, Paul Cox, made after his son committed suicide, a couple of years following his high school graduation. He dedicated this book to his young son's memory and to the hope that it would offer help and assistance to others facing the same tragedy.

This is what Paul wrote two years after his son's death:

I thought I would have worked out when to commemorate it by now. I haven't. I don't know whether to mark it on the month and day, or mark it on the third Friday of November. Should I commemorate on November 20th, no matter the day of the week, or the third Friday no matter the actual date? It seems silly, but it is important to me.
As I compare his thoughts and feelings at certain days after his son's death with my own, I am finding that virtually everything is the same. This may be in part because this poor father was all alone in the house when he found his son. It was the same for me. I can relate so well to his struggle with the mental picture that "just keeps playing like a continuous film loop". And the complete and total feeling of blame, despite what everyone says.

We have posted on this blog a playlist of songs that were Josh's favorites, based on how frequently they were played. I have listened to these songs over and over because it felt like Josh was speaking through them. I should not have been surprised to read that the author also found songs, three of them, left on a CD in his son's CD player. The lyrics were sad as well, about "dying, being missed, and going to Heaven."

He journals about having days where he begins to feel good and then feels guilty for feeling good. For me, it is like being in a perpetually cloudy, overcast day in which at times, the sun breaks through. Perhaps for only a moment or for a few hours. But never for the entire day - at least for now. According to my reading, sometime in the future, when I have come to the "acceptance" stage of the grief process, it may be opposite. Maybe at that time, most days will be sunny with momentary times of cloud cover.

He also journals in the days immediately following his son's death, the need for a "sign" or some communication that he was okay. I can relate to everything that is written on various days: "my poor, sweet son, I long to know that you are okay." Or "I sure would like some communication from him, or God, letting me know he is okay". Or "I long to see him, if only for a few seconds in a dream" or "I could sure use a short visit from him."

Those who have read previous posts know that I was praying for such a sign as well. And received one - on Easter Sunday, witnessed by family and friends. I am thankful to have received this so early on, but confess that I have been praying for another sign that Josh is okay. Just another confirmation that he is at peace would make it a little easier to move forward with our lives.

I feel a bit greedy because I may have received another sign from Josh, based on the feedback of those whom I have told this story. For me, I am not sure so I will relay the story here. In a previous post, I shared that Tim and I went to Hilton Head for a nice getaway trip. During this time, I made it a daily habit to walk on the beach as there is something about being by the water that I find refreshing and relaxing.

One of the days happened to be the one month anniversary of Josh's death. I was on the beach listening to the CD of the memorial service, the first and only time since the funeral. After doing so, I sat for a while and wrote in my journal while listening to his playlist. Needing to stretch my legs, I got up and walked to the ocean. Lo and behold, about 40 yards in front of me was a lone dolphin. It was so surprising to me that at first, I thought the water was playing tricks on my eyes. But sure enough, after floating in front of me for a little while, the dolphin slowly moved to my right and further out to sea. Within five minutes or so, I could no longer see the distinctive fin moving up and down. I wish I had my camera with me to record these precious moments.

According to our hosts, there are a number of dolphins that are sighted off of these shores. However, is it more than coincidence that this one dolphin was there - the exact moment that I decided to walk towards the water? I wish I knew for sure. At the time, I did immediately think of Josh and will end this post with the lyrics of one of the more haunting of his songs that came to mind.

"Into The Ocean" by Blue October

I'm just a normal boy
That sank when I fell overboard
My ship would leave the country
But I'd rather swim ashore

Without a life vest I'd be stuck again
Wish I was much more masculine
Maybe then I could learn to swim
Like 'fourteen miles away'

Now floating up and down
I spin, colliding into sound
Like whales beneath me diving down
I'm sinking to the bottom of my
Everything that freaks me out
The lighthouse beam has just run out
I'm cold as cold as cold can be.....


I want to swim away but don't know how
Sometimes it feels like I'm falling in the ocean
Let the waves up, take me down
Let the hurricane set in motion, yeah
Let the rain of what I feel right now come down
Let the rain come down

Where is the coastguard?
I keep looking each direction
For a spotlight, give me something
I need something for protection
Maybe the flotsam junk will do just fine
the jetsam sunk, I'm left behind
I'm treading for my life, believe me
(How can I keep up this breathing?)

Not knowing how to think
I scream aloud, begin to sink
My legs and arms are broken down
With envy for the solid ground
I'm reaching for the life within me
How can one man stop his ending
I thought of just your face
Relaxed, and floated into space


Now waking to the sun
I calculate what I had done
Like jumping from the bow, yeah
Just to prove I knew how, yeah
It's midnight's late reminder of
The loss of her, the one I love
My will to quickly end it all
Set front row in my need to fall
Into the ocean, end it all
Into the ocean (goodbye) end it all (goodbye)

Josh - please let me know again that you are okay.

God Bless


Anonymous said...

I am not eloquent and often cannot think of the words that will comfort you, but whenenver I read one of your posts, I sit for the longest time trying to think of what to write. Once again - my heart aches for you yet I am inspired by your courage and glad that you are having moments and sometimes hours at a time of relief from your pain. All I can say - again - is that you are in my daily thoughts and prayers and I love you guys.


Anonymous said...

Wow Sue, this is was such an amazing post. First I am glad that in the book you are reading you are able to identify the same feelings and stages of loss as the author of the book.
I am hoping it is making you feel like you have to be in NO rush to heal... take everyday as it comes.

I do believe God is gonna be throwing many more signs your way that Josh is okay for the rest of your life and you will have those to look forward to. I believe that the signs come when we least expect them!! Thats how we know they are real :)

We love you soo much and really appreciate every post you write on this page.
In my prayers always
Tami Wilder

NoLastName said...

For you and those close to Josh, you feel each and every day since he's left. a week is s true seven-day week. a month is four seven day-weeks without him. the 18th of some random month doesn't really add up to the exact amount of time time since you've been without him. i see how it's necessary to commemorate exact weeks. eventually, as time and years pass, you will think in "larger" terms like "it's been a year".. even though it might not have been an exact year, per se. so little time has passed, that seeing the third wednesday of each month as his day makes sense. either way, everyday is "josh" day for you--you're his mom, afterall.

Biggie-Z said...

I think NoLastName said how I feel - every day is a day without Josh. That being said, some days are harder than others. I hope we were able to distract each other a bit this 18th, but I am definitely thinking of Tim and you today, Father's Day.

With love,
biggie's momma