I have always been a reader, in fact my favorite time of the day is at the very end, when all chores are finished and a good book is waiting on my end table. Some people watch TV before bed or drift off while listening to music. For me, no matter how tired I am, I must read something in order to fall asleep.
I learn by reading as well. Therefore, as one would expect, once the shock began to wear off, I began looking for books to read. Books that would help me understand how Josh could do this and books that could help my family and I survive.
The resources on the Internet are amazing. Through two web sites, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology, I have found lists of over 100 books that deal with this tragedy.
Many are books for survivors with titles such as "After Suicide Loss: Coping With Your Grief" or "Silent Grief: Living in the Wake Of Suicide". Other books are written for those who are trying to understand how someone could get to this point with titles like "The Suicidal Mind" or "Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide".
A few weeks ago, I went on-line and ordered 11 books. I have only read one so far. I find it hard to read during the early evening hours as there is always so much to do. So the only time I open up a book is before bed. As you can imagine, it is hard to read these types of books before sleeping.
Although, any type of book could be difficult, as I found out last night. I have been reading an engrossing tale of two women who became best friends in HS and have stayed close all through their adult years. Long story short, there is a major breach of trust, they don't talk for several years and one of them now has cancer and it is terminal.
As my kids can attest, I cry pretty easily - with all types of media. A book, a song, a touching article in the newspaper or magazine. In fact, my family were a bit embarrassed when I cried in the theatre during the Lion King. Tears have also appeared while watching TV - once such instance happened when Josh and I were watching something and a short preview came on for the movie, John Q. I started sniffling; he just looked at me, shook his head slightly and smirked. Shortly after we were married, Tim and I saw Terms of Endearment. To this day, he calls it Tears of Endearment because I cried for an hour after we came home. I don't know where this comes from as in general, I am not an overly emotional person. Maybe from my mother, as she cries easily while watching movies too.
This book made me cry, and cry and cry. Then I thought about Josh and couldn't stop. When someone is ill and is dying, at least their loved ones have some time to be with them before the end. With Josh, it was so sudden. One day, he was there and everything was "normal" and then he was gone. No good-bye, no last words, no nothing.
How could this have happened to us? Why? What could we have done? What didn't we do? Why did it have to end this way? Why didn't we know? What did we do wrong? These questions kept circling around and around in my head for quite a while. I know there are no answers but the questions still linger.
I have to confess that it is very difficult to go to his grave site now. The days are pretty busy and although I never forget what has happened, it is not always in the fore front of my mind. But when I go and see the cold, hard stone that has his full name, Joshua Lee Anderson and his date of birth, Jan. 16, 1992 and the date of his death, March 18, 2009 - the reality and all of its horrors and implications hits me anew. It is so sad to stand there and think of what he would be doing now if he were alive.
Sometime I take a walk around and look at the items that other families have put in trees that are near their loved ones. During one such walk, there was a "Happy 16th Birthday" balloon that was tied to a grave stone vase. Sure enough, when you look at the dates on the stone, this young person would've been 16 years old. Then I think of myself buying a "Happy 18th Birthday" balloon next January, coming to the cemetery and placing it on Josh's grave site. This image is almost more than I can bear, but it is now our reality. I honestly do not know how I will be able to cope when the time comes - only by the grace of God, the love and strength provided by our families and the thoughts and prayers of friends.
I will end this post with some pictures taken this weekend with family.