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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Poem by Josh's friend

Tim and I spent an unexpected afternoon this past weekend with two of Josh's really good friends. Independently, they each called me to see if they could come over to see how we were doing and to talk. It was so great to see them and reminisce together about our son and their friend.

It was clear to us that Josh's death impacted them deeply and still does. We are all grieving - individually and together.

They were able to give us continued insight into the difficult waters that teenagers must navigate these days. Not only are the academic pressures so great, especially for teens who live in the Northern Virginia area, but as we can all guess, the social pressures and temptations can be overwhelming as well. If this were not enough, stress within the family can take what is difficult and make it almost unbearable.

Was Josh feeling all of these things? I would say "yes". Getting into trouble at school for the second time meant facing probably expulsion and leaving another group of friends that he had just made. And although it was clear that we were willing to support and assist him, we were disappointed that he made decisions that brought him back to where we started in the first place when he had to leave Langely HS. I am beginning to think that all of this was just too much for him to bear and that he did not have the ability to cope, nor the motivation to reach out to call someone who could help him.

How I wish this weren't so because then, maybe he would've had the ability to see himself through that awful night, and have woken up to a new day with all of its possibilities.

A couple of days after our visit, I received this beautiful poem written by his friend. With her permission, I'd like to share it with all of you. God Bless.

You Are Near
By Hayley Savage
I can't believe this happened, I feel so dumb and blind,
Everyone's in pain Josh, all the people left behind.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way, that's not how death's designed.
I wish you would have thought twice, I know you would have changed your mind.

Josh, I don’t know what to do now, this is way to much to bear,
Who do I go to when I need help? Now that you are not there.
It's real hard to move on Josh, I’m reminded everywhere
I'm so angry that you did this, for all of us it is not fair.

The future that you had, well I guess we’ll never know
You could have done so many things, its amazing how you’ve grown.
The pain you must have felt, I wish we could have known
We would have been beside you, so you didn’t feel alone.

I guess you’ll never understand all that talent gone to waste
All the tears and all the thoughts and struggles we must face.
Josh I really wish that you would fill something in the place
Of all of our broken hearts because there is an empty space.

I know if you could go back, you would probably undo
The thing that caused our hurt and pain, all we want is you.
As we look up in the sky and try to find a sign that you are here
I feel the wind and hear the trees and know that you are near.


Biggie-Z said...

I was thinking of Josh again this morning, and also of how his friends must still be grieving. Josh touched so many of us, I wish he could have seen that while he was still with us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,
Josh was a friend of some of my friends. Although I never met him myself, I wish I had. Even in his music, I feel a connection to him. Since I heard about the blog, I have found myself checking it every now and then to see how a strong family is coping after a tragedy such as this. It’s inspiring to read your words and I think it’s wise to express yourself instead of bottling it all in.
I just wanted to share a few excerpts that I have found helpful in understanding death. I had a close relative die suddenly and these words helped my family cope. You may have already seen these but I thought I’d share them anyway.

Life is Eternal
By Henry Van Dyke

“I am standing on the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone.”
Gone where? Gone from my sight—that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her; and just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone,” there are other eyes watcher her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There she comes!”

Which reminds me of the following prayer:

We seem to give him back to thee, dear God, who gavest him to us. Yet, as thou didst not lose him in giving, so we have not lost him by his return. Not as the world giveth, givest thou, O Lover of souls! What thou givest, thou takest not away. For what is thine is ours always, if we are thine. And life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. Lift us up, O God, that we may see further; cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly; draw us closer to thyself, that we may know ourselves nearer to our beloved who are with thee. And while thy Son prepareth a place for us, prepare us for that happy place, that, where they are and thou art, we too may be; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And this,

In one sense there is no death. The life of a soul on earth lasts beyond his departure. You will always feel that life touching yours, that voice speaking to you, that spirit looking out of other eyes, talking to you in the familiar things he touched, worked with, loved as familiar friends. He lives on in your life and in the lives of all others that knew him.
-Angelo Patri

Anonymous said...

I also would like to add that I too got into trouble when I was in High School. Although I was just suspended for a short period of time, the day of suspension is so vivid to me, even 6 years later. I remember what songs I listened to, who I talked to for comfort, the look on my parents’ faces- everything. I remember feeling shame. What were my friends’ parents going to say at their dinner tables that night? What were my teachers and coaches going to think? I felt rejected by my own community.
Looking back on it now, it was so much more trivial than I thought at the time. I should have realized that nobody cared as much as I did. That anyone who was going to really judge me based on one bad decision (drinking before a school dance) wasn’t worth caring about anyway. I should have realized that life goes on, my family and friends still loved me, and that High School isn’t your whole life, but merely the beginning. Someone once put it that when you’re young, your life is like a “fish bowl”—You only see what’s right in front of you. You don’t see what’s ahead or beyond murky waters. I can only guess that Josh was living in his fish bowl as all high school students do, not realizing that there is more to life than the present. If I were in his situation, I wonder if I would have felt those same feelings the night before his trial. After feeling what it was like to be suspended, I wouldn’t be surprised if I would have.
Although I have the most loving and supportive parents I could ever dream of, it took me until I was almost 21 to ever open up to them or come to them with my problems. I don’t think I would have come to them, even if I was on the brink of death, when I was younger. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because nobody around me seemed to have problems and I thought they wouldn’t understand or that they'd be disappointed. It wasn’t until I was older to realize how much more life they’ve lived, and life lessons they’ve gained to help me through anything. That they weren't going to judge me ever. What a great resource they are. I internalized my problems for much of high school instead of coming to them and I can only look back now and regret it.
My point is that some people internalize their emotions, as I imagine Josh did. No matter how much support and love they have surrounding them, they will keep it in. I’m so incredibly sorry that he didn’t come to you and maybe a different outcome could have been reached. But you must know that you were there as much as you could have been, and that’s all that you could do. I know it’s easy to blame yourself but try to remember you did your best.
Although I do not know you, my heart is with you. I hope you continue to find the strength you need to live the best life you can. God bless.

Josh's mom said...

Thank you for the comments on this post. For some reason, I am feeling very, very sad tonight - really missing Josh and wishing so much that this was all a horrible nightmare. I still can't believe that he is gone. I would give anything to have him back, even my own life. This must be the "bargaining" stage of grief that I have read about.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers - I need them.