This blog is a memorial too. In Louise DeSalvo's book, Writing As A Way of Healing, there is a section called, "Writing A Loved One's Dying". How apropos. A memoir is referenced, Heaven's Coast, written by Mark Doty about his lover's death from AIDS.
I can relate completely and this is how I feel about the blog. It is a web monument - being erected by each post, comment, photo, shared story and art work - in honor and memory of our Josh. It is also a testament to the love felt for him by family, friends and those who have never met him. This was articulated in a recent comment from a friend whom I have not seen for years, and who, because of what she has seen in this blog, cries not only for me but for him.
Making a record of Wally's life and death was a way for Doty to remember him, to hold onto him. Remembering, he says, "is the work of the living." It is what the living must do for the dead. Recalling faces and they way they look in all moods and weathers. Anecdotes that they tell and tell and tell again. Incidents that signify the shared life in all its variety - its ecstatic and banal moments. "Gestures, tics, nuances, those particular human attributes that distinguish us as individuals." Doty believes it is his duty to capture the singularity of Wally, to erect a monument of words to his partner. But Heaven's Coast is a testament, too, to Doty's love for Wally and to his loss and grief (188).
This blog is also a record of the tragic circumstances surrounding his death and a call for parents to question the effectiveness of the Zero Tolerance policy in many of our school systems.
It is reminder that the minds of our young people can be quite fragile. That sometimes, they are not as strong, competent and emotionally mature as they appear to be and need more support and protection than we may think.
It is with these thoughts in mind that I end this post with a slideshow of when Josh was five and six years old. Missing front teeth, Little League baseball, first day of kindergarten, Halloween, first (and only) trip to Disney, summer visiting both sets of grandparents in Oregon and on Cape Cod, Christmas.
Josh - we love you so much.
Rest in peace, our dear boy.