I ask God, "Why did this happen? Why did you allow our dear boy to take his life? Why didn't you stop it? Why didn't you give my mother's intuition a nudge?" Surely I would've acted on it. I would've have asked the hard questions. I would've forced myself into his world to make him see this was not a viable option. Now it is too late. I am too late.
God is silent. He wants me to trust Him which is hard. But I am trying. I picked up this cross stitch pattern that I plan to work on while on my grief journey. It is a story that has been around for a long time but maybe there are some who have not seen it in a while or have never read it.
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Scenes from his life flashed across the sky and he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to him and one belonging to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he recalled that at the lowest and saddest times of his life there was only one set of footprints. Dismayed, he asked, "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. Why at the troublesome times in my life, the times that I needed you the most, would you leave me?"
The Lord replied, "My precious child, I love you and would never, never leave you. During your times of trials and suffering when you saw only one set of footprints...
That was when I carried you."
I have read this several times in my life and it has given me comfort. But there was always a part of me that knew that I had never known real suffering. Now I know. So it is at this time, when a part of my heart feels like it has died, that I have to ask myself, "Do I really believe?"
So part of my grief journey involves the testing of my faith. Is it possible to come through this "fire" with a faith that is stronger and more genuine than ever? I hope so because I know that being at peace with Josh's decision/death will have to involve trusting God. With Josh. With me. With our family. Believing that good can come out of this horrible, unspeakable tragedy. Believing the story above.
There is a bestseller that will soon be out as a movie. I read the book, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold quite a while ago but as with many other things, I have a whole different perspective now. Anyone who sees the back of the book will know that this is a story about a 14-year old girl who was murdered and in heaven, is able to watch what happens on earth - with her friends, her killer, her grieving family. She sees her father writing in his journal and as I read this I wonder, "does Josh see what I write? Does he see this blog? Does he see how much he was truly loved?" I can only hope. And so I end this post with a letter to him.
I am sitting by your grave site. It is a cool, cloudy day. The mowers have come through so I've had to clear the grass clippings from your stone. Since it is cooler now, hopefully the fresh carnations that I've placed in your vase will last for a while. There is a little breeze so I hear your chimes. There are seven now in "your" tree. I am the only one here so it is quiet and peaceful.
It has been six months since you decided to leave us. I still do not understand why but know I need to accept your decision. As a mother, it is so hard. I can't help feeling like I failed you. If only you could have told me what you were really feeling inside. I would have done anything to help you. And not just me - your dad, siblings and friends too.
In your short life, you've had such an impact. I've been re-reading the comments on the blog about you. All of your friends say the same thing - that you were one of the kindest and nicest kids - who would never say anything bad about anyone else. You brought a smile to all who knew you. You made people laugh. Quieter than most, but when you spoke, people took note. Smart. A great team player. Being a surprise baby, you were always special to us. But I didn't realize, until hearing from your friends after you were gone, how special you were to them.
My son, there is nothing that I can do now except to try and accept what has happened and move on. I'll tell you, it is not easy. Sometimes I have a busy day at work and almost forget what has happened. Then I remember and it hits me like a punch in the stomach - to where I can bowl over in pain. I guess this is to be expected from a mother who has lost her baby. I know you didn't mean to cause this much sorrow and grief. I only hope that you are at peace and know how much you are loved and missed by your dad and I. You were a surprise gift given to us over 17 years ago and we cherish every moment that you were a part of our lives.
PS - I read in the paper of a 15-year old boy who threw himself in front of a train in Maryland. This is now the 6th boy between the ages of 15 - 22 that I've heard who has killed himself. I don't know the circumstances of this poor boy but some of the others, I do. They were like you, from families who loved them dearly. What did we do wrong? What is happening in our society where young men are choosing not to live? I don't know the answer, but it is scary.
PPS - You are buried in such a beautiful place - like a park. So Grandpa and Grandma have bought plots not far from where you are. So when their time comes, you can keep each other company. Also, when we got a grid map of the place where you are buried, Grandma was the first to notice that you are in section #33! We looked at each other in disbelief. It still amazes me when I think about it. Maybe Dad and I will buy plots so that we can one day be all together.
Rest in peace, beloved son. Be our guardian angel.
Love you with all of my heart,
Would anyone else like to write a letter to him? Please feel free as a comment to this post.