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.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Out of Darkness - 7 Months Later

Two weeks ago, our children were together in Atlanta and along with some good friends, participated in the "Out of Darkness" walk that is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. According to their web site , these walks are taking place all across the country this fall to "raise money for AFSP's vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives, increase national awareness about depression and suicide, and assist survivors of suicide loss."

The statistics reported on their web site are staggering: "In the United States, a person dies by suicide every 16 minutes, claiming more than 32,000 lives each year. It is estimated that an attempt is made every minute; with close to one million people attempting suicide annually."

The title of the walk, "Out of Darkness" is apropos. That fateful night, our Josh entered into a dark place within his mind that he never recovered from. Upon finding him the next morning, cold and stiff, our family was thrust in a darkness of our own. Unwillingly, without consent and any prior warning, having no experience with this type of death, we've had no choice but to walk through this darkness.

At first, you don't see the light at the end - you can only believe it is there. And so you walk - one step at a time in those first few hours and days. Then you walk one day at a time through each month's anniversary. For me, the time seems to have gone so quickly. How can it be seven months already?

How am I feeling now - seven months later? The only word that comes to mind is "resigned". Resigned to the fact that Josh is gone - and nothing I do or say can bring him back to me. He will never be coming through our front door again, to drop his backpack and sports bag on the floor, flop onto a living room couch and take a quick nap with the dogs. We'll never hear the quick race down the stairs in the morning and slam of the door as he scurries to get to school on time. There will be an empty seat at the Thanksgiving table. We won't see his "Santa list" on our fridge door. He will not be part of our annual Christmas photo. He won't be around to celebrate his 18th birthday next January.

Resigned that unless I was a mind reader, there was no way to know that Josh was thinking of suicide as he gave no indication to us or anyone close to him. So I cannot blame myself anymore.

Resigned that I will never know the answer to the question, "why". Through the books that I am reading and some email correspondence from readers of this blog, I have a better understanding of a suicidal mind. But even if I knew exactly why Josh did this, I probably wouldn't understand anyway, because to me, there was nothing in his life - even expulsion from Fairfax County Public Schools - that would be a reason for death.

Resigned that we have to continue with our lives - in spite of his absence. And that it is his memory that will live on in our hearts.

I suppose resignation is good. Perhaps it the precursor to acceptance.

I will end this post with pictures taken at the Atlanta "Out of Darkness" walk. There is one coming up in our area. The Fairfax NOVA walk is this Saturday, October 24th. Unfortunately, Tim and I will be out of town and cannot participate. If there are some that do, in Josh's name, please take some photos and email them to me:

Photos of Josh placed on a table with pictures of other loved ones.

A quilt called "Faces of Suicide"

Participants made necklaces out of different color beads which has the following symbols:
Lost a child - white
Lost a sister or brother - orange
lost some other relative or friend - purple
Support the cause - blue
Lost a spouse or partner - red
Lost a parent - gold
Struggles personally - green

Lauren, Gillian and Tyler wearing their "Josh" T-shirts and necklaces. Gillian wore a white bead for us.

Tyler and Emily's dogs, Tom and Huck, walked in memory of their favorite uncle Josh.

The "Josh Anderson Team" was well represented.

Josh - we love and miss you.

God Bless

3 comments: said...

I woke up with a lump in my throat today knowing it was the 18th of October. 7 months have does not seem possible. Each day has it's moments in our household. A memory, a photo, a song, tears or all of the above. Each memory, each song I hear, each photo, each tear I say yet another prayer for you Sue and for Tim and for the kids.

It was such an honor to be a part of the "Out of the Darkness" walk with your children. It was nice to all be there together remembering Josh..walking together with all of those people who were hurting in the same way. To me there was an unspoken sadness and also great joy to be remembering Josh whome we all love so much.

My heart is with you Sue. I love you! Roxanne

Brittany Armes said...

I miss you JOshy. TOday I was listening to the rascal flatts song why and I started crying missing you. I wish things were different and wonder why you aren't here with us. I wish I could have said something to help you in Maine or I could do something to bring you back to us. JOshy I will never forget your smile and how happy you were on vacation with us. I miss you and think about you always. I know you were hurting and now you are at peace. We will see you again in heaven. I love you JOshy boy. And the Anderson's know you are in my heart can get busy and its hard to let you know im thinking about you, but I always am.

Anonymous said...

You guys continue to be in my prayers. Your honesty and expression continues to move and amaze me. Thank you for sharing. I will pray that acceptance will come when the time is right and that God will give you guys moments of joy in your pain.

Love you,