In The Shadow of the Wind, I was struck by a few sentences written in a letter to the main character - by one who knew their death was imminent.
So long as we are being remembered, we remain alive.I have underlined this quote, written it in my journal and have thought about how true these words are. Even in the past week, I've heard stories of loss and what actions the living undertake to remember their loved one and in doing so, keep them alive.
Remember me, even if it's only in a corner and secretly.
Don't let me go.
Someone from my cycle class shared about losing a brother many years ago due to a heart attack. He was only four years older than her and they were very close. "His pictures are everywhere. In my bedroom, my office, my home. He is with me all of the time. I will never forget him."
Another situation touched me deeply. A mother whose son was one of Josh's good friends, recounted losing a child several years ago due to health issues. She said the pain does lessen over time, but never goes away. And her child will forever be in her heart. In fact, their Christmas decorations this year will reflect something special about this child and she was so kind to say that an ornament will be put on their tree in memory of Josh.
It is hard to explain, but it helps me tremendously to know that Josh is being remembered not only in our family, for that is expected, but with so many others. I like hearing people say his name. I may cry but that is okay. I want to hear stories about what others remember most about him. I would never tire of listening; even if it is the same one over and over.
One of Josh's friends emailed me recently and said he used to spend hours and hours playing video games with Josh. And it was hard to do so after his death because of the memories. However, he is playing them again and has found that this is his own way of spending time with Josh and remembering him.
Another friend is a starting player on the high school basketball team and is wearing Josh's number, 33, in memory of him.
And while Josh had many close friends, there is one who was like a brother to him, Bryce. Our first introduction to his family was when the boys were about 6-8 weeks old so when I say they have known each other all of their lives, it is not an exaggeration.
Josh was part of their family and Bryce was part of ours. Even though many miles separated them during the last few years, their friendship never suffered. I recently received a most beautiful gift from his mother - a photo album of our families. It arrived in the afternoon but I had to wait until the work day was over to open it for I knew what would happen. I don't think I've cried that hard since the first days after Josh's death. To see picture after picture of the two boys and know that there will be no more just breaks my heart. I feel for this young man who has lost a true best friend. This album is a precious gift, made with love and tears.
Bryce's sister is remembering Josh in a most special way. She is due to have a baby girl early next year and along with the father, has decided to name her HaiLee. The "Lee" is in honor of Josh for that is his middle name. As this child goes through life, she herself, will keep his memory alive. I am amazed. Josh would be too.
All of this is summed up in a card received this week by a work colleague.
Those whom we have loved never really leave us. They live on forever in our hearts and cast their radiant light onto our every shadow.The holidays are difficult but what helps us through these hard days is knowing that our beloved Josh has not been forgotten. He still lives in all of our hearts.
I will end this post with a slide show of Josh as a happy, nine year old boy in 2001.