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.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Writing to Heal - August 30, 2009

Strangely enough, the thesaurus has become my friend. Helpful as I journal through my days, striving to put into words the depths of my feelings and emotions - struggling to come to terms with Josh's passing. It is so hard and painful yet I push through as I believe it is better for me to face the grief head-on, rather than to avoid or suppress it, as tempting as this may be.

In her book, "Writing As A Way of Healing", Louise DeSalvo summarizes ten years of scientific research recorded by James W. Pennebaker while at Southern Methodist University. Here are two quotes that keep me motivated.

Many researchers have observed that survivors of childhood sexual abuse and other trauma (like rape) or the suicide or accidental deaths of people close to them, if they do not discuss these events, tend to develop more major illnesses than people who do express their feelings (24).

Writing that describes traumatic or distressing events in detail and how we felt about these events then and feel about them now is the only kind of writing about trauma that clinically has been associated with improved health. Simply writing about innocuous subjects (like what we did throughout the day) or simply writing about traumatic events or venting our feelings about trauma without linking the two does not result in significant health or emotional benefits (25).
There is now a thick, black line that is permanantly placed in time. Before Josh Died and After Josh Died. Everything in my life is relegated to these two time periods. Because he is gone, nothing will ever be the same. And it happened without warning or suspicion. Without any time to prepare myself. One moment, I am feverishly working to get ready for a client meeting, thinking that Josh is upstairs sleeping; the next, I am all alone and holding my dead son in my arms - screaming his name over and over again.
I write to help me navigate this new grief journey. I write because according to DeSalvo, "after a loved one dies, our lives are temporarily in serious jeopardy" (189) and that "we are living in the midst of the disintegration of everything that has marked our lives as normal and meaningful" (195).
Disintegration - this is an accurate description of what has happened on March 18, 2009. My thesaurus gives me other words and I nod my head "yes" to all: break apart, fall apart, shatter, explode, blow up, collapse, perish, bust.
From my reading, I understand that my writing is a quest for several things: to try and understand why Josh took his life, which I know is a futile exercise, but I cannot stop asking; to acknowledge the irrevocable changes to my world and to find some order and meaning in the chaos after his passing.
And so, I find myself in DeSalvo's words:
People who write about their loved one's deaths are paradoxically engaged in a search for the meaning of their loved one's lives. They want to make a record; they want to describe their loss and their grief. But they want to discover, too, an overarching meaning for this death so that it will not have been for naught.
This seems especially necessary if the death was a violent one, if it was a suicide or an accident, or if it was the death of a child. For these deaths greatly threaten our sense of order. They shake the foundations of our belief in a meaningful, beneficent universe; they make us question whether any actions we undertake have meaning" (191).
One of the earliest exercises in her book asks the reader to think about a metaphor for writing. For her, writing is a "fixer"; a means by which she can work through problems and find healing or like a compass, giving her a "fix" on her life - where she is, where she has been and where she is going. For another author, writing is like a "very sturdy ladder out of the pit" (8). For me, writing has become a life preserver. I will end this post with what I wrote in my journal about this metaphor.
Writing is now my lifeline - my life preserver. Without it, I would drown in all of my feelings, sorrow and guilt. Where could it all go except inward to eat away at my soul? Instead of drowning, I am holding onto this life preserver - bobbing up and down in my grief, but not going under. The writing on the blog forces me to think about how I am feeling, organize it and write so that it makes sense to myself and others.
This life preserver is tethered to something bigger - a boat that maybe represents normalcy or happiness (can my life ever be "normal" again? I don't think so). Can I ever say that I will be happy (can't even imagine it right now). So here I am, hanging onto this life preserver - writing - not ready or able to get into the boat. It has been a natural thing to do - even though I've never had to write for my life until now.
Without my life preserver (writing), I would have drown. It has saved me. Could I even hope that my life preserver has provided a life preserver for others?
Please let me know.
God Bless

Friday, August 28, 2009

Remembering Josh - T shirts, Chimes and Monthly Fundraiser

What helps me these days as I try to cope with the indescribable pain and sorrow associated with losing our Josh? Simple - it is the knowledge that he is being remembered by all of you. This means more to me than you can know. My spirits have been lifted by recent examples such as these....
  • When I hear a story, memory or dream about our son.
  • When I hear that a football teammate is not only wearing Josh's number this season (33), but has also put his initials (JA) on new football gloves.
  • When plans are moving forward to plant a tree on the McLean Youth football field, in memory of Josh, who played since he was eight years old. I still love the name of this age group - "Ankle Biters".
  • When I hear that some of his closest friends have his pictures in their homes or in their rooms.
  • When I hear that you still visit the blog and it helps you in your own "grief journey".
  • When you tell me that knowing the circumstances around Josh's tragic death has caused you to think about your family and perhaps make some changes that may save your children, or at least, strengthen the relationship.
  • When you say that now, over five months later, you still think about and miss our Josh.
The title of this post and the following pictures are other ways that encourage me. Our daughter, Gillian, designed a T-shirt soon after Josh's passing. I have provided the link, in case you would like to order shirts, as some of his football teammates have recently done. Whenever I see someone wearing this shirt, my heart catches. It is a reminder of our loss, but also a way to commemorate his brief but beautiful life.

A couple of new wind chimes were recently placed on "Josh's tree" - close to his grave site. We appreciate these gifts - bought specifically for him by his friends.

On the 18th of each month, there is a fundraiser at the Buffalo Wings Factory in Reston. As the day approaches, it is a painful reminder of another month without Josh. September 18th will be six months or half a year since he died. It is amazing and sometimes frightening how quickly the time passes. It definitely helps to be with others on these anniversary days. I appreciate those who came out in August. Below are some photos from that night.

We appreciate the continued love and support from our family and friends. Speaking for Tim and each of our surviving children, we could not handle this loss without you.

God Bless.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Dream - August 24, 2009

I've only had two dreams about Josh since he died. The first occurred a couple of months afterwards, and was so strange that I didn't bother writing it down nor have thought much about it since. The second dream was four night ago - right before I woke up, so I remembered all of it. It was like a movie, going from one scene to the next.

First scene: Tim, the girls and I were at home, but not our current home nor one we've ever lived in, but it felt like home - you know how dreams are. We had white shag carpet and just like what happened in real life a few months ago, our washing machine overflowed. Walking into the hallway, I saw water everywhere and starting yelling for help to clean up.

Next scene: I was taking something into the garage (s0 we could pull up the carpet) and I saw Josh putting something down. I was shocked and said, "Josh, is that you?!?" We locked eyes and he gave me his infamous smirk. He looked good - tall, healthy and strong. I couldn't believe my eyes and thought I was seeing a mirage.

Next scene: He was standing right in front of me and I was poking him with whatever I had in my hand - not sure what it was, maybe a pencil. The poking was hitting something solid! I asked him to give me a hug. He obliged me but I could tell that he felt awkward. I didn't care and said, "Hug me tighter!" which he did, and it felt like so good. I asked Tim if he could see Josh, but he could not.

Next scene: We were standing in front of a nail that was sticking out of the wall. I had a key ring with several keys that I did not recognize. He wanted me to put the keys on the nail in a specific order. It seemed very important that I do so exactly as he said.

Then I woke up.

Being a bit groggy, it didn't really register what just happened. As my mind started remembering the dream, I quickly got my journal and wrote everything down. I felt pretty happy to have a dream about him since I have wondered why he wasn't in them more frequently. Also, he looked good , which was a relief. Once recorded, I attempted to decipher what it meant but didn't get very far, so I left it for later.

After re-reading my dream yesterday, I spent some time thinking and writing about what it could mean. Maybe Josh is telling me that he wants to help. To not forget about him when things are happening in our lives. He wants to still be involved.

Keys open things. Maybe I am thinking too much of him in the past and that my heart needs to be opened so that he can live with me in the present. That I should leave behind the thoughts of what was - with all of its regrets, guilt and questions - and rather, live for now, with him always by my side.

Gillian wrote this and shared it with Tim and I a couple of days before my dream. Maybe he is telling me that what she is saying is true.
"...Another resolution of mine is keeping in touch with my brother. Wherever he is, I want him to know that he is a part of my everyday, my present and my future, not just my past. I want to keep him alive in my life and I want to stop thinking about him in the past tense. It's hard for me to just imagine having these conversations with him so I am (finally) using the journal that my mom gave me to write to him, not about him. I tell him how I felt when he left, I tell him what I'm feeling now, I share memories I have with him and I tell him that I am determined not to forget. I tell him that I love him and miss him. That he will always, always have a place in my heart."
I love what she wrote and along with this dream, I have something new to think about. A way to navigate this "grief journey".

God Bless.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sadder Than Ever, Five Months Later - August 18, 2009

Is it even possible? To feel more pain, anguish and sorrow than when our dear seventeen year old boy died five months ago? I would have thought “no”, but unfortunately, it is so. The ache has intensified and the grief has not abated; it is still overwhelming in its force.

Why? Maybe it is because our two girls will be leaving home soon - one to start a new job in Atlanta, and one to go back to college. Maybe I fear Josh’s absence, overlooked while the girls are home, will be more than I can bear.

Maybe it is because football practice has begun and I fantasize what should be. Josh coming home, hot and sweaty, taking a refreshing dip in the pool and passing out on the couch. I can close my eyes, visualize him and in doing so, my heart breaks even more.

Maybe it is because the days in August are quickly passing followed by a new school year. Josh should be a senior – big man on campus. Leader on the football team. Enjoying the present, while looking to the future. But it will not be.

With this example, it has dawned on me that Josh experiences loss as well – and this knowledge adds to my grief. We saw the new Harry Potter movie while on vacation – he would’ve enjoyed it. We went horseback riding and I could envision his smile/smirk at this new experience. Laughing at the horses as they raised their tails and pooped at will. Trying to determine, as all the men were, how to be less uncomfortable while trotting.

Has Josh ever skied? I don’t think so. Will ever experience college life? No. Have the chance to find his “soul mate” and marry? No. Ever know the joys of fatherhood? No, no and no. No new songs, books, video games, or experiences – ever. What a waste. What a loss. Why didn’t he think about these things before taking the steps to end his life? Maybe they would’ve pulled him back from the brink and he’d still be with us today.

After five months, why isn't it any easier? Maybe it is because the horrible reality of our “new” lives, without the existence and being of our beloved Josh, is sinking in. Is this really it? Did it really happen? Is he gone from our lives forever? I can’t stand the thought and want to scream and shout, “NO, IT’S NOT TRUE!”

Maybe it is because of a long letter received from a dear college friend. I should have waited to the end of the day to read it. Her empathy and condolences as a fellow mother made me cry. She also shared that her twenty-two year old daughter was no stranger to suicide as one of her best friends in high school took his life, and a girlfriend in college died by her own hand. More tears flowed, thinking about these two young lives, our son and three other young men I’ve heard of, who took their lives this year between January and April.
Why are young people doing this to themselves? What makes suicide a viable option? How can their minds allow for this permanent self-destruction? Why didn’t they open up with their true thoughts and feelings – to receive the critical help needed?

Has the media (TV, movies, books, video games) de-sensitized our young people to the horrors of death and its resulting wake of despair and sorrow for those left behind? Has this made it easier for them to walk towards and embrace death? I don’t know.

It is hard for Tim as well. Since Josh was a linebacker, Tim would watch football games on TV, focusing on that position in hopes of catching a great play, which he would then show and discuss with Josh. The first preseason Patriots game was on the other night, and Tim cannot watch the linebackers anymore.

Since he is a real estate agent, Tim spends quite a bit of time alone on the road. “Josh’s death,” he says, “is always right here”, holding up a hand in front of his face. Last week, he was driving around in Herndon/Sterling, on the same roads that he and Josh traveled while doing errands - just a few days before his death. It is so hard when something as insignificant as driving down a road can bring up bitter memories.

Unfortunately, it does not seem that grief follows a linear progression where one goes from stage to stage – on the way to recovery. No, for me, the grief process is more circular where the stages follow one another, round and round, and sometimes out of sequence. For how long, I do not know. Some of Josh's friends tell me that when they think of him, it is the happier memories that occupy their minds. Not me. When I think of Josh, it is still so hard, so painful, so sad and depressing. I don't know how long this circular voyage of grief will last - I only hope that at some point, the slope is upward, leading eventually to acceptance and peace.

Poignant writing from Nicholas Wolterstorff whose book, “Lament For A Son” was written in honor of his twenty-five year old son, who died in a mountain climbing accident.

Nothing fills the void of his (Josh’s) absence. He’s not replaceable. We can’t go out and get another just like him (32).

My son is gone. Only a hole remains, a void, a gap, never to be filled (33).

Something is over. In the deepest levels of my existence something is finished, done. My life is divided into before and after (46).

So it is with all memories of him. They all lead into that blackness. It's all over, over, over. All I can do is remember him. I can't experience him. The person whom these memories are attached is no longer here with me, standing up. He's only in my memory now, not in my life. Nothing new can happen between us. Everything is sealed tight, shut in the past. I'm still here. I have to go on. I have to start over. But this new start is so different from the first. Then I wasn't carrying this load, this thing that is over (47).

Perhaps what's over is happiness as the fundamental tone of my existence. Now sorrow is that (47).
I end this post with a photo of all of the family on Tim's side, wearing our "Josh" shirts, in memory of him.

Josh - we love and miss you with all of our hearts. Rest in peace, our dear beloved son.

God Bless.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Story from an older sister of one of Josh's friends

This story touched our whole family. With her permission, I have posted it on the blog.

Hi Mrs Anderson (& the rest of the Anderson crew),
I have never officially met you, but you know my brother Artie - I'm his oldest sister, Alexa. I've wanted to write to you for a while, but always thought it was kind of weird since you don't know me, but through your blog I don't think that bothers you very much. I wanted to share my brief memories of Josh with you, as he always held a very special place with me among my brother's friends...

It's a rather bizarre story about how I was able to immediately bring up your son's name when I thought of Artie's gang. When I was a freshman in high school, my best friends (Mary and Alison) went to Stone Ridge in Bethesda, while I went to O'Connell in Arlington. We only ever saw each other on weekends and during the summer. Just before our sophomore year started, we all went to Kings Dominion for the day. When we were in line for the bumper cars, we noticed this REALLY cute guy ahead of us. Through a series of frantic whispers, we decided that we must take secret pictures of him. I think he noticed (we were probably not the very covert), and he turned to give us a weird look. I boldly asked if he would take a picture with the three of us. Shockingly, he agreed.

The picture came out great - he had a beautiful smile and his arm around my waist (plus the three of us looked good). We decided to make up a story and history of this kid, based on this one picture. Since I didn't go to their school, not many of their classmates knew much about me. We then decided that he should be my boyfriend. Obviously, we needed to make it convincing, so we developed a whole backstory, starting with a name. I christened him "Josh Anderson," after my favorite actor (Josh Hartnett) and another friend of mine (Jackie Anderson). It seemed like a totally believable story. We even made up a screenname on AIM ("JAnder527") and a birthday (May 27, 1986). This ploy went on for a few months, and I think the people we told still believe he is a real person.

So you can imagine my surprise when, during my second year at UVA, I saw a real kid named Josh Anderson on Artie's football roster. I had come up to watch a game (their freshman year at Langley), and I was looking to see who I knew on the list. I excitedly exclaimed, "oh my gosh, is there seriously a kid named 'Josh Anderson' on this team?!?!" My parents just looked at me and nodded, not understanding my excitement. They mentioned that he was a friend of Artie's, and did not seem to appreciate the hilarity of finding out that a person who had been completely made up suddenly materialized and turned out to be real - even down to the nicknames!
A few months later, over Christmas break I think, I had the pleasure of meeting your son. I immediately told him the story of how I had dreamed up another Josh Anderson years earlier. Artie cut me off three-quarters of the way through the story because "Josh doesn't care," but Josh laughed all the same.

After that I ran into him at other times whenever I was home - picking up/dropping of people, gatherings at my house, sports events at Langley, etc. I think I may have even talked to you on the phone when you called to see if he was at our house (which I loved, because it showed me that it wasn't only my parents who called to check in). Even when he was with a big, loud group of other guys, he always stood out to me. Initially, this was because I was so thrilled to have found a flesh-and-blood Josh Anderson, but as I was around them more often, I noticed that he just had a strong, silent presence. He didn't have to be the most boisterous to get attention. But when he smiled (that classic smirk everyone mentions), you could see how it drew everyone in, and when he said something, they all listened (and laughed, loudly).

When I heard the awful news in March, I felt crushed. I actually came home to be with my brother, who was devastated. I will never forget how lost he (and his friends) looked that weekend. I cannot even imagine what your family went (and continues to go) through. As an older sister, I felt utter shock, grief, and disbelief for your other children especially. Through these past months, your blog has helped us all deal with this tragedy. I hope this random little story helps add another facet to Josh's life for you. He won me over when he didn't scoff at the story of the first Josh Anderson in my life, and I will never forget him.

Please give your daughter my congrats for her graduation from the Comm School. My thoughts and prayers are still with your family. Thank you for all that you have provided through your blog - it means a lot to a great deal of people.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

My "Grief Journey" - Why, Josh, Why?

Consider this - everyone’s life is a journey, a linear road in which things happen, events occur and memories are made. There are forks in the road when decisions like moving, going to a new school, taking a new job, getting married, or having kids changes the landscape and makes the journey new, exciting and sometimes scary. At other times, unexpected obstacles make the road difficult and challenging but hopefully not insurmountable.

Our son, Josh was on such a road – a pretty typical teenage boy’s life as one can see by reading the posts on this blog. Granted, in the past year his journey was more challenging due to the changing of schools and just prior to his death, the probable expulsion from Fairfax County Public Schools. Difficult? Yes. Worth ending his life over? No, nor did he ever give any indication that he felt like it was.

But for some reason, still unknown to us and anyone else who has known our boy in his short life, he faced something he could not overcome nor could he share. Had he told either Tim or I, we would've done anything to help him. So whether this obstacle was like a Mount Everest that he could not climb, go around or pass through; or a deep chasm that he found himself unable to climb out of, he decided to end his journey. I don’t understand it and in my journal, I am writing the same three words over and over: “Why, Josh Why?”

To say his action has changed my life is an understatement. It has changed me - permanently. Prior to March 18, 2009, my own journey was pretty “normal”. Childhood, adolescence, college, marriage and over time, the normal chaos of juggling work and raising four kids with two dogs. Post Josh’s death, it's as if I have woken up from a horrible nightmare and am now on this somewhat familiar road minus a part of my heart - without any idea of what just happened and why. Why me? Why us? Why our son? Why, Josh, why?

I don’t want to be on this "grief journey" as it is not part of life’s natural order – a parent is not supposed to bury a child. It should be the other way around. I don’t like this journey as I am not prepared and am here against my will. Plus, it is so emotional - draining my energy and making the simple things more taxing. Why, Josh, why?

As a kid, the passing of our pet dogs was sad but did not put me on this journey. Nor did the deaths of my maternal grandparents (I never knew the grandparents on my father’s side). So at 48 years old, this is new. I feel for my own kids and Josh’s close friends who find themselves on this road at such a young age.

Regardless of my feelings or unanswered questions, here I am. Unexpected things have occurred, such as this blog. The writing has helped me and as I have been told, it has also helped many others. Of this, I am grateful.

These days, the bookstore is a magical place for me. At home, I frequent the large chains like Borders or Barnes and Noble. On our vacation in New England, however, I found locally owned bookstores similar to the one that Meg Ryan’s character operated in the movie “You’ve Got Mail”. With hardwood floors, tall wooden bookcases overflowing with books, comfy seats in various nooks where one can sit undisturbed for hours and friendly, knowledgeable employees whose love for books is unmistakable - a book lovers dream.

I have always been a reader, as mentioned in a Book Review post, but why this almost insatiable desire to read, read and read? I don’t know except that it is an important part of my journey.

A couple of days ago, as I was browsing through a bookstore in Vermont, this title intrigued me: Writing through the Darkness, Easing Your Depression with Paper and Pen by Elizabeth Schaefer. The author, who suffers from bipolar disorder, uses writing to successfully help her cope with her illness. She has also formed a writing group for others and the book is a result of what she has taught and learned.

Though I do not relate to her daily struggles, I do feel as though life is now dark and grey. After reading a few sentences shared below, I not only bought the book, read it in within a couple of days but also ordered seven more books based on the bibliography and resources listed in the back. This book is a gem.
This book and its approach to writing and healing are designed specifically for people coping with situational depression due to a difficult life event, or with major depression or the depressed phase of bipolar disorder (pg. 18).

Writing can help you overcome the trauma of a situational depression more quickly and assist you in finding perspective on how this event fits into your whole life (24).

Writing will help you discover your feelings, too. It can help you acknowledge the hell you may have gone through, validate how it may still pain you, and digest those feelings to bring you into a new place and perspective (52).
As I had read through the book - with all of my customary underlining, notes in the margins and dog-eared pages - I think, "Aha! This is why the blog is so important to me. And why I always feel better after writing a post, even though it is often difficult emotionally."

I never realized there were so many books on the topic of "writing to heal" or on "journaling". Here are some that I am eagerly awaiting.
  • With Pen in Hand: The Healing Power of Writing by Henriette Klauser
  • Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo
  • Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma & Emotional Upheaval by James Pennebaker
  • Writing to Heal the Soul: Transforming Grief and Loss Through Writing by Susan Zimmerman
  • Journal to Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth by Kathleen Adams
My "to read" stack is tall. The grief journey has led me to books written by survivors of suicide, books about why people commit suicide (I have not been able to read these yet), fictional books on the topic of suicide/grief and now, these books on writing/journaling to heal.

I read to learn and if helpful, I plan to share this on the blog. I also realize that I am reading to become a better writer. This is one of the most surprising things on my journey as I have never liked writing, nor would I ever consider myself a writer, but here I am, and it is helping. Who would ever have guessed?

I think that writing has helped some of you as I hear there are still friends posting on Josh's facebook wall. Many of you have written a letter to Josh in my book while in our home or at the funeral service. I cherish what was poured out from your hearts. Since then, maybe you have written a poem or a song or a story. If so, would you share it with Tim and I? We would love to read it.

Writing has been healing. This blog has been healing. Thanks again for the love, support, thoughts and prayers from all of you - it means the world to us.

God Bless

Sunday, August 2, 2009

First Summer Vacation - Without Josh

In the books that I have been reading, the authors have all commented on how the first of everything will be difficult: holidays, vacations, birthdays, special events, etc. I am seeing that these affect us in different ways.

Since Josh's death, our extended family has gotten together a couple of times - to celebrate Lauren's college graduation and for a birthday weekend. These have been the hardest on Gillian as Josh was her "hang-out" buddy. When they got bored, they found ways to entertain each other. For me, Mother's Day was endured. In fact, I would rather have skipped the whole thing - not only this year but for several years. I don't think it is possible to ever have a "normal" Mother's Day again.

So now we are on our summer vacation. It is good to be with family and this year, we are all making extra efforts to be together. But at every turn, we are reminded of Josh. We went out to a nice dinner while visiting with Tim's family on Cape Cod. All the cousins ate at one table and wouldn't you know, there was an empty seat - just for Josh. When I saw this, and even as I remember now, the tears flow. In his book, "Lament For a Son", Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote what I feel.
When we gather now there's always someone missing, his absence as present as our presence, his silence as loud as our speech. Still four children, but one always gone. When we're all together, we're not all together.
The picture are the top of this blog was taken at the Cape by Gillian last summer - so signature Josh. Chilling outside with his shades and listening to music. Who would've ever known that it would be his last visit?

We are now with my family in Vermont. Reminders are here too. While out to dinner, ribs were on the menu. We all knew what Josh's would've ordered. There is a snow making pond nearby which is a good place for people and dogs to cool off. Tyler and Emily both thought that Josh would've loved swimming with Biggie and Huck.

We are watching movies. Last night was Juno. I cry easily at movies anyway but now, any scene that reminds me of Josh will do it. When Juno sees the ultrasound of the baby, it reminded me of Josh's baby book that I recently found which had the ultrasound polaroids of him. Or when she gives birth and sees her baby for the first time, I remembered the cold January day our precious baby boy was born. The shower is a good place to cry without alarming or disturbing anyone else.

I can picture him in both of these places. Sleeping here, chilling there - not saying much, but just being with us. How could he be gone? Why did he go? I just can't seem to move past these two unanswerable questions.

This grief that I feel resembles an ocean where I am the shore and the water is the grief. Most of the time, the water is calm, slowly coming over the shore and slowly moving out. In and out, just like the grief. Always there but not always covering me.

Other times, the waves are high and crash against the shore. The tide is powerful and there is a strong undercurrent. Swimming is at your own risk. At these times, the grief is overwhelming, crashing against my heart, mind and soul. Luckily for me, this does not happen but maybe once a week for if it were more often, I don't know if I could survive. Maybe this is why the risk of suicide is higher in families when a loved one has died in this way.

What does help is this blog. Thanks to all who are part of this special community - you have been a lifesaver to me and my family.

God Bless.