This past Monday was particularly poignant as it was two days after his 18th birthday. In fact, the manager presented a photo cake to us, in memory of our beloved boy.
Here is a photo collage made by one of Josh's football coaches, up on the wall, along with other sports paraphernalia.
At these fundraisers, it is wonderful to see our friends, but in particular, my heart is lifted in being with Josh's friends. They are full of life, energy and hope for the future. College applications are done and they now must wait for the decision letters. It is an exciting time, but also a bit scary and unnerving. I feel privileged when taken into their confidence and feelings are shared. They have been there for me; in whatever way I can, I would like to be there for them.
These kids remember Josh in their own ways. I have shared in another post how one of his friends wore #33 during the football season - in dedication to Josh. Another friend ended up being a walk-on football player at JMU this past fall and since #33 was already taken, chose the next closest number.
Another friend was able to get his number for the basketball season. I know Josh would get a kick out of this picture. They had that kind of relationship.
Even when writing this post, I am amazed at how much our Josh was loved. Makes his choice and subsequent action even more senseless. How does a kid get to that point? I don't know but hope that any other young person who might be toying with idea of self-annihilation, would look past their own pain and realize there is a vast network of loving people to help, support and guide them to life. I wish Josh had known this. It is too late for him, but hopefully not for anyone else who has witnessed the impact of his life and death.