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, February 27, 2010

Plans For the 1 Year Anniversary - March 18, 2010

In a few short weeks, the one year anniversary of Josh's death will be upon us. So hard to believe it has been almost a year. Still so hard to believe that he is gone. With the input of our children and his close friends, we have a plan for the weekend. If you would like to remember Josh with us, please feel free to attend whatever works into your schedule.

Thursday, March 18th

3pm Memorial Time at Fairfax Memorial Park. Beltway (495 south) to Braddock Road West. Right on Burke Station Road. Right into the park. 2nd left at the Garden of Prayer. Park along the road. Josh's grave site on the right.
5pm Open House afterwards for anyone who would like to hang out, tell stories about Josh and just be together. At our home: 1300 Carpers Farm Way. Vienna, VA 22182

Saturday, March 20th
7am - 12 Sun Trust National Half and Full Marathon fundraiser. Click here for directions and information for spectators. We welcome supporters to help us get to the finish line!

5pm Memorial time at Josh's grave site for those who were not able to come on Thursday.

6:30pm Last fundraiser at the Buffalo Wings Factory in Reston.

Words cannot express how much the love, support and prayers have meant to our family as we attempt to navigate life without our beloved Josh.

God Bless

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Half and Full Marathon Fundraiser

On a previous post, I shared about the decision to join my daughter in running the first half of a marathon on March 20th - in dedication and memory of Josh. How is the training going? I am in my 6th week and up until yesterday, I would have said, "pretty well, considering I am not a runner". Maybe I've hit a mid-training wall, if there is such a thing. Or maybe, due to an emotional and sad day on Friday, instead of the suggested 11 miles, I could only do 3. It could also be that I've had to run indoors on a treadmill for the past 5 weeks - which gets very boring. All that to say, I am now finding the training difficult.

I am also questioning the sanity of doing something as physically exhausting as this race, two days after Josh's 1 year death anniversary. It is not only the expected tears on the day, but I have heard from other moms in my situation that the days leading up to the 1 year are even worse than the day of. This makes sense to me because even now I think, A year ago, he was alive and we were doing this, that and the other - totally oblivious to the impending doom. I liken it to being on a train, either reading, working or sleeping, and completely unaware that the track ahead is broken with an inevitable crash set to occur.

My memories of Josh are the most vivid during the few days before March 18th or "doomsday". So it stands to reason that these will be very difficult. All of us who knew Josh those last days have a moment or interaction that was the last time we saw him alive. Whatever day that was might be hard for you too. Maybe you will be like me and think, if I could only jump back in time, say something at the key moment, or do something that would stop the chain of events leading up to his fatal decision and suicide. And like me, you realize, there is nothing that can be done. All of the "would have, should have and could haves" will not reverse his tragic death.

So on the day of the race, hopefully I will find the energy needed to finish, for that, and not a specific time, is my goal. Lauren and her best friend and running partner, Eliza have decided to add more motivation by using the race as a fundraiser for Josh's Memorial fund. Below is the solicitation and information for the check, if you should wish to make a donation.

Dear Friends,
On March 20th, 2010, we will lace up our running shoes and test our endurance as participants in the Sun Trust National Marathon in Washington, D.C. While two members of our team have entered to run the half marathon course and two plan to run the full marathon, each one of us do so for the same reason: to commemorate the life of Joshua Lee Anderson, one who is missed every day by his family and friends. We remember Josh as a cherished son, a cool little brother, a faithful friend and a natural athlete. And while nothing can bring this amazing boy back to us, we will remember and honor him by training for, and running in, the National Marathon.
On March 18th, 2009, Josh tragically took his own life at the age of 17. A year later, we want to take this special opportunity to perpetuate his legacy and the education/prevention of teen suicide by asking family and friends to sponsor our team in this race. All contributions will go to the Josh Anderson Memorial Fund, held at the Great Falls Optimist Club in Great Falls, Virginia. Over the past year, Josh’s Fund has already raised almost $4,000 by way of generous donors.
Through your sponsorship, it is our hope to contribute another $4,000 dollars to the Josh Anderson Memorial Fund to match what has already been collected. Any donation you give in support of our Marathon run, whether large or small, will go towards helping us meet this goal.
With your support and Josh’s spirit cheering us on, we will find the strength to cross the race’s finish line.
Lauren Anderson and Eliza Bailey (Marathon Runners)
Sue Anderson and Susan Bailey (Half Marathon Runners)
Please make your tax deductible check payable to: Great Falls Optimist Club with Josh Anderson Memorial Fund in the memo line. Mail checks to: Sue Anderson 1300 Carpers Farm Way Vienna, VA 22182.
Please include a return address and an e-mail address – this is so we can send a recognition letter for tax deduction purposes.

Thank you and God Bless

Thursday, February 18, 2010

11 Months Later - February 18, 2010

For some reason, these blog posts have become more and more difficult to write. Is it because the raw, open pain that desperately needed an outlet has lessened to an ever present throb that I must learn to live with on a daily basis? Or is it because when I sit down to write a post, I must face my feelings about Josh's tragic suicide and right now, it is easier to just watch TV and work on my "Footprints" cross stitch pattern. Or read a book. Or work on my photo scanning project. Even cleaning the house, doing the laundry, running or working are more preferable than facing my feelings.

Strange - a few months ago, my feelings and thoughts were in constant need of expression, whether via my journal or this blog. A dormant writer emerged from the overwhelming depths of pain, sorrow, guilt and grief. These days, the well has run dry. The budding writer has retreated. My mind is blank when sitting at the computer. For what else is there to say?

All the questions that went round and round in my head after finding our beloved Josh no longer alive are still there - no answers have been found. How are we dealing with this unbearable loss? "One day at a time" remains our motto. How is my heart? It is still broken. Has it become easier to accept his premature death? No, it is still unbelievable.

Grieving over the death of a child for a period of months is mentally and emotionally exhausting. I feel empty. Like someone has popped a balloon and all that is left is a small piece of elastic material. Any energy I have is reserved for getting through each day: working, keeping up with the house, training for the upcoming half marathon, and being there for our surviving children. After that, there is nothing left.

Maybe my mind and heart have needed a "break" as after today, time will be marching on toward the 1 year anniversary of Josh's death - March 18th, 2010. All three of our children will be home and I hear friends from out-of-town plan to travel to be with us. I would like to do something special, but have not gotten very far in making plans for when I start thinking about this day, all I can do is cry.

Our lives were completely shattered when Josh decided to leave us. It is hard recovering from something like this. Thank you for continuing to remember us in your thoughts and prayers. We do feel them and it does help.

God Bless

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Triggered Memories - February 10, 2010

Memories of Josh are triggered by various things. For example, walking into an American Eagle shop with my daughter the other day, and looking at the various items for boys, brought a lump to my throat. I couldn't get out fast enough.

We live in the Washington DC area and are being bombarded with snow. "Snowmageddon" is what they are calling it. Kids have been and will continue to be home from school for days. "You know who would've like all this snow and no school," I said to my husband the other night. Of course, I meant Josh. He was not particularly fond of school, except for the social aspect of it and would've liked having all of these snow days. Boy, he's really missing out, I say to myself while trying not to think of where his physical body lies.

We have two dogs, Buddy and Benji, who had a special relationship with our boy. The other night, while Tim and I were watching TV, they were on each end of the couch with their heads laying comfortably on the armrests. We had to get a picture because it reminded us of when Josh and Gillian were little and did the very same thing. I have posted the pictures below.

What I feel now is a dull ache and an underlying, perpetual sadness. Josh's death is not so much in the forefront of my mind but resides within the second or third layer of conscious thought. What was once a raw, open wound feels scabbed over, but still sore and vulnerable. I suppose this is the mind and heart's way of coping and trying to move forward.

Sometimes, though, while getting a cup of tea before sitting back down at my computer for work, it hits me. How could he be gone? Why did he do this? Why couldn't he have survived that dark night? Why didn't I do or say more? How could we not have known he was contemplating suicide? And I am right back to feeling the guilt, sorrow and pain - over 10 months later.

But then I realize that nothing I do or say can change what has happened. No amount of tears will bring our beloved Josh back. It is a tragic event that has occurred within our family and we have to find a way to cope, integrating it into the fabric of our lives and move on. One step at time. One day at a time. Helped by the love, support and prayers of extended family and friends.

God Bless.