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, March 21, 2010

1 Year Memorial Service - March 18, 2010

Seventy-five of us gathered on a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon to remember our beloved Josh, who, at 17 years old, tragically took his life one year ago. The days preceding had been cool, cloudy, rainy and downright gloomy, so to have a glorious day to remember a special life, was a blessing. Our three children arrived the night before, which filled our home, once again, with the voices of youth.

At the service, we shared stories about Josh which made us laugh and cry, and together, we made a blanket of rose petals on his grave site. "Miss You" and "Love You" balloons were brought by his grandparents. The blue flag seen in the slide show, is one of several made by my dear friend Roxanne, for our upcoming half and full marathon run, which is also a fundraiser, in memory of him.

How is it that one young life has affected so many? Evidenced by the numbers who gathered with us today, not to mention the numerous cards and emails received in the days leading up to the 1 year death anniversary.

Is it because he was a gentle, kind and good-hearted person whose presence while living was perhaps overlooked, but whose absence is so profound, it is difficult to imagine life without him? Or is it because he was a typical teen who made some stupid decisions that literally cost his life, and if this could happen to him, it could happen to any other "typical" teen? Or maybe because anyone who spent time with him could see that he was a genuine, non-judgmental, soft-hearted kid whose greatest joy in life was to make others smile - either with a funny comment or wisecrack remark, made with uncanny timing or by just giving that infamous smirk.

My conclusion is that he, without knowing or meaning to, managed to endear himself to others. And it didn't matter the age, socio-economic background, gender, culture, intelligence level, athletic ability or other "labels" that we can use to judge others, because Josh did not see these. When he looked at someone, he saw their soul, and this is what he connected to. I have learned much about my son this past year, and this lesson is the most profound of that I want to incorporate into my life.

We are still working through our grief, which will continue for quite some time, and without the love, support, thoughts and prayers that come daily from family and friends, we could not hope to survive this tragedy. Josh is always in the forefront of our hearts and minds and to know that he is not forgotten by others means the world to us.

If you have any photos of him or any stories you would like to share, please email them to me ( Any memory of our beloved Josh is a treasure.

Below is a slide show of pictures taken at the service and a video of some of the sharing (listen for the chimes).

God Bless


Brittany Armes said...

The memorial service was beautiful. Im so glad I got to come visit you Joshy...i miss you so much. It was amazing to experience the marathon on saturday. I felt so special to be apart of something so amazing. The flags we made were so cool for everyone to have and cheer lauren and sue on even from a long distance away. The announcer at the end cheered laurens name as she crossed the finish and said josh gave us the beautiful weather on that day and he was looking down smiling. When we we got to the grave site to see joshy on thursday as soon as we got out of the car Giselle my niece pointing over to where joshy lays and said "Theres josh" then said "oh josh" and looked up at me. I know he was their with us on thursday. I love you joshy

KnowLastName said...

March 18th--I was at work--a coffee shop in DC. Not working a usual 9 to 5, the days all blend together. I asked someone "what's today?" "thursday, March 18th" they replied. instantly, my heart dropped. my friend saw it on my face, "what's the matter??" I only met Josh once or twice at teen camp... a cute little boy, bright and happy. I knew you, Tyler, and Lauren a little better. The rest of the day I thought of you, and the next, and even the 20th (the marathon--I had to work all day, but wished somehow I could catch a glimpse of you guys.. hug you--since I was right in DC). This past year, I've read every blog, you've made me cry, you've made me look at my little brother (who's only 11) differently, look at my friends in the eye... making sure... Even though I knew your family when I was a budding teenager, you and josh have changed me so much.

There was a time in college, my sophomore year, where I thought about suicide. I was going through different things...was a part of the church...and felt there was no one I could talk to. One night in particular, I decided to not go to our usual friday night devo. I took 17 advil--everything that was left in the bottle..I ended up getting nautious--and then tried something else. I failed. Before that night, I hadn't really thought about it--planned it. That night, everything seemed to take hold of me. I felt out-of-place. I remember that night clearly, vividly. It's like going into a downward spiral--the worst thoughts swirling all about and around you... you're up against a wall. and for a moment, it all makes sense. it doesn't seem that big of deal. you're not in the mindset to think about the future...what it will mean to those that love you, how many great things you'll miss. you are in that moment... right there. the moment is so horrible you just want it to end. it doesn't make sense. and i was literally "out of my mind"... all rational was out the window. looking back, of course, i'm glad i didn't succeed. i was young, alone, and stupid. it was my own fault i didn't talk to anyone. i haven't told many people about that night... and luckily, a friend came only early from bible talk..and found me at my wits end. she didn't "save" me... but when she opened the door, and the light shone in from the hallway...and i snapped back to reality. i was embarrassed and ashamed of myself. but perhaps, if she didn't walk in, i would've continued...

i don't know Sue... I think many young (and maybe even older) people have "moments" like these.. where it doesn't encompass who they are.. but there are just those nights, those moments, where it makes some sort of sense to "end it".... most of the time, people are lucky to "fail" or to have it interrupted... but in josh's case, i believe he has saved so many lives. suicide is tricky and weirdly volatile thing.. it comes upon you like a shadow that all of a sudden has snuck up on you. because of you and your writing, your love for him, and my own experiences, i look at everyone differently. especially, my own little brother. I have stayed near him and will continue to during his adolescence..just so he knows i'm there. love you and your heart. :)

jeamama said...

thank you so much for sharing this video with those of us who were not able to be with you in person, although I know there were hundreds of us who were there with you in mind, heart and prayer. As Lauren shared, Josh was such a good soul and we all miss him dearly. you are so right to honor and remember him in this way. thank you for sharing this important time with us. much love to all your family. Joyce

Cheryl said...

Ryan shared about his weekend with you. He loves you all very much. It is very complicated with many what if's and I just don't think we have the ability to understand why.I do know that God, love, forgiveness and time will help the healing process. I wish you peace my friend.

Cheryl said...

Sue- my email and phone # for you don't work. We will be in the DC area Sunday thru Tues and would like to see you. Please let me know what you think. Cheryl

Roxanne said...

I just watched this again tonight. I will cherish the memories of this weekend for ever. It was so nice to all be there together. I am thankful we have this video for other's to be able to watch and be able to experience as well.

Today Giselle brought me a picture of Josh and she was saying "My Josh" and gave his picture a kiss.

We love you and miss you sooooo much Josh.

Melissa said...

As my son and I face the first anniversary of my husbands passing I read with awe and huge respect from many miles away at the dignity and grace with which you have handled all of this. Much love...