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.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Congratulations LHS and SLHS graduates

The past few days have been cloudy, overcast and rainy in the Washington DC area. But today is a beautiful day, with bright sunshine and blue skies, fitting for Graduation Day for the two high schools that our Josh attended.

Having gone through this with Josh's three older siblings, I think back to what it was like, and perhaps the feelings and thought bubbles in their minds. Amazement while getting dressed, thinking, "Wow, is it really here?" Bittersweet feelings: sad that one chapter of life is ending but excited (and a little scared) at what new experiences and friendships lie ahead. Jittery nerves while lining up with fellow graduates, waiting for the start of the ceremony. Pride when walking up to receive the hard earned diploma. Sheer joy when it is all over - surrounded by friends and family - hugs, handshakes and high-fives. Pictures, pictures and more pictures - causing twitching faces due to all the smiling. Off to family celebrations, then ANGP (all night grad party), then whatever is planned for the summer.

It is a special day for parents as well. I remember feeling many of the same things: relief and amazement that high school is over, thinking, where did the time go? Pride while watching them receive their diploma; happiness at seeing their joy. Congratulations to other graduates and families marveling at how these kids are all grown up, ready to embark on their futures, hoping that we have given them the tools to succeed. Wanting the whole week to be a special one: hosting family members, graduation parties, attending various events for seniors, volunteering at ANGP. It is their graduation, but it feels like that for us as well.

Admittedly, it has been a sadder than normal week for me as I can't help but think about what we would be doing if Josh were still alive. How different things would be. Another big event that he (and we) are missing out on.

One consolation, and it is a big one, is knowing that Josh has not been forgotten by his friends and the community. I've received a couple of emails which have touched us deeply.
I am the parent of a former classmate of Josh's (my daughter sat next to Josh throughout 6th grade at Forestville) and am also co-chair of this year's Baccalaureate at LHS for the Class of 2010. As you may remember from your older kids, Baccalaureate is an independent, interfaith, celebration of graduation with music, prayer, and reflection. We are all conscious that, in an ideal world, Josh would have been graduating with this class. As a result, one of the groups of performers have asked to dedicate their song ("Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley) to Josh. We recognize how hard this week in particular and want to let you know that Josh will be in everyone's hearts and prayers.

As high school graduation approaches, we want you and Tim to know that Josh will be in all of our thoughts. The seniors who were promoted from Forestville in 2004 will be having a kickball game and potluck dinner. As a group, we are planning a class contribution to Josh's memorial fund. Josh's blessed memory will always remain in our hearts.
While we were invited to both events and to the graduation ceremonies of both schools, it would be too difficult to attend. It is enough to know that he has been and will continue to be in the hearts of friends and classmates. I will end this post with pictures taken from a couple of yearbooks that we have received.

Inside cover of the 2009 McLean Mustang Yearbook

Half-page dedication in LHS yearbook

We appreciate so much what others have done to ensure Josh's memory lives on.

God Bless

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Teammates Still Remember Josh

Over a year has passed since Josh left us on that fateful day, March 18, 2009. He was a gifted athlete and school was marked not so much by quarters passed, but sports seasons. He left us two days before the opening South Lakes lacrosse game. The boys played that Friday night with a man down on defense on the first play - in memory of him. We received pictures of that night which are posted on the blog.

He would be in his senior year. Another South Lakes lacrosse season has passed. I received an email with this note from a SLHS mom. It encourages us to know that our beloved son still lives in the hearts of his teammates.

My name is Meagan Church. My son, Jeff, is a student at South Lakes (sophomore) and I wrote to you last year shortly after Josh passed away. Jeff gave up soccer last year to try out for the JV LAX team. I thought it might be a mistake (I was afraid that he wouldn't make the team since he didn't have any experience) but I supported his decision to try. Since all of the players started out together Jeff had the opportunity to meet Josh. Jeff was impressed that an older, "cool" guy would be nice to the younger, newer players like Jeff. Jeff played on JV last season.

This season Jeff started on JV but was moved up to Varsity for several games. When the season ended I opened up Jeff's LAX bag to clean things. Right away when I unzipped the bag I noticed the letters "JA" on Jeff's helmet. I was thinking JA, JA, JA... then I remember that the players had put Josh's initials on their helmets to honor him.

I took this picture to share with you. I hope that you don't mind. You know how dirty, wet and sweaty these boys get. It was clear to me that the initials were not faded--someone had to have taken the time to go over them again--they were clear and the ink was dark. I asked Jeff about it and he said that all of the helmets are that way. It's obvious that the players missed and honored your son in every game they played. I'm proud that my son had the chance to wear a helmet with Josh's initials on it.

Josh - I wish you knew what an impact your short life on Earth has had on so many people. Rest in peace, my beloved son. Know that you are still missed by family, friends and teammates. We all wish with all of our hearts that you could have found another way.

God Bless