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.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reminders - September 10, 2010

In a previous post I had shared about a cross stitch pattern, Footprints, that I was working on as part of my grief journey. As one who is notorious for beginning projects and letting them languish for years, I finished this in record time. When completed, off I went to the craft store, taking advantage of their 50% sale to get it matted and framed. It now is on the living room wall, next to the piano, on which numerous items received in the months after Josh's death are displayed.

These items, like many other pictures around our house are reminders not only of our beloved Josh but of our loss. This blog is also a painful reminder. When I read previous posts or write a new one, I have to be ready. Prepared to feel the loss or the "abyss" as one mother , whose 21-year old son died after being hit by a car, puts it in the book, The Grieving Garden: Living With the Death of a Child by Suzanne Redfern and Susan Gilbert. Her description of the abyss: "the searing sense of the full realization of his death....breathtaking, staggering intensity of pain...shattering, unbelievable quality of knowing that my child is gone."

This is what she felt on a daily basis in the days, weeks and months after his death. Then, nine and a half years later, she writes:

I live the bulk of my life at a safe distance from the edge of the abyss. Those early months and years, I often felt that I was right on the edge. Living so near to that abyss left very little room in my life or heart for anything else. And I truly didn't think I would survive if I fell in. Now, while its always in my peripheral vision, my field of awareness, I'm usually not at the edge. But I can go there. Sometimes I am swept there unexpectedly. Other times, on anniversaries or simply on a quiet afternoon, I can choose to go there and feel this primal grief, that bottomless sorrow. For me, to hold his life forever, forever alive in me means that I must also hold his death forever alive in me. I hold it all: the gift of him, the miracle of his life and being, and the abyss. (249-250)

These words really spoke to me. Especially the words: primal grief and bottomless sorrow. This is accurate. This is true. It is what I feel when the loss of our son hits me. When the reality of his death slaps or smacks me in the face. There is no consolation, nothing that can be said or done to make me feel better.

Then the other reality sinks in....that life goes on. The living must continue to live. Josh is gone, but I am not. And so, I have my time of weeping while writing this post, and then onto other things. It is like living on an emotional roller coaster - quite draining. This is why I reserve writing blog posts for the weekend. It is too much emotion for the week as I work in a fairly high-stress job. So it is trying to manage. Cope. Deal. Figure out what I can handle and what I can't which is not easy. And while reading books is helpful, this grief journey is individual. It is unique for each person. So in many ways, one has to figure it out as they go. And with the help and support of family and friends, hopefully I can come through on the other end.

I will end this post with photos of my finished project - in dedication to our much loved and missed boy, Joshua.

God Bless


Roxanne said...

Sue, that is so beautiful. What a lovely dedication. I have not cross stitched in years but I remember how much time they take and that is amazing.

The last few days I have been thinking of you so much. You are in my thoughts and on my heart.

Little JLA (Jackson Landon Armes) is here. And he is going to carry on the memory of Joshy also. Just like our little HaiLee. Lauren said in the hospital that he too looked asian. I said it must be because Josh held him before he came to us. :) We all smiled and felt as though Josh were there with us.

Giselle came into Brittany's room and saw her picture of Josh and said...oh der is Josh...der's my Uncle Joshy. She also saw my picture in the living room and she touched it and said "Hi Uncle Josh".

We love you Sue and we love Josh so much and we miss him to terribly.

I know we can not be there with you all the time but you are in our hearts ALWAYS. He is on our minds and in our Hearts as well. Please do not ever feel alone in your grief we are on this path with you.

Keep writing and sharring your feelings on this Blog because I know that so many are reading it and feel close to your through this.

I love you Sue........your forever friend....Roxanne

Ginny Ann said...

I just came across your words and would like to express my sorrow for your loss.

As a parent, I had a close call with my older daughter who was bullied and sexually harassed at her school. She became despondent and I was able to take leave from work to home school her. These zero tolerance policies are nothing more than a way to 'minimize risk' (insurance parlance) for the schools. Ironically, it actually increases risk of lawsuits. In the end, it increases despondency amongst teens who are already at high risk for depression. The social milieu of school life is anything but easy. Add to that, the hormonal flux, the economy, the distractions and you have a heady mix of potential inner conflict.

I read what the Superintendent said in response to your son's suicide. I was so saddened and infuriated all over again as it took me straight back to 1999 when I came up against the same sort of mindset.

My heart goes out to you.

It was not your fault.

In my experience, very few administrators understand teenagers.

Most Sincerely,