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, February 18, 2011

23 Months Later - February 18, 2011

C.S Lewis, celebrated author of beloved books such as The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity poured out his heart in a journal after the passing of his beloved wife, "H".  His honest and gripping thoughts are recorded in a small book called A Grief Observed. 

Being a journal writer myself, the foreword by author Madeline L'Engle resonates:
"It is all right to wallow in one's journal; it is a way of getting rid of self-pity and self-indulgence and self-centeredness.  What we work out in our journals we don't take out on family and friends.  I am grateful to Lewis for the honesty of his journal of grief, because it makes quite clear that the human being is allowed to grieve, that it is normal, it is right to grieve, and the Christian is not denied this natural response to loss."
There are a number of quotes from the book that speak to me.  One analogy, however, accurately describes the impact of the devastating loss on a survivor's life.  No matter how long it has been since the death.  It reinforces what is mentioned in a previous post, that I will NEVER "get over" Josh's death.
"Getting over it so soon?  But the words are ambiguous.  To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing: after he's had his leg off it is quite another.  After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies.  If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop.  Presently he'll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg.  He has 'got over it.'  But he will probably have recurring pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man.  There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different.  His whole way of life will be changed.  All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off.  Duties too.  At present I am learning to get about on crutches.  Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg.  But I shall never be biped again."
Then later he writes:
"Did you know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left?  You have stripped me even of my past, even of the things we never shared.  I was wrong to say the stump was recovering from the pain of amputation.  I was deceived because it has so many ways to hurt me that I discover them only one by one."
At present, I have a prosthetic leg which works pretty well.  In fact, so well that people who meet me for the first time would not know that I am an amputee.  That I am a mother who has lost a son.  I function at at a high level on my job, teach three aerobics classes a week, am interested in renewing previously enjoyed experiences like skiing, am planning a trip to New Zealand with Lauren to visit Gillian while there for a study abroad program, and for all intensive purposes, to someone on the outside, I have recovered.

But that is a facade.  You see, the chopping off of my leg was so violent, like the horrible scenes from Civil War movies when the poor solidiers had no anesthesia when faced with the ax; that to recover completely from this deep wound or trauma may never happen.  I am lucky, I suppose that there has been no complications from the amputation.  No insomnia or nightmares.  No anxiety or depression.  No suicidal thoughts of my own.  But there is fear.  That something will happen to one of my three surviving children.  That as a mother,  I might suffer more.

(See post on my reading blog for more.)


Mandysue said...

I am also Josh's mom. As I read through your blog barealy able to see through my tears,I see we are on the same journey. My son Joshua took his life in 2005. Since then keeping his memory alive and finding the treasures grief has for me have been my purpose. Your son was beautiful/is beautiful. Thank you for sharing him. If you feel like connecting you can find me at, on Facebook (a tribute page) called Life Is A Highway and my blog is at

Blessings. I truly honor you...<3 Josh's Mom...

d said...

Thank you for posting your blog. If you asked me how I found it, you would be surprised. Your blog is so inspirational, and gives me hope. I am only an 18 year old boy, but someday I hope to grow up to be such a great parent as you were. Having faced such situations as Josh, the stress and intensity of it all caused me to go into depression, but luckily I escaped it. It's not your fault Josh has passed on, and I hope you truly know that.
I wrote about your blog here on my tumblr in case you are interested.

Thank you again,
Don Watson

Josh's mom said...

Fellow Josh's mom - I am so sorry to hear about your son. I hope our two boys have found one another. I went to your blog, shed tears as well and posted a comment. I'd like to put a link to your blog on the home page but wanted to check with you first. Please let me know.

I'm glad you found Josh's blog and it encourages me to know that it has helped you. I tried to go to your tumblr site but the URL didn't work. Can you send it again?

Mandysue said...

Josh's Mom...Ok this could get complicated. :) Thank you for taking the time to honor my son and of course yours. The picture of our boys finding eachother gave me such joy. <3 I would be honored for you to attach a link to my blog on yours. I would love to do the same(I might need instructions). Would you be ok if I mentioned your blog on Life Is A Highway on Facebook? There are almost 900 of us.
Warmest Regards
Josh's Mom <3

Josh's mom said...

Mandysue - I just put your blog link up. And of course, you can mention this blog on your FB. Love and hugs - from one Josh's mom to another :)

DJSector7 said...

Mom - here's the link for Don's post:

Josh's mom said...

My older son give me the link to your tumblr post. I just read it and appreciate the depth of your thoughts. I think about Josh every single day with still so much sadness...for what he is missing in life....for what he left behind. And always wish he could have come through that dark night to the other side. It sounds like you have come through which is good.

I hope you are right - that others who struggle with deep, dark thoughts may realize that suicide affects far more than one person and those of us left behind will be scarred forever. And if you love someone, you will not do that to them.

Josh's mom

lori said...

Dear 'Josh's Mom,
I found your blog through a link on the website. I am so very grateful to have found your wonderfully expressive blogs. I lost my beautiful son, Benjamin, 21 months ago, Aug 9, 2009. Ben was 29. We definitely didn't see it coming. I've read, through my tears, your words and I can't begin to tell you how much I czan relate to many of your thoughts. I wanted to thank you for expressing what I have been unable to express for so many months. We will walk in the Overnight for the 2nd time this year. I hope to see your team there....again, many are truly helping others. Benjamin's Mom

lori said...

Dear Josh's Mom, I found your blog on the website and I am so thankful. I lost my son, Benjamin, on Aug 9, 2009 to suicide. I"ve read through tears your beautifully honest words and would realted to so many of them. I've been unsuccessful in putting my thoughts on paper so I am extremelty grateful to you for tapping into many thoughts and feelings I've been experiencing on my grief journey. we will do the overnight walk for the 2nd year in ny. i hope to see your team there and i wanted to thank you for your are truly helping other Mothers throughthis unthinkable tragedy. Ben's Mom, Lori