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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Denial vs Disbelief

It has been a little over 2.5 years since Josh has left us and I have been thinking a lot about two words: denial and disbelief.

Denial is one of the 5 stages of grief noted by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her landmark book, On Death and Dying, published in 1969.  These stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) were originally applied to those facing death from a terminal illness.  The audience was later broadened to include those who suffered a catastrophic loss.

Webster-Merriam's definition of denial is simple: refusal to admit the truth or reality of something unpleasant.  This is not me.  Not when Josh's absence is evident every day and the last interaction with my beloved boy is now over 2.5 years old.  The memories of a frozen seventeen year old are etched in my mind and branded on my heart.  And as I look to the future, that number will only get bigger and bigger and perhaps more painful, not less.

Words that describe disbelief are amazement, astonishment and incredulity.  This is me.  I am still amazed that our son took his life.  I shake my head in disbelief.  I know it is true but my mind has difficulty comprehending the fact.  This picture is by my computer.

Sometimes I stare at it wondering how the unthinkable happened to Josh, to us, to our family, to me.  How could it have happened?  How could it have gotten so bad in his mind?  How could a kid with everything get to a point where nothing mattered except finding a permanent way to deal with his loss and pain?  Maybe part of this disbelief is wrapped up in the constant, unanswerable question of why?  But if I knew why, would it be easier to believe?  I don't know.

This picture was taken in 2003, six years before "IT" happened.  I look at our smiling faces, totally oblivious to the impending doom of which we are now survivors.  It is hard to write these posts as I am forced to face my thoughts and feelings head on.  I am still so very sad that he is gone.  I still feel a mother's guilt which is now mixed with self-pity - a strange concoction.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Life, Death and Phone Calls

We received happy news in the family - a new baby!   My sister-in-law had gone into labor and without knowing what happened, I went to bed.  When I woke up, I grabbed the phone and called my mom.  You know times are different when your 75-year-old mother's first response was "Oh, didn't you see the email?"  Then, "she had a healthy baby girl!"

My journal entry later that morning:
Pre-technology revolution, pre-email, it would've been phone calls to family members.  We had our list of people to call after each of our kids were born - strange - just remembered it is the same list of who to call when someone dies.  At birth and at death - the first people you call are immediate family.

I had to call Tim - after I found Josh.  Poor guy - he was on the Beltway and had to drive home after hearing the news.  After the worse was confimed, we had to call our children.  Tim did that.  What do you say?  How do you tell your children that one of their siblings is no longer alive?  I don't know.  I am glad that I did not have to make those calls.

I did call my mom and practically screamed the news to her - "JOSH IS DEAD...HE KILLED HIMSELF."  I let her tell my brother and sister, I think.  I then had to call my boss and tell him why I couldn't go to a client meeting that day and why I wouldn't be back to work for an undetermined time.  Being a father himself, he was full of compassion.

Within several short hours of these calls, our family began rallying around us.  And now, over two years later, we have a new baby in the family whom we will surround with love and support.
This is what happens in my journal.  I begin writing about one thing and then my thoughts flow to memories that still reside close to the surface.  Tears flowed freely as I recalled that horrible day and the phone calls made.

RIP Josh.  I wish you were hear to see your new baby cousin.  You are forever loved and missed.