Many thanks for the emails, FB messages, texts and phone calls today. And to my friend Rox, for coming all the way from Atlanta to be with us. Getting on the computer late this afternoon, I saw this post on my daughter-in-law's blog which reminded me of a post written a little over two months after his death called Josh and Dogs.
I've been a bit numb. The week leading up to today has been extremely busy with our two fundraising events - bar fundraiser on Wednesday and marathon/half-marathon run yesterday. The support for both has been overwhelming and moving. Despite the lack of time for true reflection, I did try to write a little in my journal this morning and here is the gist of my thoughts.
I am still in disbelief sometimes - not that Josh is gone - I know that is true. It is more around the fact that it happened to us. We are like many other close and loving families in our community. Tim and I have been dedicated parents from the get go. We were fortunate to have jobs that allowed both of us to be home during their younger years. I don't think he and I ever disagreed on how we would raise our kids. We believed they should have rules and consequences if broken. We worked hard not to discipline out of anger/frustration. We were very involved in their academic, extra-curricular and social lives. If they participated in a baseball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, football game or dance competition, we were there. Tim coached the boy's baseball teams. We knew their friends. The kids were our #1 priority.
We struggled and muddled our way through the difficult teen years. I am sure we were too harsh at times and too lenient at other times. In fact, our older kids have said that we lightened up a lot with Josh - letting him "get away with things." Probably true since he was our 4th, and we unwittingly gave into parental fatigue. As I reflect now, I wonder if we unknowingly did or said things that made our kids feel competitive with each another. And while we tried to have open lines of communication, I am sure we said our fair share of "because we said so" to the questions of "why?" or "why not?"
That said, we did our best. And with a clear conscious, I can say that everything we did, while not always right, was motivated out of what was best for them. So I struggle now with the inexplicable question - if you love your child(ren) with all of your heart and would do anything for them, and have hopefully proven that through the child-rearing years, how could this happen?
How could your son decide to leave? A loving home? Friends too numerous to count?
How? Why? I am always brought back to these two haunting and unanswerable questions. And it is because of these questions that we are focused and passionate about the Josh Anderson Foundation. We want to fund programs in schools that could have impacted our son to take a different course of action in the midst of his extreme despair. We want kids to feel comfortable enough to be open about their issues and to get help before it becomes unbearable. We don't want kids suffering alone. We want to stop teenage suicide so no other family will suffer the same tragic loss.
I love and miss you more than words can express,