It has now been 3.5 years since Josh decided to leave us. This might be a good time to take stock of where I am in my grief journey.
I continue to ask the unanswerable question, "why, Josh, why?" and still struggle with disbelief; not denial, but disbelief - there is a difference. Guilt and her close cousin, Regret remain constant companions. I visit Josh every weekend except when traveling, and write my weekly letter to him. I do not ever foresee stopping this ritual.
I continue to find solace, comfort and illumination in books, most recently in the ancient Greek and Roman epics and tragedies. A secret wish is to go back to college and pursue a literature degree.
Outside of my full-time job, I teach a couple of spin classes a week and have added running and Bikram yoga to my regular fitness routine. The fact that I have continued exercising after Josh's death has probably helped me more than I give it credit. I should ponder this further and perhaps write a post on this subject.
I have little to no patience with people consumed with the superficial, external, frivolous, shallow and trivial matters of life. That probably sounds harsh but is true.
In contrast, Josh's death has brought a depth to all of my relationships: with my surviving children, extended family and friends who knew him. I remain in periodic contact with several of Josh's friends which is a source of great comfort.
Fall always makes me think of football so I have thought about watching the highlight video of Josh's last football season but don't think I can. We also have pictures and video of the memorial service, neither of which I have seen and not sure if I ever will. I have not gone through his closet or desk - everything has remained as it was a couple of weeks afterwards when Tyler cleared/straightened things up (I could not go into Josh's room for that was where I found him).
I find hope in The Josh Anderson Foundation whose mission is "to provide teenagers with the mental health education, resources and support so that they will never turn to suicide." It is critical that we educate the adolescent's mind, for in their darkest hour, if they do not reach out for help, the vulnerable teen who is seriously contemplating death must stop that dangerous dance. Which means in effect, they are their own last line of defense.
With Lauren's focus on the foundation full-time, a good start was made in local high schools last spring. I hope we can bring meaningful programs to many more schools this year.
I am excited that we are going to help bring the Send Silence Packing display to UVA's lawn on October 4th. We funded the display in Fairfax, VA - see Gillian's moving You Tube video of the event. I wish high schools would allow the display on their football fields for the student body - I guarantee the impact would be huge, perhaps bigger than anything else we could do.
I appreciate when high profile individuals have the courage to share their struggles with depression and even more pointedly, with suicide. Tim and I watched an interview with Christina Kim, popular LPGA golfer in which she admitted to both. She writes on a blog which Tim found for me - here is her "coming out" post.
Tyler forwarded me a post that he found via Facebook. This guy, Chris Gethard, hosts a very popular comedy/variety late night show and took the time to respond to a fan who was suicidal. The post is very raw and the language is explicit but comes directly from the heart. I wish Josh could've read something like this on that fateful night.
RIP beloved son. Missed and loved now more than ever.