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.

Monday, March 18, 2013

4 Years Later - March 18, 2013

Four years ago, Josh decided to leave us.  I still ask "why?" but am no closer to knowing the answer than 48 months ago.

The day started with a wintry mix so by 10:30am there was a thin layer of snow on the trees and on the ground which was actually quite pretty.  But by mid-day the snow had turned to rain, and thick, grey, gloomy clouds had settled over us - pretty apropos for the sad day that it was.

I have gone back over the previous "anniversary" posts (The day after burial1 year later2 years later3 years later) and still find it hard to believe that this tragedy happened to us. It remains difficult to comprehend, reconcile, absorb and digest.  I don't deny that it happened but the disbelief is still strong.

I have put all our pictures of Josh on a digital frame which usually sits in the family room, but has been moved to the kitchen counter this weekend.  While I wait for the tea kettle to boil, I watch the slideshow of his life and just shake my head and think for the umpteenth time: "why Josh why?"  This is immediately followed by self-recriminating thoughts of how I did not give him what he needed - to live or to want to live.  This well-rehersed pattern of thought is not part of my intellect, (for I can reason my way out of guilt), but lies in my heart - the seat of emotion.  It is hard to reason with a feeling: especially one as strong as a mother's guilt.

There are a couple of things that make this day bearable.  One: we had our 4th annual Running to Remember Josh on Saturday which was a great success (a post will be coming shortly). And two: all the friends who have gotten in touch via the various way we communicate these days (text, email, e-card, face book) to say they are thinking of us and most importantly, remembering our beloved Josh.

Josh changed our life when he came into the world on January 16, 1992

This was our last family photo taken at Thanksgiving 2008

This shirt was created in memory of Josh in the first year and graces one of his friend's room in a frat house

My friend, Rox, wrote this while in Hawaii on a recent trip

The front of this year's half-marathon running shirt...

....and the back

Runners and supporters before the start 

On Sunday, Rox put up this wind chime on Josh's tree...

....and adorned his final resting place with rose petals

I went today - you can see the snow 

RIP Josh - loved and missed more than ever.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Letter to Grief - Almost 4 years later

Time relentlessly marches me closer to the four-year death anniversary on March 18th and I am powerless to stop him.  The house is quiet; I am alone.  I understand Paloma when she says "that silence helps you go inward" (in The Elegance of a Hedgehog, a recently read favorite book).   I need this silence to try and understand how I feel.  To help, I wrote a letter to Grief in my journal - read this post to see how I picture her.

Dear Grief,
You came into my life suddenly, without warning almost four years ago. I had not known you before, having never lost someone close to me.  And not just someone, but my own child whom I nourished in my womb and bore into this world over 21 years ago; who now lies frozen in time as a 17-year old man-boy; who, for reasons still unknown to me, decided to leave this world: no, how I really feel is that he decided to leave me.  I know I shouldn't take it personally (that he was not thinking of me that fateful night but of his own pain and suffering and the best way to end it), but as his mother, I can't help but take it personally.

And wonder yet again what I did wrong, or perhaps better said, what I didn't do.  For I plead "guilty" to the charge: sin of omission.  I torture myself thinking I should've done this or that; I should've said this or that.  But of course, it is too late and nothing I think, say or do will bring him back.  Death is permanent.  Irreversible.  Irrevocable.

Which is why you are still here and will continue to be until the day that I am reunited with Josh.  I am curious about one thing: when the inevitable happens and my elderly parents pass away, will a different version of you come or will more of you pile onto the current you?

If I am to guess, I would say that the part of you associated with Josh's death will be distinct and separate, perhaps only added to - heaven forbid! - if something happens to one of my other three children.  If that were to occur, I think you would become so enormous - a monstrosity - that I would crumble and break under the sheer weight: I could not survive.

For now, I acknowledge your presence without fear, flight or fight.  I do not fear you as I've learned that you are a measure of my love: love much, grieve much.  I know I cannot flee you for you reside within, so wherever I go, there you will be.  And fighting you is useless as your strength far exceeds my own.

I guess the question most on my mind is this: "What next?  Where will you be taking me on the 5th year of our journey?"