Joy at seeing the tremendous number of friends and colleagues whose generous donations allowed us to exceed our $10,000 goal by almost 50%. Emails and letters of those who could not attend as well as conversations at the event underscores the support for our crucial mission - to provide teenagers with the mental health education, resources and support so that they will never turn to suicide.
This article, Giving Teens Strength to Keep On Living, published in our local community paper the day before the fundraiser, exemplifies what the money is being used for.
Sadness, of course, as to why we were there - a reminder of our personal tragedy. But the next night is when the grief really bubbled over. I was home alone, walking around our silent house, looking at the myriad of pictures chronicling the growth of our big family, each photo bringing back memories of vacations, sporting events, weddings, and holidays - all the precious moments that us moms treasure, and it hit me once again, as if it happened last month and not over 4 years ago, that our Josh is gone.
Being alone, through tears, I started talking to him. "Why did you do it Josh? Why did you do something that we cannot fix or change? Why did you do something so permanent? Why didn't you say anything? Why didn't you tell me? I would gladly trade places with you if that would mean you could be here…..I would've taken all your pain upon myself if that would keep you alive. If someone in our family had to die, I wish it were me, not you."
In my mind's eye, he is equally sad and remorseful in response, "I'm sorry mom - I didn't know what I was doing. I wish I could take it back and come home."
For us, it is too late. But hopefully not for other kids and their families.
Getting ready to sell drink and raffle tickets
Josh's picture and the JAF banner
What makes this event special is the support by young adults…..
…..and not so young adults
Tim showing a supporter the big screen TV which was showing pictures of Josh and JAF events
Two moms of Josh's friends manning the table
Our new JAF T-shirts