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.

Friday, April 18, 2014

5 Years and 1 Month Later: Acceptance

A couple of years into my grief journey, I found a helpful website: and on it, the 7 stages of grief:

  1. Shock and Denial
  2. Pain and Guilt
  3. Anger and Bargaining
  4. "Depression", Reflection and Loneliness
  5. The Upward Turn
  6. Reconstruction and Working Thru
  7. Acceptance and Hope

Over the past 5 years, I have meandered my way back and forth through the first 6 stages which I've tried to chronicle in my personal journal and on this blog.

The last stage of Acceptance and Hope has always seemed a fantasy land, completely out of reach.  Like a mirage to a parched desert wanderer, it was an elusive illusion.  A place that maybe other people could find but not me.  In other words, an impossible dream.

And yet…..something has changed…..deep within.

I can't pin-point the exact date, as it has been a process over the past several months.  And as I write this post, my analytical mind is trying to identify the reasons:
  • My reading about the afterlife (see this post) and a couple of Deepak Chopra's books, namely Life After Death and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
  • The good work being done by The Josh Anderson Foundation and all the wonderful people we have met along the way.  We ARE making a difference.
  • I feel a more enlightened person; I have a different perspective of life and what really matters
  • I have learned much through my own suffering and my two girl's suffering, especially Lauren
  • A deep belief that death is not the end 
  • A deeper understanding of the inter-relationship between life and death; death and life - more like a circle where one begets the other
Every week, on Saturday, I visit Josh and write a letter to him.  On April 5th, 2014, this is what I wrote - very different than past letters:

Dear Josh,
At the park today - a breezy, cool, sunny day - high 50's.  Lots to share but you know already….we got your signs in NY - the picture of your backpack on the Send Silence Packing blog that Lauren saw while preparing for the Deepak Chopra interview…also the song, Over The Rainbow, came on as we were getting ready to leave the city.  You are still with us - I believe it.  But hope you are not a "displaced" soul, or "untethered" or "disassociated" - wandering, still searching for peace.  If you are and if it is tied to my emotions at all…

Be free
You are OK
We are doing OK and will be OK
I have accepted your death
I understand the connection between death and life
You died for a reason
You died so I could be born anew - enlightened - eyes open to the true spiritual beings we all are
You died and JAF was born
There is no need to feel guilty for what you did 
You are giving us strength and direction to repay the karmic debt which is OK…I am happy to do it…It feels right, like our purpose
I know you are not alone
I know you are in a place of love, peace and wholeness
I believe your spirit is alive and well
I am no longer mad at you
I forgive you
I love you
Be at peace, Josh.  I think I am getting there.
Be free - do what you want to do but still be connected to us - in a good, healthy way
Be whole, Josh
Love yourself
Know we love and miss you - that will never change

Taps is being played now - haunting, beautiful and apropos.

I don't need answers anymore - it is what it is.

I am starting a new spiritual journey - more real, authentic and truer than anything experienced in church.

An awakening…
An enlightening…
A birth….

All because of you
I am grateful

RIP Josh - guide me to true knowledge

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Original Poem: His Park

Five years later and I still visit Josh - it is part of my regular Saturday routine.  His park is a safe place and this poem expresses why.

His Park
By Sue Anderson

His park
   quiet and still
   full of ears
   listening attentively
   without judgement to my
   sighs, groans, sobs,
   whispers, cries and questions. 

compassionate mob

Frozen as infants, 
   adults and

From all walks of life
   all nationalities
   all shapes and sizes

Keeping my son company.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Original Poem: The Facade

A couple of years after Josh's death, I took a job at another firm - where no one knew of our tragedy.  I wrote about the struggle of what to say, what not to say in this post.

It is now three years later and while some know, many that I interact with on a regular basis do not.  This poem describes the problem that still exists.

The Facade
by Sue Anderson

Like a false front on a movie set
     is me to someone who does not know.

To those who do,
     they know that Josh's death defines me.

No longer the mom of four beautiful children,
     I am the mom whose youngest took his life.

Unspeakably tragic, this sacred and fragile truth
     can only be told to the trustworthy,

of whom I know many,
     but the dilemma becomes one of timing.


There are no good answers
     so I remain silent,

which means those who think they know me,
     really know nothing at all.