Remembering Joshua – 1986 – 2009

It was five years ago today that my son Joshua died. As has become common at this time of year my thoughts of him are vivid and more frequent than ever. A couple of weeks ago my wife and two daughters and I attended a weekend retreat sponsored by the military for parents and siblings of someone who has died while in the military. There were about 40 families each with their own story. I talked to fathers and mothers who also lost their sons or daughters. Someone said that we are part of a club we wish would never have another member. But we know there will be. On my daily commute to work there are electronic signs that give the drive time for certain routes, weather reports, accidents etc. On some days they simply note how many traffic deaths have occurred in Michigan so far this year. The current total is 624. The number is staggering and it gives me pause as I drive to work thinking of all the families involved. At Baker alone we have had two people die in traffic accidents in the past few years. In addition to that one of my coworkers recently lost his wife. Another has suffered a miscarriage. Death is painful and ugly. It leaves wounds which, while they may heal with time, will always leave a scar. So what helps me? Remembering. Joshua is gone but his memory is still very much alive and when I remember him it helps me get through the darker nights. I’ve shared memories before but allow me to share one more.

For several mornings I noticed it was getting increasing difficult to get Joshua up for school. He kept insisting he just wasn’t sleeping well. One night I got up and happened to look in his room. It was about 2:00 a.m. and, you guessed it, he wasn’t there. I was livid–and worried. I stayed up and then about 4:00 a.m. I heard some noise from his room. When I went in I confronted him and he confessed he had been sneaking out of his window and meeting a friend. Fortunately they weren’t being too mischievous but simply “hanging out.” That ended that night. He made a lot of mistakes as many boys do. He spent time in detention and was brought home more than once in a police car. About a year before he died he said to me, “Dad, you know everything you’ve told me was right. I simply had to learn it the hard way.” After the birth of his daughter I noticed a distinct change in him. He was now a father and he was going to be responsible. I saw maturity grow in him faster than ever. He made me proud. For me September 18th will always be a painful day but memories help me get through it. The picture below is a selfie of him. It is one of my favorites. He was quite the ham. Many say the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. That’s fine. I’m proud to be that tree.

Joshua2

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12 thoughts on “Remembering Joshua – 1986 – 2009

  1. Thanks for sharing this post about Joshua. He sounds like someone I would want to meet and also thank for his service. My sympathies, especially at this difficult time of year for you and yours.

  2. Thursday morning, Sept. 18 Dear Louis: I was deeply touched by your transparency in sharing your grief and your powerful testimony to God’s grace. What a loss, and I prayed for you and your family when I finished your letter. May our Lord continue to hold you close and comfort you and your family with the assurance that NOTHING will ever separate us from his love. Your friend in Christ, Jake Heerema (I[m a good friend of the Bakers, and see you from time to time at the store)

  3. Thanks for this. My 32-year-old nephew died unexpectedly last month after a very brief illness. Death, grief, & loss are all too common traits of our humanity and we share them together. We’ve been in a daze since then: it is too hard to believe. Five years ago my brother-in-law died in the Grand Canyon in a hiking accident. We still miss him and think of him so often…. Looking forward to the resurrection while at the same time missing those we love who’ve gone ahead. Peace to you, Louis.

  4. I’ve only been a subscriber for the past year, so I didn’t know about your son Joshua. I am among countless other Americans who deeply appreciate the sacrifice many of our young men and women have made to serve their country. Thanks for sharing and God bless you and your family.

  5. Thanks for sharing a part of your journey, Louis. It reminds me of my hope in Christ and the longing to see those who have gone on before me.

  6. With fond affection and wonderful memories we will remember with you.
    Our deepest love for you and yours my friend and brother,
    Paul & Patty

  7. One day God will wipe all tears from our eyes.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. Can clearly see how proud you were of him. A truly beautiful remembrance.

  9. Thank you for all your wonderful comments. It encouraged far beyond what you can imagine. I will read them often.

  10. Very nice post. I’m sorry you have to go through this every year. I hope the good memories increase. I still remember that time five years ago.
    Jeff

  11. Thanks for sharing this, Louis. I’ve often thought about this huge loss for you and yet never knew what to say. I’m so glad to have read this post of yours and to have seen Joshua’s picture too. I’m so sorry for you loss.

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