Joshua died 15 years ago today. If he were still with us, he would be 16 years old. I imagine that he would be big like his dad. I imagine that he would be soft spoken with his mother. I imagine that he would fill the hole between Paul and Dan perfectly; giving Paul a run for his money and Dan a comrade. I think about what the configuration of our bedrooms would look like. We would have outgrown a minivan and would be driving an SUV of some kind. I imagine he would like music. At Christmas we sang Far Far Away on Judea's Plains in the Christmas program. As we stood there harmonizing, I thought about him, just for a moment, and I wondered where he would be standing.
I don't talk much about Joshua's death. In fact, unless I know that I will get to know the person intimately, I don't even tell people that we have a son who died; the whole experience is much too sacred to me. People, trying to relate and to be kind, tell me about a death or disappointment in their life or try to make light of it or just stand there awkwardly, not knowing what to say. I don't blame any of them, frankly, I am just as awkward and speechless when the tables are turned. Having gone through something like that hasn't made me a good comforter.
I kept a journal the year after Josh died. I wrote in it every day but we lost it in one of the moves. I wonder about the stories that were in that journal. I wonder if I even want to read them again. Grieving is not a pretty thing, it is agony and rawness and wracking sobs. It is painful just to remember. So maybe it was a kind providence that those records were lost and I can't go back and relive that horrible time in my life.
The stories that have stayed at the forefront of my mind are still there although, after 15 years I am sure that time has skewed the facts a little. Some of them are too close to my heart to share in such a public way but I think I am ready for some of them to be known.