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Seven years is a LONG time..and still reeling from the shock of it all.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Seven years ago tomorrow was supposed to be a fun day. We were with a big group of our friends thousands of miles out in the ocean on a huge cruise ship gathered together to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary. We had just finished some pleasant island shopping on St. Thomas. I had bought Josh a tee shirt, "So many bars, so little time" I knew he'd get a kick out of that one. Josh was always foremost in my mind. He was my angel, my most brilliant creation, my GIFT to the world!

But..let me tell you life can change in a micro second! emoticon It's well placed advise from someone who has lived it...never, ever, think that you will have your loved ones forever.

Even when they might annoy you, remember...you never can count on seeing them tomorrow.

May 17th, seven years ago was the WORST day of my entire life. It was the day we got a phone call out in the middle of the deep blue sea that the absolute LOVE of his father's and my life was dead.

DEAD...my mind just couldn't accept it! emoticon When I heard this news from a homicide detective that had tracked us down through one of Josh's friends I felt my soul lift up out of my body and hover above to observe a screaming hysterical little lady collapsed to the floor of the ship.

She was writhing in agony smack in the middle of it's lobby with thousands of strangers milling all around her.

WHO was that crazy human down there...I was always so dignified and so together in times of crisis...it certainly couldn't be ME...I didn't even allow myself to scream out in labor pains delivering my 10 pound 11 oz baby boy...it was just so heathen...not me...not ME at all!

But yet...there I was..I didn't care WHO saw me or WHAT they thought...I had just lost my everything!

My Mother's intuition had been screaming to me before this trip...very loudly and very CLEARLY! "DON'T GO!" I absolutely did NOT want to go on this cruise, even though it had been planned and paid for 6 months prior. I just had a nagging feeling that our young adult son aged 22 needed us at home.

Josh and I had just arrived back home a few days earlier...from a 10 day mother/son trip to NYC for the Tribeca Film Fest. It was something that Josh coveted...he LOVED the city, and he wanted to be a film maker so "The Becca" was his idea of heaven.

His father will not step a foot into the city...but his momma is always up for adventure so off we went. It was good times, broadway shows, film screenings, travel to the museums, and lots of wonderful restaurants. Each day we were up early with a whole list of things to do. We were out and about until the wee hours of the morning and frankly I was pooped from the trip.

Josh was taking a film writing workshop, I wanted to scout out some cool bead shops, we went to the top of the rock at Rockerfeller Center...it was all non stop fun. But yet...there was this little nagging 'mother feeling' that something was a little 'off' with Josh. I couldn't put my finger on it exactly...but it WAS there!

Josh and I LOVED the Museum of Natural History..it was our favorite attraction in NYC.

Josh in Little Italy...he was such a handsome young man! So talented and so accepting of other people. I remember walking in Times Square evenings where local young artists were trying to get people to buy their c.ds.

I would rush past them...always safety conscious from my many years in the banking industy about personal protection...but not Josh...he patiently listened to their c.ds with the headphones they offered him. Then he took the time to stand there in the swarming masses of tourists and give them input on how commercial he thought their tunes might be. He was quite the song writer himself and had been in a rock group. He was taking guitar lessons so he knew what he was talking about and they seemed to appreciate his input.

In the meantime I was impatiently standing to the side, giving Josh the 'hairy eyeball' while tapping my foot..."Come ON Josh, you can't be all things to all people ALL the time!"

But he could...and he was! emoticon

Josh and his buddies started an irreverent group called "The Gods of MySpace" this was when that site was the IT thing. He wrote blogs on different things that annoyed him called "This Really Grinds my Gears" he had such a funny sarcastic way of looking at things. He always made me laugh so hard I'd think my sides would split.

I miss his sick jokes! emoticon

Josh was a natural performer. He loved to dress up in character and make people laugh. Sometimes he'd even make himself laugh. I'm "SO STELLAR"...he'd say!

But often this was a facade. Deep down inside he was a deep thinker and a very sensitive guy. He never really ever gave himself credit for his vast and deep talents. He always told me "Hey mummers, I'm just the good guy on the outside looking in."

People really didn't 'get' Josh.

Mundane people rarely do recognize greatness..even when it is right in front of them.

His friends were quick to pour out their hearts when they were down in the dumps. I used to walk by Josh on his cellphone where he'd sit and listen to them for HOURS and point to my watch and roll my eyes!

He spent SO much of his life consoling his friends. But where were they when Josh needed them? I know he called at least 5 of them the night he was SO desperate for help. His cellphone had their stored numbers of outgoing calls with the times he made them and a few of their return 'don't bother me now' messages back to him...Hey Josh, it's late. Call me tomorrow.

There was NO tomorrow for Josh...at least here on the earth plane. If I were one of those kids or the kid that was with him in our house when he breathed his last breathe...I'd never be able to live with myself. Why DO these kids have no soul? Are they desensitized by all the brutal video games they play all day? I don't get it! emoticon

Even on the ship we were cruising on it was soooo eery went a young teen with his big graduation group went missing. The ship's investigation crew later found video of how he had drank himself stupid with his large group of friends while they were filming him and his apathy like some kind of sick snuff film. Using this poor guy and his helpless state for their own personal SICK entertainment.

He later staggered up on the ships top balcony with no one stopping him and leaned over the balcony to throw up. The winds were so strong that night they swept him overboard. No one there to help him...no one there to witness the sad event other than the security camera. I said to my husband when we heard of this that his parents might die when they heard and saw how heartless these other kids in his group were.

But then, there WE were right beside them in the same horrifying situation.

We almost chose to end our own sad lives that night. We could easily have jumped off our balcony late into the night after we heard of the news about our Josh. None of our friends offered to stay with us, or even worried about what a vulnerable state we were in.

I guess you just don't think of those things if it's not your child.

DH and I were leaning WAY out and over the balcony rail off our stateroom holding hands crying our eyes out, the swirling black waters were churning far below. They seemed to be beckoning us to come and join our Josh.

It's only at the last minute a freighting though flashed in my mind about our two cats at home with no one left to feed them. This sad thought on top of the trauma we had already experienced miraculously made me pull back. "The CATS...I shrieked who will take care of the CATS!?!"

Josh died of a drug overdose. It shouldn't have happened. I think that the kid that was staying with him used Josh as a human guinea pig to see just how many drugs any human could ingest at one sitting.

Even in that totally helpless state...Josh made sure that he will still help other kids. He filmed most of this sad situation. How he managed to get the film out of the camera and put it in his fresh film box I'll never know.

I'm sure the other guy would have taken the film out of our house and destroyed if Josh had left it in his camera. He was on probation for drug charges in CA. He had came back to FL to move back in with his parents so they could supervise him. He and Josh had gone to high school together, then lost contact and they had only ran into each other a 6 short months prior. It only took 6 months for Josh to let this kid influence him to completely throw his life away.

I never knew for sure that Josh was using. He was an actor after all. He knew well how to manipulate an audience. He always managed to stay away from the house if he thought I'd detect anything weird.

I DO know what the effects of drugs look like...and although I won't even take an aspirin unless I'm really really in need of one...I saw first hand what they do to a person, my daughter's life illustrated the destruction up close and personal.

Then too...you don't own a construction business for over 30 years without meeting young adults that use. DH always told them that if they chose drugs..they didn't chose him or his business.

He treated our employees like gold. He showered them with fishing trips, special dinners honoring them for their work. He made sure that when Christmas bonus checks were handed out..the employees got put on the distribution list before we did.

We took them to our annual conventions and made sure that they got the recognition they needed and deserved. After all construction in concrete work is NO picnic in the hot days of SW FL. We knew without these talented young men working on our crews we'd be nobody. We did the pool decks and driveways for the premiere builders in our area.

So Josh knew he could never pull one over on his super sleuth of a detective ma'dre momma. I always told him that his sister had almost killed me with her drug love affair and that if he EVER touched them I'd take his head off!

There was 13 years difference between their ages and Josh was still very susceptible to his sister's influence.

After 10 years of putting her into expensive drug rehab programs to have her check herself out days later and restarting her life over and over...I had HAD it with drugs.

These programs are not refundable. They figure if the client doesn't care, they don't either. Actually I think all of our drug programs fall short in Florida.

I HAD had it with this beautiful young woman that had the world by the tail but who would lie, cheat, steal, and rip your heart out over and over just to step over your dead body when she was ready for her next drug party.

You see she really didn't want to quit...and you can't help those who won't help themselves. She learned how to manipulate us with the uncomfortable down time she had to endure with no drugs until her next opportunity rolled around for her.

They rolled around off and on for a good ten years. Even a mother reaches her limit after that long!

I had to cut off all contact to save my own sanity, and the life of my son. I will still always suspect that she was the one that turned Josh onto pot in his senior year of high school.

But he'd never rat out his older half sister and I never could prove it for sure.

If she did I have forgiven her because I can't keep eating myself up over the blame game. I have since reconciled with her and am praying that that horrible period of her life is over for good.

I always told Josh that drugs were the DEVIL emoticon and they'd steal your soul! They tricked you into thinking they were a good party, but the clean up after that party was not worth it.

I pleaded with him not to even do pot because it put you in touch with more hardened druggies that infiltrated the younger groups looking for a sucker. I told him that when you were 'high' you didn't reason things out well and you were vulnerable to other's influences.

I harassed him about late hours and told him that NOTHING good ever happened out on the streets after midnight. He had a 10 p.m. curfew on school nights and a midnight curfew on weekends when he was 18.

But once he turned 21 that was just not a fight I was going to win. I couldn't keep my eyes open on most nights to listen for the security alarm when he came in the door. But when I did...I threw on ALL the lights and scrutinized his eyes and hugged him soundly and told him I was SO relieved and happy he was home.

Josh knew this could happen on any random night and hopefully it helped him stay on the straight and narrow. Until he hooked back up with this Damian kid.

Do you know the meaning of the word Damian...it means son of the devil. And he surely was.

This is what happens with these kinds. They are the dark light that is attracted to the bright light...then they just want to snuff out the flame! emoticon

Josh made sure I never met him until the day we left for the cruise. He knew I'd sniff out his evilness in a NY minute. He gave every excuse in the book why he couldn't introduce him to his father and I.

He was always working, or he spent all of his spare time with his mom. Josh tried to conjole me with the fact that he was really super close with his mom, just like Josh and I were.

Be careful about your kids telling you what you WANT to hear. Be careful about ignoring feelings that your inner angels are trying to warn you with that just don't FEEL right. If you have those feelings of doom...they are there for a reason. You CAN change ANY fate in front of you with your own free will. But we really need to listen to that small still voice...LISTEN please....do LISTEN.

I wish I would have heeded my own inner warnings. I wish I would never have backed down from my feelings that we shouldn't have taken the trip even with despite the pleadings of the other friends who had booked the cruise so many months earlier. You CAN'T cancel this trip..we are only going because of YOU! We've paid for this you HAVE to go. This in spite of the fact I told them I had heebie~jeebie feelings about Josh.

You see...we are ALL vulnerable to peer pressure...even at our age and believe me we are no spring chick~a~dees....we were worried about what our friends would think if we canceled that cruise.

If that happens at OUR age...imagine how much harder it is for our kids and young adults to resist. It's nearly impossible so they have to look to you to shield them from unwise choices.

It's good information that you know the portion of their brain that weighs actions against consequences doesn't even fully form until the LATE 20's. Yet we Americans kick our kids out of the nest at age 18? This is ludicrous...then we wonder why they need to come back home to live.

I wish I would have realized all of these important life lessons then...rather than now. emoticon

But I CAN use that hard won knowledge and horrendous lessons to share with you to protect your loved ones. If your child keeps someone away from you...there IS a reason. Don't tolerate it! If you have to move mountains to keep them away from rotten people DO IT! They need you to be their rock, their protector, their role model.

Josh with his sweet Andrea. I often wonder if she wasn't so far away from him if it would have made a difference in his life for the better. She lived in Vermont and Josh and she had an off and on again romance.

Josh had many many girls in his young 22 years, he died about two weeks shy of May 31st his birthday.

He was pretty fickle. But he was also completely 'true blue' whilst in a relationship. He told me that he absolutely would not tolerate a girl who was a player...who knew that young women could be termed that? Josh sensed that Andrea was not always totally faithful to him and that caused him deep and serious angst.

I know that he was also extremely frustrated that he wasn't yet in Film School. His dad had told him (and I fully agreed) that he had to show us he was mature enough to hold down a full time job before he shelled out over $80,000 for Full Sail in Orlando. This was a very intensive film school and we were afraid that Josh would just party hearty and not apply himself. He was only about 4 months away from making this full time job commitment completion. So close and yet so far.

Maybe we didn't do the right thing in holding him back. We'll never know will we?

Josh in his 'full out' Wolfman phase. He even duct taped steak knives to his fingers for the wolf man claws. It freaked me out a little...but that was Josh no last detail in a good costume ignored.

Josh in his "I'm SO STELLAR...rock star pose" he was clowning around here with Andrea his true love.

Yes...Josh was a smoocher~ he was never afraid to show his love. That was SUCH an extraordinary gift of his!

He loved his friends...this was his graduation in 2002. His whole life in front of him. He was full of hope, beauty, and grace.

Yes Josh...you are TA BOMB! You graced our lives with joy and happiness and love and respect. I will never ever forget the awesome lessons you taught your dad and I about acceptance, and talent and showing who you REALLY were...ALL the time...whether people liked you or did not...being REAL is worth it.

Now on this VERY sad day for your momma and your dad and all of your friends...go pinch an angel and tell her a joke. Rain down your love and let us use your beautiful example in this world for the better of all.

On Josh's memorial card:


written for him by one of his good friends mother

"A beautiful mind, a beautiful person, surrounded by an insensitive world. Gone too soon, missed by many, loved by all who knew him. A bright light extinguished. May his restless soul now find peace.

And added at the end of the card by his momma:

Love Josh by loving yourself. His future was white hot, finish if for him!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon emoticon emoticon Beautiful tribute to your son! Thanks for sharing!
    Josh please watch out for another angel - my child- her name is Angelina! Both of you will get along fine!
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    1729 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/27/2013 1:28:22 PM
  • MZLADY77
    Sorry for the loss! emoticon emoticon
    1732 days ago
    Bobbi--Indeed a lovely tribute and you are so right ......... Very handsome young lad! ............. Bless you! ........... emoticon
    1732 days ago
    My dearest friend:

    I don't know what it is like to lose an adult child, one someone has raised from a baby and watched grow and change and have goals and creativity, and all taken away in a flash of a second. Words are inadequate but since it is what I have, I will say I love you and I am so sorry for your profound loss. emoticon

    Like you, I also believe in the after life and seeing my loved ones again and it brings some consolation for the hell that life brings sometimes. Like I told you before - people go through hell in life all the time - but not everyone gains a heart of gold and giving humanity, like you and your husband, have.

    I feel privileged to have you as a friend and I hope that when I go to Pinellas county in July/August, we can meet on my way back to Broward county. You are a truly special person in my life and feel privileged to have your friendship.

    Love, Chelsea emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1734 days ago
    Bobbi, you know that I can relate...totally....it was 6 years for us in April. Josh knows you love and cherish him, and he loves and cherishes you and your hubs as well.
    1737 days ago
    As a mother, I've had those feelings that something is not quite right with my children. Like you, I didn't act on them. A time or two I've wished I had listened to that inner voice. Your tribute to your son and example of enduring love remind me to listen when that voice calls. May you find the peace that surpasses all understanding even as you keep Josh alive in your heart.

    1738 days ago
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    1738 days ago
  • FISHER011
    An amazing heartfelt blog- your sharing has touched me deeply. I am sorry for your loss of Joshua.You have helped many people by sharing Josh's story-thank you!
    Bless you!
    1739 days ago
  • DS9KIE
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    1739 days ago
    Wow Bobbi, what a story. A sad, sad story. I didn't know all these details and I was totally in tears throughout the whole blog. You are a wonderful Mama to share your joy and pain with us and I am awed by your courage! hope it helps your heart to tell it and to remember.

    I have to say I yelled "yay" out loud when I got to the cats who saved you, you know how nuts I am about the power of kitty luv....

    I'm also thankful that the tragic circumstances of the lives of your children didn't rob you of your joie de vie, which is so apparent in every sentence you write. You are quite a force!

    May you grow stronger every day and never lose your spirit girl! Big hugs, Kim (and all 5 of her special kitties!) emoticon
    1739 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    What a wonderful tribute to your son. Prayers for healing for you and your family. emoticon
    1739 days ago
    Love and hugs and friendship to you, Bobbi, on this sad day.
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    1739 days ago
    I love you, that's all that I can say! emoticon
    1739 days ago
    So sorry. I read every word and can't quite believe it all. Most of all I can't believe your friends on the ship weren't more help. I am so thankful for your cats. Take care of yourself today -- you are loved and cared for, here by many. emoticon
    1739 days ago
  • MYTURN11

    I never have the right words for you, to tell you how truly sorry I am that your beautiful son was taken away from you way too soon. You had such a wonderful relationship with Josh and he did indeed have a bright future that lay before him. My heart aches for you. What a beautiful tribute you have written to Josh.

    I do think your story could help millions of our youth today.

    Blessings and hugs to you,

    1739 days ago
    What a lovely tribute to your awesome son Josh! Love the pics and your background of him at the beach. I think by continuing to post and pay tribute to your son is an honor to him and the love that will never go away. We both belong to a club that we never wanted to join. I will keep doing the same thing for my Justin and keep going forth the best way i can. Our boys will keep encouraging us to shine on for sure. emoticon emoticon
    1739 days ago
    I am so very very sorry for your loss. Although I don't know what it is like to be a mother who loses a child to suicide have had several close friends commit suicide. There have been four of my guys friends who have died this way. One of them was one of my dearest friends in high school. Much like Josh, he was a cheeful loving soul. But probably about his junior year of high school and my senior year he became friends with some kids who were into drugs. I tried my best to advise him to stay away from those guys. But I was considered the "goodie two shoes" for not participating. We slowly drifted apart once I graduated and headed to college. We ran into each other on campus when he started at the college a year later. I had never known anyone on drugs. I didn't know the warning signs. He was dispondent and there was an emptiness in his eyes. I was so excited to see him and he gave me a very superficial, "Hey". We went on our seperate ways. Then that summer one of our mutual friends called me to tell me that Andrew killed himself. I stood in the living room screaming and crying. My mother and brother ran in from the other room. I couldn't take it in. I was heartbroken. You play the what if game over and over. What if I had made more of an effort to keep in touch. What if I had MADE him quit hanging out with those druggies in high school. WHY didn't I see that he was on drugs and at witt's end that day on the college campus. For a long time I couldn't think about him without cryiing. I would cry for the life he will never be able to live. I will never see him graduate college. I will never see him get engaged and get married. I will never know his children. It has taken a long time for me to allow the Lord to heal my heart. Now when I think of him I can remember the good times that we shared. The smiles, the dances, the goofy things we'd do. But it opened my eyes to reach out to people when I think that they are in need of friend, even if they are acting like they don't need one.
    I will keep you and your husband in prayer. Thank you for being so open with such a painful and personal story!
    1739 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/17/2013 10:16:35 AM
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    1739 days ago

    Any Mom can understand the depth of your pain and loss. I am so sorry.

    Your writings about Josh over the years have let us know what a beautiful soul he was. Thanks for sharing even more of his story here.

    I am grateful for your cats - for your concern for your cats. Your warmth and enthusiasm are an inspiration for us all. I hope you can feel the love as you go through these sad anniversaries.



    1739 days ago
    So very sorry for your loss. I am hoping the loving memories will sustain you. HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon
    1739 days ago
    This is the saddest blog--I pray that you will find the strength to carry on with life!-Whatta story!--You should send this in to a magazine--or book--- for other parents--Lynda
    1739 days ago
    Oh Bobby... emoticon
    1739 days ago
  • DARLY55
    My dear Bobbi,
    That was such a beautiful tribute to your son. I am truly touched. emoticon
    1739 days ago
    What a terrible tragedy - My thoughts are with you emoticon
    1740 days ago
    1740 days ago
    I am so sorry, and I feel your heartbreak. I have 3 Sons, one that is playing the blame game, and my 2 younger ones. If I had heard I lost any of them it would hurt just the same. I wish my oldest would know that life is short, and he only has his Mother in it for not too much longer. So sorry for this.
    1740 days ago
    What a terrible tragedy. I'm so sorry for your loss. There is nothing that anyone can say, no one, unless they know the pain of that loss, can ever believe how tragic it is.

    I will pray for you tomorrow.
    1740 days ago
    1740 days ago
    I'm so sorry for your awful loss. What a beautiful chick you to your amazing son. Thank you so much for sharing this poignant story with us.
    1740 days ago
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    1740 days ago
    Oh Bobbi. Reading about your son brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your words show how much you love him and make his personality jump off the screen. How beautiful and touching. Today is a hard day, but you are a strong woman and you can get through it.
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    1740 days ago
    I am so sorry for this horrible tragedy. Please take care!
    1740 days ago
    I know that only a parent that has gone though what you have gone through can ever really fully understand the depth of your pain, but my heart goes out to you completely. Over the years, you have made Josh come alive to me and to countless others through your written word. He was quite a character...loving, fun-loving, and clearly full of fun. Thanks for sharing so much about him. He lives on through you.
    1740 days ago
  • SUMMER2203
    i am so so sorry that you've had to deal with this :( you sound very strong, and i wish you a lot of healing!!
    1740 days ago
  • KATYDID412
    Wow -- I am so sorry for your loss. Sending good thoughts your way today.
    1740 days ago
    Wow. Beautiful and amazing.
    1740 days ago
    Your words convey so clearly your pain and disappointment for a life ended way too soon. I am so very sorry for your loss.
    1740 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1740 days ago
    emoticon for your loss,
    1740 days ago
  • DR1939
    We lost our grandson in an accident when he was 19. The driver was drunk, John was not but only because he hadn't been there long enough. That was 5 years ago. Just last weekend my daughter and SIL had a fundraising event and fully funded a scholarship in his honor. I ache for you. Kathi calls it "the group no one wants to join" and it truly is.
    1740 days ago
    1740 days ago
    Beautiful touching memorial.

    1740 days ago
    This is a beautiful tribute to your son. I am so sorry that you have had this loss.
    1740 days ago
    emoticon Stay Positive...sorry for your loss.
    1740 days ago
    1740 days ago
    I am so very sorry for your loss!!! My daughter is barely older than he would be now (she was born in Sept '82) and I can't even wrap my brain around what you and your DH has been through.

    Take care
    1740 days ago
    I am so sorry for your loss! Continue to stay strong and remember he is with you in spirit!
    1740 days ago
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