Saturday, October 31, 2009

Autumn, So Like Our Time With Joshua

Autumn is in a rush to leave. Farmers Almanac says we'll have a rain storm the first week in November where we live in Oregon. I thought about that a lot over the last few weeks while I ran frantic to bring in my garden's harvest, pull down the dead plants, and then rototill the soil for a cover crop of fava beans.

So like our short time with Joshua. We raised him. He never left home, really, he tried, but still spent most of his nights and days at our house. Then suddenly, Joshua left us, slamming the door behind him.

Like Autumn is in a rush to move over for winter, Joshua was in a rush to be in the spirit world. Like now, how I am trying to enjoy fall between all the work, I tried to enjoy Joshua during those last years. I didn't know they were our last, and enjoying him was a task. The medications changed him.

My daughter, Jami, and I spoke of that a few days ago. How Joshua shut his feelings off from all of us. Most of the time, he became a hateful and mean person (sorry, but it's true and that was the medications, not our son).

No, the son and brother we remember was happy, easy to burst out in laughter, serious about a project or task he was doing. He always put out his best efforts, because he was a type A personality. At the onset of puberty, he would dress and have his hair dampened and combed before he came into the kitchen to see what I had planned for breakfast. That was the Josh God made.

I won't be so long to post next time. As I said, I was hurrying to get my produce in and I'm almost done with tearing down the garden. We've got a few no rain days coming up, so I'll be able to accomplish all that before we settle in for the winter.

Until next time . . . keep praying for those you know are hurting beyond despair. God bless you!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Joshua's First Year

Within two weeks after bringing Joshua home from the hospital, our central heating quit working. We moved into the living room during the nights and slept before the fireplace. Joshua caught a cold within days, and I was sure it was from the chilly air.

If only that had been true.

Joshua caught colds, ear infections, and flu's. He was constantly ill, and the side effects of the antibiotics made him sicker. At one point, we decided to use natural herbs. At least they didn't have the side effects that the antibiotics had and the herbs healed him faster. But, within a month, Joshua would be sick again.

Our doctor didn't know what to do for him, except write another prescription. So I made sure Joshua didn't eat any foods that were known allergy foods. I also didn't allow him to eat sugar. As a nursing mother, I didn't allow myself to eat foods that could cause Joshua problems.

In between illnesses, Joshua was a rather happy baby and toddler. He got real good at making people laugh. He studied us, when we did something he didn't understand. Then he'd mimic it. A few months before his first birthday, he spoke in sentences. At the grocery store, people would say hello to Joshua. He would spout off a sentence that they completely understood. The shocked looks from the strangers made us laugh. And we always said he was the youngest of three children, and that's why he could talk well.

We never talked baby talk to our children, and so all of them spoke in sentences around one year of age. Joshua was even more advanced, because his family enjoyed teaching him on a daily basis. Our daughter taught him his ABC's after his first birthday. Joshua learned easily and quickly.

Hopeful his first bad year was behind us, I watched our little guy grow bigger and stronger. But, too soon, the illnesses became more serious. He didn't just catch a cold, it would go into bronchitis. When he caught the flu, the fevers made him delirious. The only blessing in all this was there were fewer illnesses. Now Joshua would catch something once a month, instead of every two weeks. I believe the healthy eating made a small difference.

During this time, Joshua truly shined. When he was well, he laughed and sang, played and ran. Our family made the most of Joshua's well time. We took drives and went to the park. We were happy.

Until next time . . . know that our Lord does hear our prayers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Love Truth: A Bit of Wisdom From a Crumpled Note

Soon after Joshua's death we went through his room, sorting through his personal items. We found his handwriting on a crumpled note: Love Truth.

That note hit us like a wave, causing more tears. Why did he write it? Why was it crumpled, and yet saved among his most precious things in a small box? Was this note a clue he left for us?

When we chose Joshua's stone months later, we had engraved upon it LOVE TRUTH.

Joshua loved to debate. He enjoyed a good argument, searching out people's ideas as well as his own. Debating always lit up his eyes and caused an adrenaline surge. Since finding that note, I've determined to Love Truth. To embrace it, seeking God's scriptures. To keep watch and ask God's forgiveness when I lie. For lies and truth can not live in the same heart.

The saddest part of the Love Truth, is that Josh in his final years, lived a lie that snatched his life. The depression and anxiety medications that he took caused him to believe he no longer wanted or needed to live.

Yes, this is why our son is no longer here. The medications fooled his brain. At the beginning, Joshua believed the medications would help him finish college and start his career. He believed he would be able to function somewhat normally, despite his physical disability.

Satan lied to our son, as he lies to all every chance he gets. The photo above is of us and Joshua, three years after he began his medications.

If you have lost a loved one to suicide, here is my favorite scripture. I've dubbed it 'For Depression' and memorized it in those almost unbearable first three and a half years after Joshua's death.

"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if here be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8) King James Version

Even now, as I write this, I smile. This beautiful scripture saved my life when nothing else could. So, God saved me!

Here's another scripture that comforts the fearfulness that can take hold after a suicide. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15) KJV

Blessings to all.