Saturday, May 29, 2010

Joshua Would Laugh

On a lighter note about our loss of Joshua to suicide, recently the rain here in Oregon has been nonstop. I don't mean twenty-four hours a day, but rather raining off and on everyday for two weeks.

At first, my husband worked outdoor chores in between rains. No problem. Then, things turned comical. As soon as he started the job, like cutting wood, here came the rain just a pouring down. Jim came inside with a perplexed look.

As soon as he settled in at his computer or to read a woodworking magazine, the rain stopped and even the sun peeked. Out he'd go, again. A few minutes later Jim came in a bit soaked. This happened at least a half a dozen times.

I would tease, "Honey, go outside, my garden needs more rain."

Joshua would have gotten a good laugh at his dad's comical situation. We imagined, and we know it's just for fun, Joshua asking the Lord to allow it to rain down on his dad.

Instead of becoming upset that rain just needs to do its business, we brought our son into the situation and smiled. If Josh were here, he would have laughed at his dad. No doubt.

I remember the last time Joshua laughed. One week before he took his life, I was in a tiff. About what, I don't remember. Jim and Joshua followed me toward the opened garage door. In the entryway, my foot landed on a propped up steel rake. Bang. The handle of the rake hit me on the nose. I cried out in pain. Joshua laughed. His jolly moment made me even angrier. How dare he laugh when I pert near broke my nose.

Later that night, I touched the sore spot and winched. Then, I smiled to think my little accident made Joshua laugh out loud. I couldn't remember the last time I heard his echoing laughter.

Today, I am considering the scripture from James 5:8, "Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."

Until next time . . . I pray, you pray, let's all pray.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Questions With No Answers?

I'm a walking question mark . . . ????

The biggest question that I have asked since the hour Joshua died by suicide, is this, "Did our son go to hell because of the way he died?"

Now I didn't immediately ask it, really. Both my husband and I said, "Joshua's going to hell."

Sounds real harsh doesn't it, but we both believed that suicide was a sure trip to an eternal life in hell.

I've told my close friends and even near strangers this fear that I have. I've gotten some very encouraging responses, bless them. Even though these sweet folks believe Josh would NOT enter into hell because of suicide, I have decided at this point that I may never know.

I honestly don't believe that even asking for forgiveness before he did the deed would pardon Joshua. The only consolation I have is that Joshua did attempt twice hours before the finality of his death, and that first attempt made him weep. He did not want to die. He reached out for our help.

With that in mind, I believe something took over our son that was not him. It was not him each time he attempted and when he succeeded. So what was it? Was it the medication for depression and anxiety? Was it a demon or demons? And since Joshua had accepted Christ and washed away his sins ten years before, is there something I am missing?

We, his family, saw him saved by the blood of Jesus. We were there when he gave his confession of faith, went down into the water, and came back up. Joshua's face shined after he put off the old man of sin and became renewed in the Spirit of Christ. All evidence of his new life as Christian.

The only Truth I know for certain, though, is my own walk with Jesus. I work hard toward the day to enter into Jesus rest in heaven. Will I know Joshua's fate? Maybe. Maybe not.

Questions With No Answers? God has many mysteries, but much hope for his children's future. It's all in how we respond each day and our obedience to him.

One of my favorite hymns is "I Want to be a Worker." Look at this chorus: "I will work, I will pray in the vineyard, in the vine-yard of the Lord; I will work I will pray, I will labor ev'ry day in the vineyard of the Lord."

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Joshua's Disconnection

Joshua, age eight, in the bottom right of the photo, off to the side.

Early on, I wrote about Joshua's birth and his illness. All the ear infections, attacks of bronchitis, colds and viruses stemmed from his autoimmune disease, ankylosing spondylitis. Something he wasn't diagnosed with until age fifteen. Top that off with being born hyper sensitive, and you've got a needy child.

Remember Joshua's box of journals I wrote about on the first post? A few days before Mother's Day, I decided to read some of his writings. What I found shocked and saddened me, but Joshua's childhood made sense now.

Within a note to his therapist, he wrote, "I have never felt connected to anyone." I gulped. No one?

Our family knew Josh depended on me more than the average child. To be honest, Joshua tested my patience and endurance. I thought it was because of his illnesses for he rarely felt well. Did his illnesses disconnect him from people, when Mama would only do? And what about the times when even I couldn't calm his wails?

He had bouts when I couldn't put him down. He'd miserably rub his ear or make a fist and swipe at his endless runny nose. To cheer us both, I'd place him on my hip and we'd vacuum. He relaxed to my swaying motion and the sound of the motor. The hum lulled him to sleep. I tell ya, I had the cleanest carpet on the block.

When I needed both hands, like mopping the floor, Joshua's big sister took him on wagon rides during nice weather. Sometimes, she came in with a shriveled look, and said, "Mom, he still isn't happy."

I'd look up to heaven, and think, Ah, dear Lord, what am I going to do?

Even when Joshua appeared well, he didn't like me leaving him with his daddy while I grocery shopped. I fretted the whole time, because I knew when I came home, Joshua would be in Daddy's arms at the dinning room window. I'd pull into the driveway and the first thing I'd see were the sobs on Joshua's unhappy face. By the time I got into the entry way, my husband would say, "There's Mama."

Joshua would giggle and dive for me. I'd kiss his sweet, wet face and we'd snuggle, while the other family members brought in and put away the groceries.

Are people born feeling disconnected? I know some need few people in their lives. Some folks need a whole crowd around them. Joshua needed only close loved ones, and when he felt well, he needed a crowd.

This is my mother's heart trying to discern the truth. A mother who misses even the difficult times with her son, and is grateful for the blessing of having him for twenty-five years.

After that first experience into Joshua's box of journals, I'll read his writings in small bites. Prayers on my lips for courage, I'll know when to take a break.

Until next time, dear readers,. . . know I am praying for your loved ones as you've requested.