Josh is an Angel / Dana Hardy (Friend of Julie's ) It is so wonderful to periodically review this site and see the work that continues through it. Julie, I know how devoted you are to this and what a blessing you are to others. But I also firmly believe that Joshua is guiding you, all of us that will listen from the other side. So that we will listen and be more respectful to our veterans that give so unconditionally. I agree the Government can do more. But I also see where each of us as individuals can be more giving and respectful. Tipping of our heads to the veteran when we see him/her, when we vote no matter for what office ... vote for the individual that is going to help the veteran. All political figures have individual agendas. Let us elect those with veteran agendas! Again dear friend, thank you for all you do and most of continuing to listen to the loving guidance from Joshua as an Angel from the other side now. As he helps all veterans through you and others. Love, Dana
Hearts of Gold / Terri Jones (Military Mom ) Randy & Ellen, I know the pain and heartache, I know the tears that fall when no one is around. Joshua and Jason were two young beautiful boys that were loved by many. I know they stand beside each other in heaven as they pull guard duty over us now. Our boys had hearts of gold, and that is their medal of honor in heaven. I will be going to Washington soon to tell our story. PTSD must be dealt with now!
Ellen please email me, we can cry, share, and work our way thru this. Our boys have brought us together. Two Angels in Heaven Once Called Us Mom Terri Jones www.jason-cooper.memory-of.com
Josh is an An american hero / David Harriss I was diagnosed with service connected ptsd ....so i know the pain josh felt first hand..... and I am truly sorry for the loss of an american hero...
I Know How This Feels / Mary Withers (online friend of Julie ) My son, William Ellery Weiss, a USMC tanker in Gulf War I, came home, at age 20, with a thousand-yard-stare and a case of PTSD that he did not trust the VA to treat. Five years after the war, on March 14, 1996, he decided he was tired of this life, and stepped off the planet, leaving family, friends, and a large number of beautiful young women (including a friendly ex-wife/high school sweetheart and a loving fiancee, both as beautiful as any movie star) to mourn him.
He had everything going for him -- everything -- and his PTSD made it impossible for him to enjoy any of it, to enjoy one minute of his beautiful physically healthy intelligent hard-working promising deeply-loved young life.
He was my beautiful, brilliant, wisecracking, funny, considerate firstborn boy, the apple of my eye, the person on this planet most like my own self -- only so much more kind and caring and wise.
He, like your Josh, was the kind of young man this world needs *more* of, not fewer of.
I miss him every minute of every day.
I know how you feel, Randy and Ellen. I know how tough the grief journey is, how you'll feel sometimes that you "ought to be getting over it soon", but then you discover entire new continents of grief, right there in your own heart.
You've read about the five stages of grief, and maybe thought you'd travel a nice, neat progression through those five stages. Nope. To my mind, there are not five stages of grief, there are more like 5,000. And the grief journey is not a straight line, it is a spiral, and you will visit each of the 5,000 stages again and again, sometimes 20 different "stages" in one day.
The first 1000 days is the hardest. I found that I felt more depressed, despairing, and discombobulated at the 9-month to 16-month mark than at any other time. It's as if, until then, I thought that maybe if I was a Good Enough Griever, if I stayed in control, God would give my boy back to me, or I'd wake up and discover that this had all just been some silly nightmare. At 9 months, I realized, for sure, that would never happen. He wasn't "away", he was gone.
I would have appreciated that warning myself, and so I pass it on to you, Randy and Ellen, since now we're Family. The funeral and the few weeks and months after that is actually the "easy" part (I sneer at the use of the word "easy", but ... you know what I mean); after that, it's a long hard slog.
But once I got through that unspeakable 1000 days, I found many of the memories began to take on a mistier, kinder, bittersweet feeling. They did not all feel so much like stab wounds. I felt as if I was learning how to turn that crater in the middle of my soul into a charming (if a bit strange) atrium.
I found it helped me, when the deep grief crazies hit, to just go ahead and schedule some time to mourn, look at pictures, go through his things, etc., and go ahead and have a good bawl. (Yes, this even works for men, for Dads, if you can get some privacy!) Often, after giving grief its due in private, it's easier to Cowboy Up and go on with your normal life in public.
Your son, Josh, is worth missing, he is worth shedding some tears over. No one in their right mind, no one with an ounce of compassion, would fault you for letting this bother you so much, affect you so much.
I'm not sure I'm being encouraging here, but I feel it's more important to be truthful. It *does* get easier -- much -- but I can tell you after ten years, it takes awhile, and it doesn't ever get really easy. You guys, Josh's family, are doing all the right things, transmuting your grief and loss into a desire to help other young servicemen and servicewomen get the psychological help they need so much. I found, in my own life, that taking time to help and encourage other young people is probably the only truly effective medicine to ease the pain of this kind of grief. Keep this up!
But be kind to yourselves, too. Be sure you balance this busyness on the behalf of other kids with "alone time" or ... "Josh time", to reflect and remember and honor your own unique and precious young man, Josh.
You guys are quite wonderful, I can tell. Josh is so lucky to have had such fine parents, such a caring Dad, such a committed auntie. If love alone could have kept him here, it would have.
This thing that happens to our boys and girls who have served in combat, it's out of our hands.
Now -- I am not a Communist, I am not a pacifist (I'm from an old USMC family; hills on Iwo Jima are named after us), and I am not really a Leftie or Liberal or Democrat, either. I love America.
And that's why I yearn for the day when our government is not controlled by greedy and corrupt special corporate interests that pick unnecessary fights so they can squander our children's lives and minds like nickels while they steal from the US taxpayers and the coffers of the enemy, just to fill their corporate friends' pockets.
Anyone who reads this and is mad at me for apparently criticizing the government, go ahead. Be mad at me. Send me some nice hate mail. I'm used to it! But please -- start paying attention and being a little suspicious, too. A person can talk about Jesus and Strong Families and Democracy and Freedom, and can support some good things, but actually be a snake in the grass, a wolf in sheep's clothing. Be aware.
Be not deceived.
I want to live under a government and a system that is worthy of the devotion, service, lives, and sanity of my brave boy and *your* brave boy and all the other brave boys and girls who are willing to risk their lives for the rest of us.
I like to think that there is a Heaven especially for soldiers, and that your Josh and my Bill are good friends there already, helping each other and all the new war-ruined arrivals that show up there every day.
I send you my thoughts, prayers, and hopes, and whatever else I can to uphold Josh's family in this incredibly difficult and painful time.
My prayers are with all of the soldiers there and home stuggling with this! / Melanie Medina (None) First of all I am very proud of all that are serving and have served. You are in my prayers I read the stories I hear all about it from friends who have served. I know this is out there and those who are in need of help I urge to go get help and don't ever be ashamed. This is not something to take lightly, and go get help. You are still heros in our eyes and how can we enjoy time wtih you if you have this in the back of your mind....Joshua I send my condolence to your parents with much love....Melanie Medina
To Josh's Beloved Family / Tia Sanders I find it difficult to express how sorry I am that you have lost the physical presence of your dear Joshua...I have seen pictures of Josh and I have read his story, and it breaks my heart, especially since I know that his death could have been prevented.
Although I have never lost a child, I came close to loosing my daughter about 13 years ago...My son-in-law (an ex Gulf war veteran) was having trouble controlling his anger after getting out of the service... I was so concerned for my daughter's safety, that I urged her to leave him (they had been married for less than a year at the time) My daughter refused to leave her husband, and a few months later, after an argument, my SIL threatened to kill my daughter and then kill himself. --My daughter was held at gun point for about a half an hour, while she tried to talk him out of it, pleading for her life...My SIL finally put the gun down, thank God, and two lives were spared.
Even after such a frightening experience, my daughter knew that her young husband was very troubled, mainly due to his experiences in the gulf war...My daughter told my SIL that she would not divorce him provided he got rid of his gun and went into therapy (anger management) which he did...They have been married for 14 years now and he is a great husband and father...What I realize now was that he was suffering from PTSD, and this took the form of explosive anger, which my SIL found difficult to control.
May the warm memories of your dear Josh soothe you at this difficult time, and may his spirit help comfort you and give you strength...I'm sure that Josh is looking down on his beloved family and that he will always be there with you all, --whenever you think of him, he'll be there.
*LOVE*PRAYERS*& *ANGEL*BLESSINGS* Tia Sanders
never will you be for gotten / Kathy Laframboise Aunt Of Morgan Piatt (another hurting family at easter ) joshua ^I^ you are truely missed and loved and with easter approaching it is so very hard for your sweet family---paint mom and family a picture of your love and send it to them---dance with all the angles----xoxox morgan piatt---aunt kathy
Rest in peace / Dena Lambert (Online Friend of Aunt Julie ) To Joshua ... First, thank you for defending our country. I sincerely hope that you rest in peace, with the knowlege that your tragic passing has brought about an awareness that may help save other lives.
To Joshua's family ... I am so sorry for your loss. Joshua and your entire family are in my thoughts and prayers. I sincerely hope that the manner in which you've chosen to remember Josh will bring about change in the way our soldiers are treated when they leave the military. Keep talking about it until you are heard.
Look at the miracles your site has created. My only wish is that it would have been here when you needed it. I know you are with us always, that we only need to speak and you hear, listen and you whisper, close our eyes to feel your touch....but we still miss you kiddo...the work must go on! I have the torch from this end, you give us all the help you can from that one.
Love, Aunt Julie
Holding you and your family close in my thoughts and prayers.... / Felicia (friend of Julie's )
I'm so, very, deeply sorry for your physical loss of Joshua. :(
I can't even begin to imagine the ache in the core of your soul, left behind by the piece that Joshua took with him when he crossed over into complete spirit and began his new journey on the "other side". His soul is safe, and all of the Love he has for you, and you have for him...he took with him...it's the only thing our spirits take with us when we leave our physical bodies besides our memories and both he will continue to share with you...Love and Life ARE Eternal and not even physical death can separate us from the ones we Love....especially the bond between a parent and their child...unconditional Love in it's finest form! You WILL see him again when all of your soul lessons and experiences have been experienced and it's time for you to go back home to be with him and Joshua will be the first in line with that charming smile and his arms wide open to welcome you home where all will be understood and your questions you were left with in the physical...will no longer be aching your spirit and you will have the rest of eternity to be with your son...until then...please know he IS around you and Loves each of you so much!
The day your handsome baby boy was born into this world and into your lives, I'm sure was one of the most singled out, surreal, spiritually connecting, beautiful experiences/moments of your lives...replay your memories often...Joshua will be "feeling" the pure Love with you and sharing your beautiful memories....remember...you were hand picked to be his parents, his family...by him and our creator because his special, unique soul "needed" only what YOU and his family could give him during his physical journey here...to become the compassionate, Loving, caring man that he IS and will ALWAYS be....Love and Life ARE Eternal...
The dash in between November 18th, 1983 - December 22nd 2005 is who Joshua is all about...not the day he was born or the day he crossed over into complete spirit...remember the years of the dash....those are the memories that will help get you through the days ahead and remind you of the GREAT Love that you share....the dash has all of the funny stories, the hugs, the kisses, the laughter shared, etc....the ingredients that shaped and molded a fine young man whose character and compassion not only touched so many lives while he was physically here....but continues to touch others lives from the "other side"...mine included!
Joshua is an honor to each of us personally and to our country....a true American Hero...and from the depths of my soul I Thank YOU Joshua...for mine and this country's freedom and for guiding your aunt Julie into my life...she's a remarkable woman who is determined
What wonderful parents you are and what a wonderful family you have...hold each other, grieve together...and know that Joshua is right there with each of you...Love and Life ARE Eternal....
When my best friend committed suicide...I found this to bring me so much comfort and I hope it brings you some comfort to your very fragile, grieving spirit....
It's from the "Footprints in the sand" writings....
"and he asked..."God...why did you abandon me? I looked down and saw only one set of footprints in the sand! You said you would never leave me and yet in my darkest hour you abandoned me....God's reply..."in your darkest hour I didn't abandon you...it was my footsteps you saw...I was carrying you".....
In Joshua's darkest hours...he wasn't alone...our creator carried him back home...he is safe...and you will see each other again...Love and Life ARE Eternal.....
~Continuing to hold you and your family closely in my thoughts and prayers~ ~Felicia~ chantpleur--when someone cries and sings at the same time. To hold joy and pain at the same time is an exquisite art. Don't deny one state for the sake of the other. Experience both, and you have a shot at ecstasy.
For Randy and Ellen / Giulia De Vivo (Julie's online friend )
Dear Randy and Ellen,
My name is Giulia and I am writing from Italy. I met Julie a few months ago through an Internet message board devoted to spirituality, she told me about Josh and, ever since then, I have been hoping to get an opportunity to personally express my deepest sympathy to you for the physical loss of your precious son.
I cannot imagine a more heartbreaking pain than losing one’s child to death and honestly do not know if I'd ever be able to handle it the way you are doing.
This website is lovely and it gives so much hope to those who may have experienced a tragedy such as yours; also, it is helping so many who may have been silently suffering from PTSD without even knowing what it is and not knowing that it can be treated.
I have also suffered from PTSD following a frightening earthquake in Southern Italy in 1980 (I was 19), and it took me a few years before I was able to explain that something was wrong with me and obtain treatment. Few people know the risks I run in the meantime.
As Easter approaches, there is something special I would like to say. Today is Good Friday, the day on which Jesus allowed for His physical life to be taken in order to provide evidence that physical death can be won, and also allow for His teachings about Love and Peace to spread throughout the world. No bells will be ringing today. This is a time of silence.
I feel that, in a metaphorical way, this is Josh’s Good Friday too, a time of sadness for us all because, for reasons which we may never be completely able to understand during our earthly life, he has been taken away from our physical eyes, so that he could join back with God in Heaven. On the other hand I know for sure that Josh has never left, he is as alive as ever, and is serving a Higher Purpose now, in teamwork with his family, to make people aware of what real undying values are and what our real purpose for being here is.
Without you working with Josh on This Side, Josh’s work could not be accomplished.
So I feel this is also, in a way, Josh’s Day, the Day on which, despite your awful suffering, he was at last healed of his pain, and is now free to continue his brave life mission on a really large scale.
May this Easter bring to you peace and awareness that your Josh is alive and always with you, working side by side with you to make the world aware of what really counts, and that LOVE and PEACE are the real and only forces that make the world go round.
Prayers are with you / Chip (Fellow Warrior ) Randy and Ellen,
On Easter Sunday the Savior rose from the dead, having been crucified so that all mankind will know the peace of being with our Lord. Joshua is with him today, May you find the peace of acceptance in what he was here on this earth to accomplish.
Thank you / Cougar Rakira Thank you for your strength, your caring and your determination. You guys are doing some good, hard work as a result of this tragedy. I'm proud of you all (Julie too!!) You've really made a difference in a lot of lives. Thanks to Josh and his brothers-in-arms who sacrifice so much.
So very sorry / Dawn C. There aren't words that will ever make it better. Only time, and time sure does crawl when you are grieving. Just know that there are so many people who are grateful for the jobs that these men and women are living & dying for, no matter how they feel about the war itself. You are not alone in your grief, though I am sure it feels it.
Just keep thinking about the the next 15 minutes and getting through it.
Best wishes, Dawn, NH
Sorry for your loss!! / Debi Church (friend to Julie ) I am so sorry for your loss, please know that Josh and your family is in my prayers every day. I cant imagine your sorrow, I can only pray for you and so I will.
Josh, you've brought awareness / Leahsandra As we approach the first major holiday since Josh's passing, my thoughts turn once again to him, to his life, to his family...
Josh, your story, your words, have touched me deeply, have saddened my heart, have re-opened my eyes to the situations our beloved vets face... You've made me remember all I learned (and had tried to forget) from Viet Nam, and have helped strengthen my resolve to reach out to our newest generation of Armed Forces men and women, who so need our awareness, our commitment to them, and to their healing.
Josh, your story is ricocheting around the internet, it's touching people around the world. I've helped to pass it along in my own small way and will continue to do so. The people I've passed it on have passed it on to many. You are remembered, every day. Every day, your story impacts more people.
To Josh's family, I know that you still reel from the loss. For what it's worth, you are all in my daily prayers. Be proud of your son, (your brother, your nephew...). Be proud of yourselves for opening your private pain to help our vets, and for their families to recognize the truth of what they endure. To recognize the aid that they need now.
Josh, you will never be forgotten. You will continue to touch people, to help healing happen. Thank you for the awareness you have brought.
Much love, Leahsandra
The Loss of a Son - Easter Weekend Anniversary / Dana Hardy (Friend to Aunt )
Randy, Ellen, and All Family,
I am not a religious person, but I believe in God, and I believe Jesus to be a child of God. This weekend is a celebration of the passing of Jesus. God's child, Jesus, died leaving many mourning him; just as God's child, Joshua, died leaving many mourning him and among those are all of you.
I cannot know how it is to have a child pass before I did and I hope I never have to have that experience. But what has come out of Joshua passing over-- the mission of informing others of the pain he was in -- because as we all know, he is not alone in that experience-- is a wonderful legacy and to be equal to that of the legacy that Jesus' passing created.
Several years ago, I had the blessing of helping a Grandfather connect from this side with a grandaughter that had passed over at a very young age. She had several messages for him which I was able to share and witness. One was that she was fine and she was happy. I believe Joshua is as well. Another message was that it was not time for her Grandfather to join her as he still had work that needed to be done for his purpose and God's purpose. That was hard for the Grandfather and I understand because of the deep love. I suspect your love is that deep towards Joshua. But keep up the good work...keep up following this road of sharing information about PTSD, and other information pieces about our military. You are all such shinning examples of Standing Tall for all the military friends, all the community friends, and ALL those that have not had one to stand tall for them. Thank you for all you do.
Please know that each night I continue to send out prayers, and healing energy to you all. And thank you for all you do!
Love and Peace, Dana
A prayer for you / Tim McCann Although he is in a better place than you and I, it has to be the hardest thing a parent can go through. Losing a child to this war in this way, to this war. I am proud he served his country but wish his country had better served him. I have nothing to offer other than my daily prayers and I hope you do not mind my posting this today
My prayer for you
I pray that each day your healing power touches this family and that the memory of this young man would always be with us, but that each day the pain would be less. I would ask You to focus them on the good times shared with Josh. I ask that the peace only You can bring covers them every day, that You would hold them each in the palm of your hand and make them safe. That You assure them that You are taking care of their loved one and he is now safe and happy with You for eternity. Please let all know that one day we will all be together and that in time those left behind will accept that there is no right or wrong to this tragedy. That it is not something we can question or at times even fathom with our human frailty but that through faith we accept what we have to and we live on as a living memorial to Josh. It is through us that he is remembered. And all that we are and hope to be is a testament to You Lord. I pray this over them all daily in Jesus' name. Amen.
Thank you, I'm sorry for your loss / M. Jacques I just want to say thankyou for all that you are doing for the veterans, and my condolences for the loss it is such a tragedy. I have been to the VA for PTSD and it's nice to know somebody is trying to help.