Josh’ s Eulogy June 2009
Before Josh was born, my mom had a hard time carrying a baby to full-term. She had three miscarriages right before she became pregnant with Josh. We were very excited when she passed the point where it seemed like Josh would make it and that we would finally get to have a little baby in our home. While we were all anxiously waiting for Josh to arrive, Rachelle had a dream. She dreamed that my mom would have a blond-haired, blue-eyed, baby boy that would be a twin for me. Now if you know my family, you would understand why we all laughed this off. Everyone but me has dark hair and dark eyes with tan skin. But Rachelle was right and Josh was born with a head of thick blond hair and bright blue, twinkling eyes.
Everyone in our family felt like he was a special gift meant just us. Josh changed our family from being a prim and proper family with two little girls. He brought a new level of life, laughter, and energy to our family that had never been there before. For many years when Josh was little, he woke up at 5:30 every morning. And when Josh woke up, he didn’t just wake up, he woke up full of energy and ready to go. Most mornings he rode in the car to take me to seminary just because he was awake and ready to go do something. I am not a morning person, but every morning I would try and eat a bagel and cream cheese on my way to seminary. Most mornings Josh ate it for me and I affectionately called him my bagel boy. From what I understand, most days he still ate a bagel and cream cheese for lunch.
In perfect Josh-style, there is only morning that we all remember when Josh didn’t wake up at 5:30 am. Christmas morning. Rachelle and I were under strict orders that we couldn’t open presents until all the kids were all awake and could go downstairs together. This didn’t bother us too much because we were planning on waking up at 5:30 with Josh and using him as an excuse to get started early. Well five-thirty came, six-thirty, seven-thirty, and finally eight or nine-thirty before Josh woke up and was ready to open presents.
Josh spent most of his time making us laugh and our family has many, many wonderful memories of our time with him. These memories have been bringing us a great deal of comfort as we laugh together, remembering how he made us laugh. I am going to share a couple of those stories with you now. When Josh was really little, before he knew he could fight back and get out of it, Rachelle and I used to dress him up and curl his hair. We had a special name for him when we did this, a play on his middle name, Marion. We called him Mary Ann and treated him like our little doll. Our little doll didn’t last for too many years, but we sure enjoyed that for a while.
Josh also had a great memory, even when he was very young. We first noticed how great his memory was when we realized that he had memorized the license plates numbers of most of our close friends and family and could pick them out in a parking lot. If Josh drove in front of or behind you very often, he probably knew your license plate number too. Josh also liked to memorize animal facts and would often run up, interrupt your conversation, excitedly share a new fact with you, like how fast a cheetah runs, and then disappear again.
Josh was also very mischievous, and he often got a special twinkle in his eyes when he was plotting something especially funny. When he was very young, there were many times that he was found sitting or standing on the kitchen table, dumping out the salt and pepper shakers and laughing hysterically. That hysterical laughter is something that we are all going to miss.
When Josh was eight he was baptized into our church, not long after that, our family moved to Toulouse, France. Living in France gave Josh and our family many memories and opportunities. He had the opportunity to learn not only French, but also “British,” as we attended a British international school. On the first day of school, Josh’s teacher asked him to “take the rubbish to the skip.” Josh didn’t know what the rubbish was, or what the skip was, but he willingly took the trash can and wandered the hallways until another teacher directed him to the dumpster. Living in France also gave us the opportunity to travel throughout Europe, but it didn’t matter what museum, monument, or cathedral that we went to, Josh’s favorite part was always swimming at the hotel pool. On one vacation in Germany, we decided to venture away from our typical McDonald dinners, and attempt to eat at a local restaurant. Unable to find anything on the menu, the waiter told Josh and Alec that they had hot dogs…so they ordered. Well their “hot dogs” were actually giant spicy sausages that neither of the boys could eat, no matter how much ketchup they used. Josh’s best friends in France were the missionaries from our church. They were some of the few Americans in the area, and Josh loved the older company. He loved to play soccer with the missionaries; the European influence and the missionaries are what really instigated Josh’s passion for soccer. He would always drag me out to the yard to practice soccer with me; I think he just enjoyed playing with me because I was an easy win. Josh and Alec were on the chess team at the international school. Chess quickly became an obsession with him, (I stopped playing him when he was only nine or ten because he would just beat me,) he and Dad were always battling back and forth.
When Josh was about ten, we moved here to Carnation, this brought on a whole new round of experiences. Josh loved to read Calvin and Hobbes comics. You could walk by his room and hear him laughing by himself as he read them. After reading one comic, he convinced Emma and Alec to flush their feet down the toilet like Calvin and Hobbes. Josh and Alec loved to play air soft guns in the backyard. Josh’s friends Kyle and Camden would come over, and they would all put on their camouflage clothes and have a full out war in the backyard. My mom once came across small holes in Alec and Josh’s bedroom window screens…the perfect size for sticking an air soft gun through; they had been shooting things in the front yard from their beds. When Josh got a little older he thought he wanted to beef up a little; he’d eat protein bars, Emma would always call him “Buffy.” He tried to convince us all to call him “Buffy” because he was so buff. Josh was on the wrestling team, he loved to wrestle. Wrestling didn’t stay at school; it was constantly in our home. Anytime I came through the front door he would wrestle me down, it would take the whole family to pin him sometimes. He was also a runner; he loved to run. He was always looking for a running partner, because no one could keep up with him. He would always try to convince me to go with him by telling me I was fat and I needed to work out; it never convinced me. Even the dog wouldn’t go running with Josh, he knew from experience that it would be too far for him; if Josh got out the leash, the dog wouldn’t budge. I’m going to miss Josh a lot. I will miss his crazy laughter and the light behind his bright blue eyes, I will even miss his wrestling and his beating me up, but I know without a doubt in my mind that we will be with him again.
Josh comes from a large extended family with a great support system. He had so many aunts and uncles and cousins that he probably couldn’t name them all, but he knew they were there if he needed them. He was fortunate to grow up having all his grandparents and feeling their love and their leadership and their wisdom.
Josh was also influenced by so many in our community these last few years. For the most part, he enjoyed school and definitely enjoyed his teachers since he moved here in 5th grade. He was a good student at both the middle school and the high school. He was in 3 honors classes this year and enjoyed testing and questioning his teachers, who all patiently helped him open his mind to learning in all the various forms.
Josh loved to be moving and was athletic and loved his sports. His first love has always been soccer. All it took was one friend to join in and he had an impromptu soccer game going on. In middle school he played soccer, basketball, he wrestled, and ran track. These last two years at the high school he played soccer, ran cross country and track, and wrestled. He tended to be very competitive and liked to win. His brother Alec has long complained about Josh’s method of keeping score. The method would change every time so that it favored Josh. We appreciate his coaches and his teammates who helped channel his energy and competitiveness and were an inspiration to him. We know Josh loved his coaches and teammates and felt a special bond to them.
He learned to love running and ran pretty much every day. He liked to push himself and see how far he could go. Once he ran out on the Snoqualmie Valley trail to see how far he could go, but I don’t think he thought about the fact he had to run back too until he had gone too far. He ran 20 miles that day and was really sore for a while.
Through our church, Josh had relationships that became like extended family. Through participating in church activities and service projects and worshipping together, he was loved and taught by many who were like a second family to him. They helped shape his character and values. A church friend led him to participate in a camp in Duvall for children with special needs, which he loved, called the Bridge of Promise. He was anxious to participate again this summer.
Josh participated in Troop 533 of the Boy Scouts. He was doing his Eagle project this summer, making an improvement on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Josh went with the troop on many campouts plus 50 mile backpacking, 50 mile bike and 50 mile canoe trips. Again, the influence of his Scout leaders and the other scouts and their examples helped shape his values.
Josh had great friends from church, from school, from classes, from Scouts, and from sports. We appreciate those great associations and the love those friends are showering on our family now. We will feel connected to Josh through his friends and will continue to follow their lives. They influenced his life and now he is influencing their lives.
So many have commented to us on what a great kid Josh was and he was. But there was no doubt Josh was a kid.
Josh loved a good joke, especially if it was him playing a joke on someone else. He laughed long and hard at things, and could burst out giggling or laughing out of nowhere. He didn’t mind being silly and loved playing with children. We liked to watch Madagascar with him because he laughed so hard and giggled so much through it. He loved to play toe tag on the trampoline, as long as he was the winner. He loved to stick his head out of the car going places and feel the air on his hair and face. He loved Spiderman and all things Spiderman. He has his Spiderman boxers and shirt on today as well as his running shorts and shoes and I know he would like that.
Josh had a philosophy of what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine. He was always borrowing clothes and music from his friends, and anything good his siblings had.
Josh was always busy, always full of life and kept our house wild and crazy. He was a human tornado coming home, leaving his stuff everywhere, making messes, getting everyone going, insisting on someone playing some sport or game with him. He tended to be forgetful and lose his stuff and not remember when homework was due. Behind his sometimes quiet exterior, he liked to think deeply and talk about philosophy and argue different possibilities. He usually tried to pick a topic he knew might get you going a little and see if you could defend your position. There was truly never a dull moment with Josh.
Teenager life has its ups and downs, and I want you to know that Josh’s life was up these last few months(well except for the week he got grounded for going running to Carnation at midnight when we said no). A week ago Sunday, we went to church together as a family and Josh blessed the sacrament. Last Monday, we had a family soccer game in the evening. Josh and Alec played toe tag and soccer every night. Thursday afternoon he picked Emma up from her friend’s house in Carnation and on the way home shared with her a special spot by the river that he liked to run to and sit and think and draw pictures. Thursday night he played chess with his Dad, said, “Good night I love you guys”, as he went to bed. Friday morning he was off to school, with a “Love ya mom, see ya after school”. We are grateful for that for those feelings and memories.
The scripture on the front of the program is Josh’s favorite scripture. It’s Helaman 5:12 from the Book of Mormon. Maybe Josh liked the talk of fiery darts, but truly we know Christ is the rock we are centered on.
Our family feels all of your love for Josh and for us. I know our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are showing us their love for us through the outpouring of love and support we have received from friends, family and community. Truly God is love and love is being multiplied and exchanged and multiplied again, given and received, here today. Josh is loved by His Heavenly Father and is in his care now. As a mom I’ts hard to let go of watching out for your child, but I know he is happy and being watched out for by someone else now. We received Josh as a gift from Heaven 16 years ago and treasure every minute of the time we had together. While we miss him, we know he is still ours and we will hold him again and see him again and be together again.