Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sixteen, Married and Pregnant

In order to honor Joshua, we tell it like is. We tell it like it was. It’s not always popular, but hey Suicide is not fun. I’ve shared about the night Joshua died, the way he died, the friends he had when he died. I’ve been as honest as I can about his life and yet the story that I have not told is how I first heard that he existed and the very first time I heard that I was having a baby.



My high school was in Dublin N.H. It was a Christian boarding school and I was the proverbial bad girl who needed some major GOD and straightening up. It was located on a manor in a remote are of NH on rolling hills. I hated it. There were more things you could not do than things you could. I was rebellious and it was constraining with very real Baptist principals. Yes they even had a rule that you had to sit or stand a foot away from a boy….No joke.


From time to time I would come home to Gloucester to visit my family. I was the oldest of four sisters and brothers that I had helped raise and I enjoyed coming home. I also had a boyfriend back home and that is all I will say about that. One day on a weekend visit in Gloucester I was at home with my mom complaining about stomach cramps and feeling sick. I did not think anything of it, as a 16 year old girl. Mom then suggested that I had to get back to school and I should leave a urine sample home with her. I thought nothing of it.


A few days later I sat in Bible class with Mr. Diff and suddenly felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the headmaster. Not a man I ever wanted to tussle with. I turned in shock as he told me to get my belongings and follow him. I walked behind him, trying to make as little noise as possible as he led me through the kitchen, past the dining hall and up the stairs to his office. In his office sat a large desk, several leather chairs and my mother and father. With somber looking faces, it took but a few seconds for my mom to blurt out “you’re pregnant”. Funny I must have been so na├»ve I never once gave that any thought until that moment. The possibility, the idea never once crossed my mind.


I got married to Joshua’s father at the age of 16 and Joshua came into this world just a few short months later.


Happy Birthday My Sweet Boy!

Mommy Loves You

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fear of Falling

My bedroom sits in the tree-tops overlooking the ocean and Rockport’s majestic coastline. Not a single day goes by that you would not find me, coffee in hand, taking in the view either from my desk picture window or my deck. Some days  the squirrels arrive for my viewing pleasure and chase each other, jumping and frolicking from tree to tree. They really do seem to fly. Other days it is the view of the breakwater and little sailboats that catch my attention. My mind often wonders what it would be like to stand out on the unfinished breakwater in the middle of the ocean and be sprayed by the white foam of the waves as they crash on the stones.  I then remember my unreasonable fear of sharks from the movie Jaws when I was five and my mind rushes back to the safety of my desk. Just yesterday it was a simple trio of finches on a tree branch, one a red head and the two others a simple brown. I sat as still as possible on my deck as they sang away. I gave them a terrific applause as they ended their song. I wonder what might have made them so happy? Could it possibly be the simple fact that one male was entertaining two females. On any given day I would much rather sit and look out my large picture window than waste my brain on what's  downstairs on the flat screen tv.

Today my pleasure was a hawk.  I caught sight of him off in the distance almost immediately as I sat down. He was so far off that at first I was not certain if he was an airplane. To my delight he moved closer and closer in circles until he reached just above my window. The details of his body became clearer and his immense wingspan looked as if it might be as tall as myself if I laid on the floor. His brown feathers were strung together and between them the glimmer of sunshine came through. It took me almost five minutes leaning forward and enjoying this summer show, before I realized that not once at any time did he flap his wings. All of this movement, this soaring, diving and circling was done simply with the wind and his unique knowledge of how air works. He expended no energy on his peaceful flight and seemed to have no cares as he rested on the breeze with the pale blue sky as his backdrop. Did he know I was sitting here, thankful for this moment to watch this dance between he and the invisible energy source holding him up? With that his last circle was followed by a sharp banking left and he was gone from my view.

Now I am sitting here, still at my desk feeling jealous. Jealous of a beautiful bird and the peace and tranquility he showed me. The trust he has, the oneness with nature. There was a time before Joshua died where I was more free and trusting too. Where leaping without looking often worked in my favor and if it didn’t then there was a valuable lesson to learn from. Fear of losing loved ones had not become such a big part of my world. Fun was not for special occasions. I did not spend so much time thinking of how I do not seem to fit in, given that everthing in life has such deep meaning. Practical was not me by definition. I often wonder what I am waiting for? Am I so worried that another thing is going to come that knocks me down so hard. Am I so determined to be ready and on guard that I have turned into the watcher instead of living life. Joshua knew how much I loved airplanes when he was alive. He would often come and sit at the airport and watch the planes fly in and out and he accompanied me on several flights by friends who had planes. He knew how daring I was and how adventurous and he would certainly......

xoxo Joshua's Mom

Monday, April 2, 2012

So Close and Yet So Far

This morning I sit here wishing to be closer to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. To put you all in a room and send a loud message of our pain to the heavens, but we are scattered all around. What we do to try to prevent more loss is often alone, or with people who can help but don’t really understand. This morning’s coffee was not full of its usually cream and sugar, but equally filled up by salty tears as I read through yet another email from someone who has found Joshua’s story. Each word a gift from another angel trying to understand why this world can be so cruel. As I read about her loneliness and her desire to help her boyfriend’s mom, I felt far away, as if she was a long lost family member. The word sister survivor has become dear to me and I would much love to surround myself with all of you all of the days of my life. What you know is what I know. What you feel is what I feel. Your love for every remaining second of life! Your nausea as people complains about the mundane going on around you. You are my sisters and brothers, you are my family and without you I might not have survived.

My goal is to figure out how we might unite? How we might take our individual strength and share it with the new comers, who can’t see the light, can’t even see the tunnel. A grand Care Bear Stare to light up even the bleakest of days.  Ideas welcome as each of you from all across the globe realize how close we really are.

Today, my friend you are on my heart as is his mom! I wish, like I always do that you were in my kitchen, sharing a cup of coffee and seeing from my own life that you WILL make it through this and if you let it…this will change you from who you are to who you are meant to be. I promise.

Joshua’s Mommy

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Expect The Unexpected

Expect The Unexpected

Sometimes it seems that the harder we push, the less things get done. When faced with something we are passionate about, that resistance can be hard to feel and harder to swallow. After Joshua died, my heart for children grew. There is no place more important than school. Maybe that is because Joshua might have been able to go and talk with someone about being bullied, if someone was there to listen. Just listen. An office with a door open and a kind persons face ready to talk. Someone who could point them in the right direction or make them feel validated. In Townsend at our previous school system, my passion was embraced. They called on me numerous times to help in bullying situations and even asked that I come and address the teachers with Joshua’s story. It was hard, but it felt right. There was no shortness of tears as my daughter Danielle and I teamed up to give the presentation. I showed them a boy I a trench coat with a bowler hat. A boy who wanted to be different in order to live the life of the kids who were different, a boy who was taking up a cross for others. I then read the police report of the boy who was called “faggit”, the boy who ended his life hanging by a rafter.

Rockport is beautiful. It has beautiful people. It has wonderful families. It’s a small town. It also has children, children who cut like Joshua did. Children who need help for pain that is inside of them. One day I found that alongside its lunch,gym,classes and nurse it needs to provide mental health help. It like many schools is suffering with an increase of anxieties, cutting and behavioral issues and it needs to be pro-active. One day my daughter just needed someone to talk to in the high school. She wandered unsure of where to go and ended up in the wrong place and we found there was truly no place to go. Upon my numerous questions I got no answers. There are no answers. Where does a child go that needs mental help that needs to talk if they have a bad day? The question continued to bug me.

In my frustration for schools all over the country and my questions as to why kids can spend that many hours a day at a place with no answer for how they feel, I emailed our congressman a letter and begged for help. Our school like many wants to do more, but seems unable due to a lack of funding and someone to lead the way. I gave details of my life and showed my heart for the issue to Congressman Tierney's office.  Amazingly Congressman  Tierneys office called back and assured me they feel strongly on this issue. That Mr. Tierney has sisters who are teachers and knows this frustration. I was pleased as they put me in touch with some funding and programs, in Gloucester. But that was not the end of the story. Not by a long shot.

This morning at breakfast with a dear friend the conversation went like this:

(she) “well aren’t we excited about the meeting our daughters are at right now?”
(me) “I’m ashamed to say I am not sure what you mean!”
(she) “well a few months ago Annabelle and Katrina wrote a letter with school to Congressman Tierney about bullying and strangely enough Congressman Tierneys office called last week and want to come out to Rockport.” “Right now the girls are with the principal preparing their questions”.

My jaw dropped as I told her that I had no idea my daughter Annabelle had done that and Annabelle had no idea that I had just done the same thing and had been on the phone with the Congressman's office. I got goosebumps as I told her. We sat with our hands over out mouths afraid out tongues might drop out. “When did they call” I asked. “Last Week” she said. That was about a week after my call I told her.

The reality that my daughter Annabelle and I had been traveling on a parallel track and we had no idea knocked me over and I almost cried. Congressman Tierney will be coming to Rockport soon, and it was not me who did it…it was US. It was those of us who chose to speak up. It was the voices of children!

I struggled after my letter and conversation, feeling like I'd almost hit a dead end. I now understand that I was just part of a bigger picture that needed to play out. I might not have made changes, but I listened to my inner voice and was part of a bigger effort. Please stay tuned as this story continues to work it's way through the lives of many.

~Joshua’s Mom
and sister….

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I know it’s hard. I know you’ve been left on the side of the road with your heart bandaged wandering. I know that the thought of loving that deeply again is the worst kind of fear. I know this day brings with it heartache for it’s buried in the deepest places of heart. I know you’ve hid your love away and I know that trusting another soul not to leave you makes you want to run far away and hide. But he is there. He was there before you lost your child and he is there now. He’s been waiting. Just because he wants to love you and see your love does not mean he has not been hurting too. He is in that pain as well. He needs the connection with you so badly in order to trust love as well.

Tonight, when the world is full of hearts. When tables are cluttered with hands held, kisses and glasses of wine. I urge you, my dear angel mom to take a risk on him and on yourself. For just a small moment when he looks at you, look back. Let him see that you see him and not just the pain. Your grief will not go far, it will be right there when you are ready. But on this Valentines night,  he has been waiting for the woman he loves to come back. It’s ok. It’s even ok to feel good about yourself. It’s ok. You might even find that the man sitting across from you so patiently, can help!

When you look back at the times you were crawling on the floor in pain, the days you gouged yourself to feel anything but numb, the nights you slept at the cemetery. Who was at home worried? Who followed you? Who? Who loves you?

Tonight as I have for many nights, I will put on my pretty dress and heals and tell my son that for a few hours I am going to live the way he taught me. Strong, with passion, deeply and I am going to figure out how to trust once again that this love will not leave me like he did.

To my angel moms!!!
Happy Valentines Day <3

Thursday, February 2, 2012

From The Mouths Of Babes

April 10th 1991.

As anyone who works in a school knows, a teacher is at a distinct disadvantage when laryngitis strikes. And it was my turn to be so afflicted. So, as I approached our preschooler's door behind which wiggled ten sweet, busy munchkins with short attention spans, I sent up a quick prayer for help. Entering the room I croaked a greeting and immediately had everyone's attention. So, I settled into a low chair and explained that I would need them to be very quiet at story time and sing their best at song time. They all rose to the occasion and I was pleased to see them so enthusiastic about helping me. As we finished little Joshua, who had been singing with a serious face and furrowed brow, looked up at me and with as much fatherly tone as he could muster said, "Miss Valerie,Just go A-HM-M-M-M-M-M!". Laughing inside with delight at his compassionate remedy for my problem, I thanked him.

Even though  my voice would not improve for several more days, I left that day with a song in my heart. Aren't three-year-olds wonderful?

Written by Valerie Sadler

I found this story tucked in a sympathy card and forgot about it, as I forgot many things right after Joshua's death. I came across it again and it brought me such a chuckle and happy tears. The woman who wrote this was a very special teacher, she had a heart full of love and Joshua adored her. We don't always think of teachers as making such an impression or taking such care of our children, but they do.

~Joshua's Mom

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Shopping For My Angel

There’s one little boy left on my list
All the others are done and I’ve wrapped all their gifts

He’s 15 years old and I have no idea
The things he would use or the clothes he would wear

My pace is much slower than those in the mall
And thank God they don’t see my tears as they fall

Memories flood  back to the fun that we had
And I choose some magic cards and a soft felt like hat

T-shirts with sayings and famous peoples names
Were one of his favorites, I smile as I pay

Ma’am may I help you a clerk kindly asks
But she’d never understand this heavenly task

I’m shopping for an angel I thought I might say
As I wipe a tear from my cheek and quietly walk away

As I sit on a bench and sift through the gifts
I can’t help but remember the smile on his lips

The boy who brought the best out of Christmas for me
As he bolted toward the presents under the tree

I sat for a few and searched the many faces
And wondered if anyone else was here shopping for angels

Then I picked up my bag and headed for the door
And did what  I’d done for five years before

I carefully headed to the corner of the lot
And placed my sons gifts in the donation box

I stopped and envisioned a boy of fifteen
Waking in the morning and opening these

For a moment  I stood  my heart broke once again
And screamed to the night MERRY CHRISTMAS MY SON.

Written by ~Joshua's Mom for her baby boy. <3