Today would have been my son's 24th birthday. In his memory I wanted to tell you just a couple of stories about him. When he was in middle high he had to build something which incorporated six simple machines. I have no aptitude for this kind of thing so I wasn't much help. Anyway, we were coming down to the wire and I took him to the hardware store to pick out the supplies he needed. We were walking up and down the aisles and I asked to see what he had drawn up so I could help him pick up what he needed. He pointed to his head and said, "I've got it all up here." I couldn't believe it. I didn't believe it. I envisioned us walking the store for hours (like we did when he was shopping for a new toy years before). He picked up a bunch of stuff and we took it home. A couple of hours later he came in from the garage with this great little gizmo that, to my amazement, worked quite well. I was super proud of my boy.
Joshua also loved music. He enjoyed playing his trumpet although he was never very disciplined to work hard at it. Nevertheless for what effort he did put into it I rather enjoyed listening to him play. One of his favorite things to play was the theme song from Jurassic Park. He couldn't play the whole thing but he had portions of it down pretty good. We hired a tutor to work with him but it didn't last long. The trumpet lost to his growing interest in skateboarding. Again, he was never as good as he wanted to be and that frustrated him but he loved the challenge. The last job he had before joining the Army was at Lowe's. This gave us something in common--retail sales. We would often swap stories of our experiences. I miss those talks. I miss him.
Since his death this past September I can tell you that God has sustained my family and me in ways we could never imagine. The staff here at the store has become a second family as they supported us during those first few days and weeks and still today are an encouragement in ways that they are not even aware of. The Army personnel staff both in Hawaii and here have been incredible. To say they "bend over backwards" would be an understatement. I told more than one of them that as a veteran of the Air Force I've never been so jealous of the Army. They are a credit to their profession and their country. Finally, there are countless friends who supported us with prayers and monetary support. One couple in particular (who would probably prefer to be nameless) gave us a substantial gift when our money ran out due to our unplanned prolonged stay in Hawaii. My family has been the recipient more than once of their selfless giving. It will take an eternity to thank them. Through all of these people God consoled us and kept us from what could easily have led to utter despair.
Thank you.. Many still ask us how were doing. All things considered we are well and we owe a big part of that to you. Where was God when Joshua died? He was in your hearts as you grieved with us and prayed for us. We saw him . . . in you! Happy birthday Joshua.