Sunday, June 6, 2010

Today. June 6th.

Today would be Josh's 25th birthday. He is the second son of my brother Troy (who was also a second son) & Brian's younger brother.

Photo: i took this photo in January of 2009. I sent it to him in an email and told him he looked like Jake Gyllenhaal. He was so handsome.

YouTube: For his memorial last Labor Day my Brian and I made a video and it included this song at the very end (along with quotes from Mitch Hedburg and Demetri Martin scrolling through as credits because Josh liked their humor.) I can't hear any of those songs anymore without thinking of Josh. We also included "Above the Bones" by Mishka and Ben Harper's version of "Beautiful Boy". (This Mraz song is the least sad to me.)

I wasn't going to do this, but then i was running and just thinking about him and i felt like i just needed to do something as a tribute, so here it is. i just felt better doing something to honor his birthday.

Here is what i was remembering about him today:

1. When he was a little guy and you went to his house he always wanted to show you his room.

2. He had this turtle that he wanted you to meet when you came over. (I wish i could remember his turtle's name. Maybe his brother remembers, i'll have to ask Brian.) Anyway, i loved how he pronounced 'turtle'. . . He said 'toitle'.

3. He once asked me in his room to show me a video game when he was about 8 years old. In looking around his room i noticed a cd or a video with a Parental Advisory sticker and asked him about it. 'Oh, do your parents know about this?" He answered that it wasn't THAT bad, it just had some bad language. I said to him, "Josh, you wouldn't use bad words would you?" and he gave me that sideways look and kind of squinted his eyes and sheepishly said, "Well .... I do kind of like to say the F-word sometimes, but don't tell my parents." ( I can still see that look he gave me when he told me this.)

4. I loved babysitting him and Kylee the most as little kids because they were so easy and so good-natured. And really beautiful little kids in a way that made people gravitate toward them. Josh was more of a homebody type. He would sit close to you when the other kids were playing. I remember clearly, him watching through the window while his brother and cousins were making a snowman outside. I asked him why he didn't go outside too. He said it was too cold. He was quite content to just watch.

5. My second ex-husband had a full beard that was going gray, and a bit of a pot belly ( he was 11 years older than i was). One Mother's Day (the point to make here is that it wasn't even during the holidays) were were all going out to brunch with my family. Josh was about 3 years old and it was the first time he had met Don. He looked right up at him and asked him in his cute little 3 year old voice: "Are you Santa Claus?".... I howled at this because Don was fairly conceited about his looks and his weight was an issue for him at the time.

6. I have written this story before: Josh didn't like frou frou cheerleadery type of girls. But he did go out with one he said who has always talking on her cell phone and he hated that. He told us that when he picked her up she was already on the phone within minutes. He said as they were driving to where they were going she kept talking on it. Finally during a break in one of her calls he said to her, "That's a pretty cool cell phone, can i see it?" and she handed it over. He snapped it shut and threw it in the back seat of the car. I thought it was such a super cool move.

7. Josh was never much of a drinker. He didn't smoke. And his brother Brian tells me that he never did drugs because Brian made sure of that. Josh was a very level and calm kind of guy. He was the kind of guy you needed around if a party got out of hand or someone was getting too rowdy because he would calmly know how to diffuse what could otherwise be escalated.

8. He wanted to be a Marine for a long time which worried all of us immensely especially after Nine-Eleven. His room was orderly. He and i used to joke about how we like things in straight, like pictures or levelor blinds. He said when he was driving the forklift to arrange cases of Coke or something that he just HAD to make the stacks very even. I totally got it.

9. He loved movies and could recite many lines from them. His cell phone ring tone used to be an Office Space bit. My Brian and Josh used to go to movies often together.

10. When he was about 11 or 12 years old I took Josh and Ashley to Borders once so he could buy a cd. He was trying to choose between Verve Pipe's cd with the song The Freshman which he really liked and a new group called Hansen because he liked the song MMMMBop. We used to laugh about how lame Hansen was as he got older when his taste in music got better.

11. He and his older brother Brian were very close. They didn't fight like many brothers do. They actually looked out for each other and sometimes it would seem to me that Josh was the older brother to Brian. They didn't complain to me about the other as sisters are inclined to do about each other. (Kylee, you know what i mean! LOL.)

12. Josh loved Lost. He and his best friend Brandon and Brandon's girlfriend came over to our house for a spaghetti dinner one night and i loaned them my first boxed season of Lost because they had not seen it. It was a great night and we sat outside on the patio i think until 1 in the morning. (Those kids stay up so late!) I emailed him the next day and said, "tell the truth, i bet you all stayed up til 4 or 5 in the morning watching Lost. He responded that the did exactly that and how did i know that? (I knew because i had done the same thing.)

13. My oldest of the nieces and nephews is my sister's daughter Jessica. She couldn't pronounce my name correctly as a toddler and it came out as "Aunt Joo". The name stuck. But Kylee and Ashley liked feeling older so they never ever called my "Aunt" anything. I was always just "Jo" to them and i like that too. But Josh always called me "Aunt Joo" through his teen years and in his 20's. It cracked me up.

14. One time he sent me an email after i sent him some photos by email of his birthday party. The email said: "Aunt Joo, you take fucking awesome photos." And it made me laugh because maybe "aunt" and "fucking" don't belong in the same email.

But i liked it because it reminded me of how he trusted me at 8 to tell me that he liked saying the F-word. And i never did tell his parents.

15. Josh was so cool. And so handsome, but not in a way that he played it up, which made him even cuter to girls. He was really smart and intuitive, but not in the way you could put on a school test.

16. If you were a mother, you would want your daughter to date him. If you were an employer, you would want to hire him. If you were a Marine platoon leader, you would want him in your charge. If you were a parent, you would want him as your kid. If you were an aunt, you would want him as your kid too.

17. I just wish he knew all that and believed it about himself.


equeyaya said...

I'm crying here.

I can't believe he didn't at least stick around to see the end of LOST, dammit.

jojo cucina cucina said...

eque, if he was in his good place, during that time when he was in that good place, you would would are one of those mothers who would want him to date your daughter.

jojo cucina cucina said...

And i meant to add, that eque, you sent me The Freshman by Verve Pipe on a cd mix not that long ago and to this day that song still reminds me of Josh too,

IslandPearl said...

You asked in your last blog post what makes sense in the world.

To lose one so loved, and to lose him in such a way -- This is one thing that will never make sense to me.

equeyaya said...

You're so right, pearl. There are some things we can never understand. I believe Josh has moved on to another place that is happy for him.

Wasn't Beck part of Hanson? If so, maybe he heard some of that future talent when he was 12. After all, he knew The Freshman was a great song. Jo, you told me that after I sent it to you, and now when I hear it, I think of Josh, too.

equeyaya said...

oh, never mind. I looked him up on wikipedia. Beck's last name is Hansen, but not the same as the boy group.

~grits~ said...

This is so very personal and if you dont want to answer, please just ignore. As a mother, I just want some insight. Maybe there is none. Did yall ever find out why? I feel awful asking, I really do. So I will understand if you dont answer. My heart feels so sad.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Hi Grits. i only know what i know and the short answer to your question is no, we never did. And none of us saw it as even being possible. That was the shock of it all. He always came across as very grounded and in control and he was funny.

I had seen him despondent in the past years but it seemed to be more about about a girl issue. But i think that might have been his excuse as a cover.

Our family DNA does include severe depression that i started with (that i know of) a great grandmother, a grandmother, a cousin, a second cousin, a sister and now a nephew.

In the end i think it must have been exhausting for Josh to keep up a brave face as long as he did.

I think today feels like a better day. Those first red letter dates in the first year are the worst, though they won't ever get easy for his parents and brother.

~grits~ said...

((((((((jo & family)))))))

~grits~ said...

I didnt know that Kelly had a child.

I love the story about how Josh tossed that silly girl's cell phone in the back seat!

Thank you for sharing this touching tribute and for answering a question even though it is none of my business.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Grits, I never mind the brave, personal question. I wish people asked more questions.

Kelly has a daughter Jessica and a son, Christopher. Jessica is a single mom and doing a great job of it. Mari is so sweet and unspoiled and happy.

I'll change this blog soon maybe tonight or tomorrow.

thanks y'all.

EoDE said...

Jo, that was such a loving tribute to Josh. Thank you for sharing him with us. ((((Jo and family))))

susieatl said...

JoJo...thank you for sharing something so personal and wonderful as Josh and a glimpse at his life.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Before i write a new blog post i just wanted to add that the day ended up being a good day in many ways.

My brother and nephew called me the next day and i could hear the lift in both of their voices right away.

The two of them started out early on Josh's bday up the mountain so they could spread Josh's ashes. It was terrible weather which somehow made it easier in an offbeat way because the day of his memorial was the worst summer storm day that year.

but it sounds like it ended up really helping them both and i think the day will be one they will remember forever.

I am in awe of their grace and strength.

jojo cucina cucina said...

I get sort of what they mean too. I immediately felt better after writing this blog post.

I think honoring birthdays of loved ones who are no longer with us in whatever way makes us feel better, be it writing, music, hiking, etc. is a part of the healing and eases the tension and sorrow.

Modern Hippie said...

i'm not reading through all the previous posts cause i dont have time (sorry that sounds bitchy but i have less than a week till the end of finals! lol)

I'm only reminded by josh by the very part of that song because its the beat that start paaying at the very end of the video, apart from the other songs in the video joe purdy - wash away always remind me of josh its what i always listened too when i was driving back and forth from seattle to tacoma everyday. i cried on every drive but wash away just meant alot "i got troubles, but not today, they're gonna wash away."

your list of remembering josh.
1. i remember josh and his ninja turtle room. when uncle troy brought me movies in the hospital 'ninja turtles' was one of them and it made me laugh cause it was on DVD which meant he only bought it a couple years ago

3. thats SO cute and funny "well i do say the fword sometimes but dont tell my parents" lol

4. thank you. haha.

7. that trait reminds me of my Dad -- Dad is always the one who calmly talks a fight into a hug. like that story dad tells about some cajun guy in louisiana putting his hand on your thigh and your brian jumped up pissed -- which was the wrong move to make and dad talked the guy out of it. actually i think it was your brian who told me that story.

8. i remember the xmas every got him american flag stuff. including a real american flag lol.

10. but josh is notorious for having bad taste in music. haha

11. i remember after josh passed away i think it was xmas brian was telling me that ash and i were never allowed to fight and he told me this story about the one few time and the last time they fought and it was like 3 years before and the were leaving our house on xmas eve and brian had just been in his car accident and josh was driving "wrecklessly" and actually ended up running a stop sign and brian yelled at him.haha.

after he told me that story he says "the only time you can be mad at your sister is if you buy a $10,000 dolphin, and you raise that dolphin and you teach it tricks and its in movies, and then ashley kills that dolphin. then you can be mad at her." LOL

my last memory of Josh was sadly enough over facebook he was delivering beer in Seattle and one of his stops was a restaurant across the street from my building and so he told me that he broke into my apartment and made a sandwich and played with Oliver then he said "you're out of pickles" which made me laugh so we had this standing joke about pickles and whether or not I got any new ones. after he died I was in the grocery store and I turned down a new isle full of pickles and i started crying. haha.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Kylee you are right about #7. Josh was more like your dad than his own dad. Your dad has always been on to diffuses a fight. (I'm the opposite i face it head on, though I would rarely start it.)

And that did happen in New Orleans. I had on a jean skirt sitting at the bar and this guy walks in and reaches over and puts his hand on my bare thigh and quickly moves it up and then quickly walked away. It happened so fast i didn't know how to react.

It was Troy who jumped up ready for action first because he was sitting by me. But your dad was already ready to shut it down behind Troy (as i would have wanted) and Brian didn't see it at the time and it was all over before anything began.

Oh, the pickles. I remember when you sent told me about that right after he emailed you because you thought it was funny.

Modern Hippie said...

christa bought ashley pickle band-aids for her bday (for another inside joke) and im using them for this cut i have on my leg and everytime i look down on it i laugh about think about josh haha

did he really like pickles? or did he just say it? haha

jojo cucina cucina said...

i would imagine that the pickles thing was just a joke on his part. He probably didn't love or hate them. It was just funny.but i remember you telling me the story very shortly before he died about the pickles, so it's cool that every time you see them you think of him.

Anonymous said...


jojo cucina cucina said...

you're welcome Troy.