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.