And now Josh. Their gentle giant. Their talented musician. Their only child.
I don't know that I've ever attended a service as touching as his, where one red-eyed friend and relative after another stepped to the front to talk about what Josh meant to them. After all they've been through, the date for his service seems ironic - Friday the 13th.
While driving home after watching my friend say goodbye to her son, I thought about something I'd written in response to a conversation Becky and I had shortly after her cancer diagnosis. She'd simply asked why, and I knew what she meant. Why her? Why then? Why that?
I remember how ineffective I felt with my answer, "Sometimes there isn't a why."
I felt even more that way now. After a lifetime of fighting to fit, Josh had finally found the places where he could shine. Put a guitar in his hands, and he could do magic. In electrical school, he was a whiz. It was as though he was taken right when he was just reaching his stride, and I was having trouble making sense of something like that.
Oddly, it was Becky who put things into perspective, reminding me of something I'd pushed out of my head. She reminded me of a time when I had told her how, while I hadn't stopped praying for a miracle to cure my baby of acute spinal muscular atrophy, I had started asking if she wouldn't be cured, that she not have to suffer. And that prayer was answered. Like Becky's son, Camille died in her sleep.
Becky told me that if Josh had lived longer, his condition would have begun taking even more of a toll on his organs. It was an unavoidable eventuality of the disease. Although losing him so suddenly and without warning had been hard, she knew her child hadn't suffered. He'd been spared.
That she could find the only element of possible good in all this has me in awe. I'm proud of my friend.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@cnpapers.com. Her columns can be found in her blog at thegazz.com.