I am sitting on “Joshua’s chair” in the corner of the lounger. Behind me the stacking doors are open trying to capture the smallest of breezes to break the summer heat. Avanthi, is talking about a memorial book for Josh and surreptitiously feeding cheese curls to Snowy who, after a rocky hair-on-his-back-standing-up introduction, has decided that he likes Avanthi after all.
Prashanth and Minaav, Joshua’s best friends, are sitting to my left. I listen, with half and ear to their scathing commentary on their family and friends. In this unguarded moment they are irreverent and funny. Just the way Josh liked his friends to be.
Chris-the-elder (young, hot and alleged to only cry for animals) has just agreed to not being weirded out when I stare into his eyes when I deliver my eulogy for Josh on Thursday. I will only get through it if I can avoid looking at anyone un-stoic. His wife, Tayla is trying, unsuccessfully, to make our cat, Olivia, love her whilst simultaneously proof reading the program.
Mala and Kiana are putting on a brave face and I long to tell them again how much they did to research and nag and question all things cancer in a search for a cure for Josh. How grateful I am. How it’s time to stop berating themselves and acknowledge the role they played in extending the time he had.
Doug and Lauren arrive with their son’s Jayden and Kai. Chris-the-younger and Jayden scurry off to take advantage of a few unsupervised hours.
Rose who we met through the kids school arrived first and has already gone about her day.
Shannon leans over and whispers in my ear. “Look at how big our family has grown,” he says. “The one thing that everyone has in common is Josh. He brought them all here.” Shannon’sright. Barring our blood relatives, we became friends with every person in the room through Josh.
Josh did not believe in the afterlife but, as Ilook across the room, I realise he is everywhere. Despite all our claims at introversion, Josh has overruled us. He has brought all these people into our home and our hearts. Helping us to shoulder grief’s burden.