As part of a Dying Matters Awareness Week, today we share an inspiring way of dealing with loss.
After Josh Edmonds was killed in an accident aged just 22, his folks set up the website Beyond Goodbye as a place for friends and family to remember his life and connect in their grief in a positive way.
Postcards to Josh
One creative project that’s come out of this is Postcards to Josh. Friends and family send postcards to Josh to remember him and celebrate his sense of adventure.
100s of postcards have been sent to Josh to date from all over the world.
Josh’s parents Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds told us:
“When she heard about his death, Josh’s friend Victoria set up Postcards to Josh, a webpage that would help his other friends and family to stay in touch with his dream to see the world. She invited us to send postcards to him from wherever we were in the world… to tell him what we liked and what we didn’t… to remember what he would have liked or moaned about! Whether it’s a photograph of a tropical beach in the South Pacific, a hand drawn postcard from his home town in Stroud or a porno postcard from Amsterdam, she imagined a site where we could continue to share stories and memories of Josh, and to provide an opportunity to take him to all the places he too would have wanted to visit.
“Three years on and Postcards to Josh has become an established part of the way we grieve for our son, our brother and our friend. As a family we have wanted to be as open as possible about our feelings of sadness and loss and to record them on our website Beyond Goodbye and in a film of the same name. And we can do this to huge effect in this the age of the internet and the possibilities it offers for immediate and continuing exchange of ideas, information and dare we say, emotions. A friend remarked soon after Josh died that ‘people don’t really die online” and in a way this is so true. Josh’s Facebook page is still ‘alive’ and kicking, and in sending postcards to Joshua we speak to him as if he were still with us … “Dear Josh, you would have loved it here…” The site has become probably the clearest manifestation of the way we have tried to continue our relationship with Josh. We have not (as maybe much of society had expected us to do) let him go – we have not ‘moved on’ from his death and forgotten him. This is not, we think, a pathological approach to grief but profoundly healthy and strangely life affirming. Each postcard contains the simplest and most ordinary of messages – ‘we wish you were here’, but its journey home, while reminding us of the journey Josh never made, also connects us (friends and family alike) in new relationships with Josh at their centre.
“We now have this amazing sense of Josh’s spirit being carried around the globe; of Josh being talked to and spoken about, being photographed and written about, being hauled up mountains and flying down ski slopes, being shoved into backpacks, escaping from beer bottles, (maybe even rolled into one of them funny cigarettes on a lonely beach somewhere) but always enriching all our journeys wherever we go.”
If you have found a positive way of living with loss, we’d love to share it to help others.