Josh and I started out as best friends. We always joked about how we must be twins because we had so many things in common, and our birthdays were only a day apart. We had only known each other for a few months, but it felt like we had known each other our whole lives. On November 23rd, 2009, Josh told me that he had gone to the doctor, and his kidneys were failing because of his pill-popping addiction. Josh started abusing drugs when he was a teenager. Most of our friends didn't know. He was good at acting happy and confident. That couldn't have been further from the truth. Josh had always had problems with his father and he never met his mother. He told me that his father would beat him all the time and called him names like "faggot". Josh felt like he needed an escape and turned to drugs to forget about the physical and emotional abuse by his father. To him, he saw that as his only option. According to the doctors, a transplant was too risky for his condition and we later found out that there was also a tumor on one of his kidneys. He was slipping away slowly. They gave him a few months. I desperately did research and tried to find a solution – I needed to keep him alive, even if the doctors couldn't. He told me that he was in love with me and I had always known deep down that I loved him too. I wanted him to be happy for his last few months and decided to ask him to marry me. He said yes. These were honestly the best days of my life. We were young and in love. We were planning to get married on January 13th, 2010. We had all of our friends and family invited, one of my friends was making the cake, everyone was so happy for us. Weeks were going by and I knew there was nothing I could do. I had to accept that Josh was dying. I had to sit there and watch him get worse every day. He started having spells where he would lose his memory – a symptom that occurs inlater stagesof kidney failure. He wouldn't know where he was, and he would forget who I was. I was very calm and patient with him every time. I told him my name, that we were engaged, the date we were planning to get married, and that I loved him. I am one of the most impatient people ever, but I loved him and wanted to keep him as happy as I could. Early on the morning of December 18th, 2009, Josh and I were chatting online – he didn't have a phone and neither of us had a car. He told me that he wished I was there so he could hold me. Then he told me I should look up the song "Tonight" by FM Static. I did – it was a song about a couple where one of the people is dead, watching over the other person that they left behind. Then he told me to look up the song "Girl" by Davy Jones. This one was simple. It was a boy thanking a girl for making his whole life better. I cried a lot when I heard this song. He told me that his heart hurt really bad and he needed to sleep. He told me good night and said "I love you, doll" I said "I love you, too. Good night." I went back online an hour later and saw that he replied to me again. Right after I sent my last message, he had sent one saying "I love you, Lizzie. Forever and always." I replied and said "Aww!" and also sent him the lyrics to a song that I wrote for him. Then I went to bed. I woke up the next morningto myphone ringing. I never get out of bed just to answer the phone, but this time, I felt like I had to. It was my cousin. Josh had stayed that night at his friend's house, and the friend didn't know how to tell me, so he asked my cousin to tell me that Josh had died that night. It still hurts to think of that morning. I remember it so clearly. I remember the feeling of my heart sinking. I remember crawling to the bathroom because I was so nauseous and too panicked to walk. I remember how nothing felt real. I felt like I was dreaming. But it hurt too much to be a dream. I felt like my whole world just stopped. In a way, it did. I lost the most important person in my life, and could never have him back. I hated everything. I wanted to die so I could be with him. It wasn't fair. I loved him so much and only got to have him in my life only a short while. Just because of his substance abuse. I was so angry. Why couldn't he have just quit? The doctor warned him a while before his kidneys started to fail, but he didn't listen. He didn't think this could really happen to him. But it did. I started getting letters that he wrote me. I got seven. One every week. They explained his feelings for me, how much he regretted not quitting drugs, how he wanted me to move on with my life and be happy. I decided to create a Cause on Facebook in memory of him. It is called We Are Josh's Voice. It is to help educate people on the real dangers of substance abuse and to inspire people to recover from any kind of addiction. I am making a positive impact on other people's lives because of Josh's death. But I still miss him every day. I would still give anything to have him back. I still wish it would have been me instead of him. If you are abusing drugs, please make the decision to quit. Try as hard as you can to stay sober. Don't put your loved ones through the same thing that I am forced to go through. I do not wish this kind of pain onto my biggest enemies. No one should ever have to feel the pain that I, and many others have felt. I love you, Joshy. Always and forever,Your Lizzie
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