A Message from Josh’s Mom, Cindy Hughes
My name is Cindy Hughes and I am the founder and president of The J.O.S.H. Foundation which stands for Joining Others Seeking Healing. My other title is bereaved Mom. There are no words to describe what those words mean and the emotions and tears they can cause in a moment for no explainable reason. You become a member of a group no one wants to belong to, a lifetime membership with other parents who have suffered the worst imaginable loss of all: the loss of their child. No matter the age or the circumstances, we are all tied together by that bond.
Everyone grieves differently and we should all be able to grieve at our own pace, without judgement or influence by others. Finding a way to enable you to get through the days, weeks and years to come is a journey that can be as different & unique as each of our children were.
After the loss of my 21 year old son, Josh Hughes, I found myself needing to find something to help me get through each day to make sure he was never forgotten, always remembered. To find a way to honor and keep his memory alive. During many late and long nights of researching grief support groups and children’s memorials I found author Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box book and Statues (also known as Angel of Hope). These worldwide memorials are dedicated to children of any age who have passed under any circumstances. There were no Angels in our state and finding a way to have our own Angel erected in Maryland became the first project of The J.O.S.H. Foundation, the foundation I created in his memory and honor.
I found my focus at this point was not just to make sure my son was remembered and honored, but that all the children- unborn, infant, toddler, school age, adult from all over our community, county and state – all of them would be remembered. To make sure the parents, siblings, family members, and friends would have a peaceful place where they could go to think, remember and share memories, to gather and join other parents, families and friends at the yearly candlelight vigil held nationwide to honor all our children taken too soon, to have a memorial tile placed for their child. To share the lives of these children with fellow parents because sadly, only those who share this common bond of being a bereaved Mom and Dad know and understand this pain and heartache. The loss of a child is like no other loss, unimaginable and life changing. I have found I am not able to even closely describe my emotions to anyone else, personal and private thoughts that reach into my soul.
Our Angel of Hope has been erected and we now join 140 Angels across the world on December 6th for the annual candlelight vigil. We also offer a yearly scholarship to area seniors who have suffered the loss of an immediate family member or loved one. Memorial tiles are available for purchase to be placed on our memorial wall at the Angel of Hope statue and memorial garden located at the South Carroll Senior and Community Center at 5928 Mineral Hill Road, Eldersburg, Maryland, 21784.
It is my deepest hope to do whatever we possibly can to prevent even one more family joining this group no one wants to join: that of a bereaved parent. We want to help in whatever way we can to prevent the loss of young lives.
I will always be Josh’s Mom and he will always be my son, in life and in death. Together with The J.O.S.H. Foundation and the other bereaved parents, families and friends in our state, my wish is that we can work together to honor and remember the children we have lost and help stop the loss of other lives.
Joshua Samuel Hughes (1982-2003)
Josh, the inspiration behind the creation of The J.O.S.H. Foundation. Josh’s sister, Angela, reflects…
To pick one word to describe Josh is pretty hard to do, but if I had to narrow it down to one, I would use the word, “life.”
My brother was so full of life, he had this energy to him that just radiated from his smile. He believed that we were here to enjoy every minute of every day, not to be worried with the trivial things but to relax and have fun and savor every experience.
I wish everyone could live that way. Josh was a very intelligent and knowledgeable person, (according to him there was nothing he didn’t know.) When he loved you he loved you completely, he was a loyal and honest friend. Even if it might cause you pain or get him in trouble, he would be brutally honest with you.
He brought such joy to my life, he was my baby brother and I would give my life to have him back. He had a smile for everyone, a contagious chuckle that could bring you out of the worst mood and a passion for life that most of us never feel. In the short time he was with us, he was able to accomplish and enjoy things in life that some of us never take the time to do.
Josh, I will never accept that you are gone. I miss you every day I exist, there is a huge void in the world without you here. I miss having my baby brother give me advice and help me see that we should live each day to the fullest. I hope you are at peace and know that you were loved immeasurably and missed by all.