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  • Writer's pictureSharon Koay

Life without Joshua

It is exactly 3 months since I lost Joshua. Exactly 13 weeks since his death, and mine too. I may still be breathing, and my heart may still be beating, but I am no longer alive. I no longer feel; I no longer function. I can no longer think; I can no longer work. I can't move forward; I can't move at all. I am paralysed - in grief, in pain, in sorrow.

Time has stood still, and I'm stuck in a nightmare: a life without Joshua. In this nightmare, the pain just keeps getting worse and worse.

The very rare moments when I think I am "taking a step forward", I am immediately catapulted many steps back.

I remember the first three weeks well, when I was drowning in pain. I would cry day and night in his bed, and have frequent panic and anxiety attacks, where I am unable to breathe, sit or stand.

First step forward (3 weeks after losing Joshua): Seeking professional medical help.

The fourth and fifth week were then spent in a drug-infused state of sleep and haze under medication. The pain was still there, but the panic and anxiety attacks had lessen. In the sixth and seventh week, after the dosage of my medication was adjusted, my sleeping pattern began to return to some form of normalcy.

Many steps back (6 weeks after losing Joshua): Pain, more pain.

I had thought the pain I had was already so unbearable, but it was becoming even worse. It seems that the shock of losing Joshua was slowly wearing off, and life without him is becoming "more real". I continued with my meds, going to an online support group, praying to God, and I started therapy - just trying to get by without Joshua in my life, hour by hour, day by day.

Second step forward (8 weeks after losing Joshua): Publicly announcing Joshua's death.

I have been in isolation since losing Joshua, and still am. I have not spoken to family or friends because there are just no words I wish to hear from anyone, nor do I have any to share in return. There were still many who did not know about this tragedy, and so I gathered the strength to publicly announce Joshua's death on my Facebook and LinkedIn profile. I also created a YouTube channel in memory of Joshua, where I uploaded videos of our last holiday together, as well as his funeral.

Many steps back (since the announcement till now, 13 weeks after losing Joshua): Paralysis.

Part of me wishes I hadn't made the announcement, as you can't imagine what it's like reading the condolence messages that have flooded in. It is now getting even "more real" that Joshua isn't coming back to me, ever. I haven't been able to put together more videos for his YouTube channel. I haven't been able to continue with therapy. I just can't function, or think, or do anything.

Someone in my online support group describes her life after the death of her 20-year old son as "Groundhog Day every day". I feel the same way. Every day I wake up, and I find that Joshua isn't here; and every day I relive the void and pain of not being able to see him, or speak with him. Every day I watch videos of Joshua just to hear his voice; and every time I do that, I cry. Every night when I sleep, I can only hope to wake up from this nightmare; but every morning when I wake up, it's Groundhog Day once again.


Join me in remembering Joshua by subscribing to this YouTube channel that I have created in memory of him:

I only have 3 videos uploaded now, but will try to add more on in time.

Day 1 | Beijing in 4 days: Featuring the travel itinerary for Day 1 of our 4-day Christmas 2023 holiday in Beijing, China. Our 13-hour day includes Wangfujing Pedestrian Street, Tian'anmen Square, The Forbidden City, Bell Tower, a Hutong walking tour, a Chinese calligraphy lesson, and more.

Day 2 | Beijing in 4 days: Featuring the travel itinerary for Day 2 of our 4-day Christmas 2023 holiday in Beijing, China. Our 16-hour day includes visits to two different sections of the Great Wall of China (during the day at Mutianyu located in Huairou District, and during the night at Simatai located in the north of Miyun District), and an outdoor hot spring experience at -13°C.

Joshua’s Funeral | January 28, 2024: His funeral service was attended by many from Penang Free School and the Penang tennis community. Some left wonderful messages that I have captured in this video.

Always loved, never forgotten, forever missed.

Joshua Tan Peng Boon

January 1, 2005 – January 25, 2024

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