I'm posting this on my homeschool blog because Josh is part of my homeschool life. In fact, I met him at a homeschooling conference in Utah. I remember it perfectly. I was in the lobby and I couldn't help staring at this young guy sitting there. "Dustin! See that guy over there? I know him. I mean, I know him from a movie or something. He's an actor, I promise, but I can't remember what movie." To which Dustin said "You're right. He's very familiar."
We started talking to him. "Where are you from?" "Cardston." and then the dots in my head lined up. "Cardston! We lived there for awhile! Did you happen to be in those summer plays?" Yes he did. He had starred in all those summer plays, and was my and Dustin's favourite actor.
He got a kick out of us thinking that he was a famous actor.
I was impressed with him that afternoon, and I continued to be impressed by him every time I talked to him after that. I remember talking with him at his house one day and thinking "This guy is awesome. He's got it together. If homeschooling contributed to getting this guy to where he's at, then I'm doing the right thing."
Then Josh got called to go to Guatemala on an LDS mission. To pay for his mission, he went door to door in our little town selling his CD of classical music he had composed and recorded.
I, of course, bought a CD proudly.
I got to know his mom, Heather Burton, a lot better in the next two years. I remember having a play date with her on the banks of the creek. Amidst blowing bubbles and folding paper airplanes she told me of how she used to work in the public school system, but wanted more for her children. She wanted to be with them and guide them. She wanted to give her all to her children, because they are her world.
Josh was her world.
Oh heavens---I'm crying again.
Anyway----One day, Heather related to me how nervous she was that Josh's mission was in Guatemala. She told me of how the last night he slept at home she couldn't sleep and quietly went to where Josh was sleeping. She held onto her baby boy one last time before he was off to where she could not stay. She had read about all the crazy stuff that could happen there, and tried to fill his suitcases and packages with everything she possibly could to help him in health or harm. This was Josh's response to this:
Josh's brother, Aaron, is a bit older then Maxwell. Anyone who knows Aaron knows who Aaron's hero is. Josh. At our Person of Eminence presentation, Maxwell did Queen Victoria, one kid did Gandhi, but Aaron did Josh. Here is Aaron's presentation:
Josh will always be the perfect hero for Aaron. He will always be young, talented, funny, and choosing the Lord first. He has been frozen in time in our hearts and minds just like his last few years upon the earth.
I remember thinking on my mission "This would be a perfect time to die. My testimony has never been stronger, I'm where I should be, doing what I should be doing." and then I thought about how that might hurt my mom, and I thought that I probably should try and not die.
Poor Heather. From what I can tell, she was up in the sky in an airplane on the way to her son whom she believed was healing when Josh passed away. That just sucks. That sucks big time, and there's just no other way to put it.
I'm grateful for the Saviour who not only atoned so that Josh will be resurrected and be with God, but who also atoned so that Heather and her family can lean on Him to find peace and comfort.
I hear that parents who loose a child never heal completely. The love and attachment runs too deep. Children leave too big of an impression on our hearts to forget or move on entirely.
I don't know how I can help Heather or her family. I'm not sure what I can say or do to help ease this terrible burden, but I hope they will know that I love them and pray for them.
Thank thee Lord for the opportunity and blessing it was to know Josh Burton. He was a blazing light of fun, hope and greatness that I will never forget.