The 11th of the month has come around again and far too quickly and it marks another month without justice for my beautiful Josh and it marks 3 years and 4 months without him here with me which is just too painful for words. Everyday and no matter what I do I think about the life that we had, the things that might have happened in our lives and the many memories that we would be making that so many people take for granted.
While all of these thoughts play out in my mind while coping with emotional challenges such as depression, complicated grief, PSTD, anxiety and panic disorder so much is still happening behind the scenes and so many of you are doing all that you can to help me with our #justiceforjoshhanson campaign and for that I am truly thankful. I continue to seek answers to my questions from the Police, the National Crime Agency and the Home Secretary as to how someone can evade arrest for so long and I try to express in the best way that I can, how the lack of an arrest is effecting our lives. I continue to ask questions about the involvement and input that Europol and Interpol have when sharing information with the UK and I look to see if there is anything that will help me to push for progress on the investigation overseas.
Without you all helping me to keep fighting for justice I would be lost and all that you do to support me is always bringing us a step closer to being able to grieve and mourn Josh in peace, as we will get justice.
Every waking day is another day of uncertainty, a life in limbo no matter what I am doing. The same uncertainty of how will I feel when I wake up, what news will I hear about the investigation and generally how will today find me, focused and strong or hopeless and stuck. The past month has been a massive challenge for me both professionally and personally, it has been a journey of self discovery with many challenges of the past now becoming less so because I have achieved so much through sharing Josh’s short life story which has helped me to face some of my fears.
I was asked if I would talk to year 9 students about the effects that knife crime and Josh’s death has had on me, how it has devastated my family along with Josh’s friends and colleagues and how carrying a knife is never under any circumstances acceptable. This was something that I had to prepare for emotionally as it was something that I was not sure that I would be able to do without breaking down and the last thing that I would ever want to do is to make children cry. Some of the footage that we have shared in our presentation I have had to watch over and over again, during the process of putting it together and then again to seek approval to share it in schools and then of course when sharing it with the young children and this was heartbreaking.
I tend to avoid watching videos of Josh laughing or talking because they are so painful and I have never shared or watched the videos of Josh’s friends and family carrying Josh’s coffin but when I was sharing his story with so many children who sat there looking at him and at me in their school uniforms I knew just how important it was that I went on this journey with them, all of us together with Josh and to do all that I can to help prevent this from happening to them. I took a big deep breath and brought Josh into the lives of over 250 pupils and while I was talking to them I imagined Josh sitting there in his uniform with his friends and I knew how much of an impact it would have had on him. At the very least he would have come home and told me about a Mum who’s son had been murdered and we would have sat down and discussed it at length, we would have talked about knife crime, her pain and the unnecessary loss of the life of a young man who had his whole life ahead of him but was murdered.
I now know that this is something that I can do professionally, and while I did cry, so did the children, not for me but with me because they saw what everyone else saw who knew Josh, a kind, funny and caring young man with so much love in his heart and with a laugh and sense of humour that would have you in stitches.
During this month Brooke Louise Lyla Hanson and I were also part of a workshop at City Hall discussing the Mayors Office of Policing and Crime’s (MOPAC) Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) while giving our feedback and our experience as the victims of violent crime. We have also had meetings with a Police Gang Unit who want us to share our experience of knife crime and the work that we are doing to help support others through our charity. I have also met with an Art Council to discuss our Art Therapy Workshop and an open mic night and I have had a meeting with a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) to discuss our art project as part of a knife crime awareness project too. I have been blessed with positive people who have come in to my life and who are helping the charity to move forward and to build on our charitable purposes to help others.
This month has been a huge shift for me and with it I have battled with myself, moving forward without Josh is as painful as staying stuck, neither one makes sense and both hurt equally but I will do what I promised I would do while I stood outside of the RE Bar on the 11th of October 2015 waiting for my Son’s body to come out after 15 hours. I promised him that I would fight for justice for him and that I would fight for others in his memory who have been affected by knife crime and do all that I can to make positive changes. I continue to keep that promise and will do all that I can to help others too.
My Son Josh, I love you 💙😇🙏🏻