Our lives were forever changed on July 9, 2002, when our precious boy, Joshua Dylan Burda, was brought into this world. From the moment he arrived, he commanded our attention. Suddenly, everything we thought we knew, went straight out the door. Joshua had a way of teaching us how to parent him (with quite an authoritative voice!). His 20 months of life taught us more than we had ever learned in our 30+ years. Our hearts overflowed with love for this gentle giant of a baby. How did we get so lucky as to have the cutest baby on earth?! We were lucky… for 20 months and 10 days, and then the unimaginable happened.
March 19, 2004 should have been a wonderful day — busy, but wonderful. Our house was filled with packed boxes and we were gearing up for the big move into our brand new home that weekend. We were moving into what is now known as “the house that Josh built.” Our beautiful boy was the reason we started the endeavor of building a new house.
When Josh was born in 2002, we brought him home to our 50-year-old house. Along with our son’s arrival came thoughts of: “This house probably has lead-based paints and dangers we don’t want Josh exposed to,” and “these old stairs squeak and we feel terrible when our light-sleeper wakes up from the noise.” So, for the past year we had taken great care to design our new house with finishes that would benefit Joshua and our soon to be growing family. But just three days before the move, on March 19, we lost our little boy.
Joshua had been up the night before with a fever. We gave him Tylenol and he slept until morning. When he awoke, his fever was gone and he ate a full breakfast. He was ready to play and seemed in good spirits. As the morning wore on, Josh appeared tired. The restless night was showing its effect on him. He went down for a nap… he never woke up. The rest of that day is a nightmare that we will unfortunately never forget. However, the days and months after his death are quite a blur, punctuated by Joshua’s funeral, our move and the anticipation of the arrival of a new baby. We refer to this time as “the dark days.”
Since his death, writing about Josh has been near impossible. How do you sum up this beautiful little soul in a few choice words? No matter what we’d try to tell you, we’d never do him justice. But to give you a small glimpse of our beautiful boy, we’d say he had piercing blue eyes, big cherubic cheeks, and a definite mind of his own. He adored letters and numbers, and just about anything with wheels. He was a musical genius – already attempting Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on the piano. Our firstborn “Sweet Pea” brought joy and life to our house!
20 months of Joshua taught us to love like nothing we had ever dreamed of before. We look forward to the day that we will all be a family together again in heaven. If we could ask one favor, it is that you continue to share Joshua’s spirit with us throughout the years. Our first born son will always be loved and never be forgotten.