An honest obituary.

Joshua Nash Wagoner passed away on Friday, August 26, 2022.

Decades of drug abuse took their final toll when Josh passed away at home. He died as he lived: how he wanted. What killed him was a part of what made him special to those who knew him.

The same reckless abandon for consequences that made Josh fun at parties made his untimely death inevitable. Methamphetamine will receive the blame for another life but the fact of the matter is he had a choice to make all of those years ago. Responsibility is important even on the occasion of mourning.

Josh did this to himself.

Whatever perceived need drove Josh to substance abuse was one he could never satisfy, with or without drugs. He chose to try and fill the hole inside by digging out the bottom. Despite knowing the risks of collapse, he kept searching for the bottom. The bottom isn’t something you find, though. It finds you.

They say to remember the good times and who a person was at their best. What is a person to do when those memories are inaccessible? When I seek out the memories in any such attempt, I have to wade through 20 years of complete insanity. There may be some idealized version of this man that people need to see to feel better but he wasn’t that man. The image makes people feel better, though. Speak no ill of the dead and all.

Speaking the truth is my duty, though. This is a duty I take seriously. Josh wasn’t the type to pull punches and it was one of his redeeming qualities. It is a quality I possess as well, so in that way, we were very much kin.

I have zero illusions about who my brother was. Josh was an abusive, racist, alcoholic, drug addict. He was helpless to fill the void inside that screamed for his attention. He had the decency to disappear when he knew his lifestyle was something mom and dad wouldn’t want to see, but his hiding only prolonged the inevitable. He was as stubborn as he is now unironically dead.

An obituary is supposed to be a rosey picture of a nuanced individual. Bullet points about why a person was great. Josh would have used the bullets to shoot something he bought the day before because it pissed him off. And then he would have set whatever it was on fire, and pissed out the fire.

How’s that for rosey?

All the same, he will be missed. Not for the man he was all along, but for the man he could have been in spite of who he had to become. We mourn the loss of this possibility as much as the man himself.

Every version of him is gone, and at long last, the hole is filled.

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