Joshua Giannini leaves video suicide letters of love

By Diane Fielder McCormick

Content warning: Strong Emotional Content.  


Note from Anne Moss: I sent an email to my most engaged readers and asked if they wanted to share their stories. Diane responded right away and has shared with all of us the final videos from her son. They are a gift. And they are heartbreaking.  But they are also something else. It shows that even in the darkest hour, your loved one loved you.

Suicide, addiction, and depression have a very close relationship. More than 90% of people who fall victim to suicide suffer from depression, have or substance abuse disorder, or both. Depression and substance abuse combine to form a vicious cycle that all too often leads to suicide. Thank you Diane for sharing. 

Obit:  Joshua’s Giannini 

My firstborn, my only son, and my best friend

A truly compassionate heart, and is the most non-judgmental person I’ve ever known.

We were always playing practical jokes on each other!

He died from suicide on March 29th, 2017. I had been preparing as emotionally as best one can – thinking it was a probable outcome of his heroin addiction. But I expected the detective that came to my home to tell me that he died from an overdose. Not SUICIDE. That took a while to sink in.

Even though I thought I had prepared myself for the possibility – the actuality of it is devastating to the core of your being. Rage took over, alternating between a numbing shock and waves of intense, uncontrollable sobbing that would hit at any time, any place.

The rage took me by surprise- lashing out on those closest to me in ways I – nor they- could have imagined before this.

I’ve begun counseling. I’m only 53 days into this and have no idea what to expect next. I’ve lost both parents, two sisters, the man I loved, but none have knocked me down like this.

I will say the Lord has been faithful through it all. He really has. And I’m grateful for the 38 years I had with Joshua and will treasure them. I’m also grateful for the graciously kind videos he left me on his phone just hours before he died. I know that’s more than most Mothers get.

But still. How do I live the rest of my life without him? I just don’t know how and I don’t want to. The hidden part of me dreads the rest of my life without him.

The videos

I know the things he spoke in the video are the heart cry of every Mother’s child that took their life. I would like for the Mothers especially as they watch the video to hear and see THEIR CHILD thru this video. And to know that their child- and YOUR BEAUTIFUL BOY or GIRL felt the same way but were unable in their moment of pain to express it.

Yes, it’s true, our biggest fear is that our children will be forgotten as if they never existed. This way Joshua’s very beautiful and compassionate heart will help bring healing to many other mothers and fathers drowning in their grief.

If you struggle with addiction and suicidal thoughts, there is help. If you are feeling suicidal, use the crisis text line at 741-741. Or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

These videos are now posted on Google Drive instead of YouTube. I had to make them private on YouTube due to a younger audience potentially being triggered and because YouTude was recommending them and I know Diane wanted bereaved parents to see them so they’d know their child loved them.

Video #1 – “You are not to blame. Don’t go back and think that you did this or you did that….I love the James River”

48 seconds– These are from google drive.

Video #2 – “Please mom, use your hurt and pain to help others.”

1 minute 3 seconds

Video #3 – “When you think there is no hope, don’t believe it. You are a strong independent woman. You are not to blame…”

57 seconds

Video #4 – “The only one that was always there for me.”

34 seconds

Video #5 (final video) – “I love you with all my heart.”

34 seconds

29 thoughts on “Joshua Giannini leaves video suicide letters of love”

  1. I wish I’d known Josh better. What a big heart he had.
    Addiction is a horrible debilitating disease, soul crushing & heartbreaking, not just for the addict, but for their family and friends as well.
    Thanks. I appreciate your posting this.

  2. This is one of the most intimate, vulnerable and courageous posts I’ve ever read. Watching Joshua’s videos to his mother has taken me to my knees in anguish. What I wouldn’t give to know what was going through my son’s mind when he used heroin that one last time after 7 month’s clean. We all want to believe that it wasn’t intentional, but the reality is that we will never REALLY know. When his mother wrote for us to just imagine that it was our son or daughter speaking through Joshua, I reluctantly did so as I felt every single word, sigh, and tear he expressed. She truly honored his request to be strong and help someone by sharing her story and these videos. I am in awe by the amount of strength, faith, and love she has shown to us all.

    1. It is indeed courageous. And she asked me to post these not long after he died. For this community, to help other grieving parents. Our children who suffer addiction do love us. However they met their end.

  3. Joshua and I met in 2012. I (pride), entered ANOTHER recovery program. It was called NLFY, a wonderful Christian foundational program based in Richmond, VA. The men’s ranch was in Beaverdam resting on 118 acres with a beautiful, babbling brook that fed the James in Caroline Co. We became fast friends, like we knew each other from birth. It was surreal really. We both had similar and unique bends in our nature.
    Attitude about life… same.
    Hid our emotions with award winning Oscar preformances. Often with the same happy go lucky behavior so as to build unnreechable walls around our hearts, emotions/mental status and personal feelings like moats 20’w × 20’d around a well armored castle. Protected by our protorian guard. An personal inner army that builds stronger and stronger, tragedy by tragedy. It all started early in our lives as the separation and abandonment began its work in us. I believe we were both four. Both victims of sexual misçonduct forced upon us by male family members. Both completely lost with no where to alleviate what’s really going on inside. Living like wild abandoned men among that roaring lion who seeks to destroy us. I love Josh so damn much, and we’d check in with each other about one a month and talk for hours. He had keen awareness of himself, his surroundings and the world at large 24/7 through all hours of a day, while asleep and while awake. Other than my Grandfather, he is the ONLY human I’ve known in all my 42 years where I could turn off my walls and armor AND BE MYSELF! I haven’t met, me. But for a few waning hours of my life in total. God, I miss him so fucking much. I’m still having a really fucking hard time with this one…
    We hurt so many loved ones it’s to many to count. Because of our self built walls and overall personal safety emotionally speaking. We became over-controlling by default. And we found, that through our own anger and vile towards those we felt were responsible for some difficult times and circumstances, had only waged adverse effects detrimental tendencies upon us…
    Which again by default was wrongly given back to those that love us dearly.
    — BUT —
    He was a deep thinker, and I loved that about him!!

    1. Scott!!! Thank you…. thank you. I would LOVE to talk to you. Spend some time with you if you’re willing. Thank you for revealing his heart. And YOUR heart. What a treasure you are. Diane

  4. I stumbled across this horror today quite by accident. Joshua painted our house a few years ago. He did a wonderful job and told us to contact him if we ever needed something painted. This morning we were discussing having some painting done but didn’t have Joshua’s information so we contacted John Holland who is a neighbor of ours. We discovered who Josh was when Lukas Holland arrived at our home on his bike one day to chat with his brother briefly. John told us that Joshua passed away recently which led me to look for his obituary which then led me to see this site and watch those heart breaking videos. It all touched me deeply and I decided to send you this note just to tell you that. I lost a son as well but not to drug addiction or suicide. Josh seemed very nice and I got the feeling that he and Lucas shared a brotherly bond. My heart goes out to you and I wish you all the best.

  5. I wish our son had even left a letter. But I’m going to imagine this is what he would have said.

  6. Thank you for sharing these videos. Your son’s love for you comes through so strongly. It is not easy to lose a child. It is always always nature backwards. We mothers are nurturers and that is why it hurts so much. We want to protect, to hold, to take away all the hurt. It is so clear that the pain he carried was too much for him. Your love was never in doubt. My heart breaks for all of us whose children have died, no matter how, it is so painful. Lonely. And it never goes away.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story–so many mothers & fathers have lost a child to suicide & addiction–I too lost my son my best friend at 38-we had such a wonderful mother & son bond & he always felt safe to tell me anything–I will treasure all our conversations–he is truly missed but I knew he was suffering w/bi-polar disease & tried to deal with it with alcohol & pot–I’m so sorry for your loss–take your time to grieve–counseling will help–stay strong–will be praying for you–hoping you will find some peace one day—treasure all your memories & those last videos–just hold on to how much he loved you–and knew how much you loved him–so sorry you have to go through this–

  8. My son Joey was a health fanatic, he loved the great outdoors, his motorcycle, his cars and truck and his family. He just was sad, he sought lots of help on his own. His days and nights were reversed. He died by suicide at the age of 31. He was so kind and so easily hurt.

  9. Thank you for sharing. My son Clayton will be forever 21. He would be 37 now if he was still here. He has been gone 15 years & it has gotten a little easier but I still miss him as much as ever although I can talk about him now without bursting into tears. Your sons videos are so meaningful & at least you will always have them & be able to hear his voice. Thank you.

  10. I could hear my daughter in his words and this just brought me to tears. Everything he says is everything we struggle with when we lose a child to addiction. However, something came to me for the first time in years — he died with dignity. He had a disease and he chose to die with dignity. It is legal in our state for terminally ill patients to die by suicide. Addiction Disease is terminal unless found in very early stages – like cancer. He was very selfless and courageous to do what he did because he knew you would raise awareness through his death. He knew. God help us fight for each one of them.

  11. I’m so happy that you get to see and hear this Vedio of your son, yeah the pain is so intense after the loss of our sons but you have this ,it’s a gift from him he truly truly
    did love you to do this for you
    Amazing ! Don’t do the would of should could of dance in your head listen to your heart
    This will heal you over time !
    I’m approaching the 2 year mark and I have waves that crush me to the core but I get up and keep moving along in life , yeah unfortunately I will and you will never be the same
    But it’s possible to live a different life that’s what I’m trying to get use to still ! Ugh!
    Be strong momma

  12. Wow…in one sense I am happy she has these videos but oh how painful..tears in my eyes because i have heard these same words in a different context…as I am walking out the door to go visit my son in jail…and he is only there because he cant stay clean long enough to satisfy probation requirements that were placed because of a simple possession of heroin…

  13. Dianne – I am so proud of you for what you have been able to do this soon. I am 5 years into this and am just now beginning to be able to do those things. And these tapes are such a blessing for you. It doesn’t make it any better, with him gone. But believe me, I would give the moon to have some note, some video, some message, some reasoning, something. One day we were texting, and the next day he did not show up for work…..My heart is with you.

  14. What a brave, strong thing to do to share her Joshua’s last words with us all. The desperation in his voice just amplifies the lack of resources and ability to find mental health and addiction care in this country. Voices like Joshua’s and Diane’s need to be heard. We need to continue to fight for our children and loved ones so that they can recover and survive.

  15. Thank you for allowing me to share my son, Joshua and his compassionate heart with others who are devastated by the loss of their child…. My prayer is that every Mother watching will see and hear their own child speaking to them thru these videos. Diane Fielder McCormick

    1. So very sad…Thank you for your kindness to share….Many huggs and prayers sent to you 💙💙💙💙💙💙💙

    2. Hi Diane ,
      I lost my eldest son in the same way in august 2016 , like you I expected an overdose , but not suicide. At first I was calm on the surface , but I was totally berethed and empty . My heart goes out to you . I’m healing now . My consultation is that he was totally loved and that he is at peace now . X

    3. God bless and be with you in your grief journey you share with the rest of us. I am devastated not only by the loss of my own son, forever 37, but by the increasing number I see completing suicide day after day. I want to help in some way, any way that I can, to help all these people suffering and decrease the number of people choosing suicide. Prayers for everyone, Amen

    4. Thank you for sharing. My daughter, Katie, completed suicide Aug. 13, 2015. Her very last words to me were “Goodbye, Mama.”

    5. How are you doing? How long ago did you lose Joshua? Can you feel his spiritual presence with you? Suicide survival changes you to the core, but losing a child to addiction and suicide is just unimaginable pain. I am so sorry.

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