This is my beloved brother Joshua James Connolly. He was born December 10, 1985, and lost his battle with mental illness and drug addiction last Thursday, September 27th. He was 32 years old- just a few months shy of 33. He has a son- Troy -who is eight years old. My brother and Troy always lived with my parents because of my brother's struggle.
I feel like I never REALLY got to know my brother because of his mental illness and drug addiction consuming him. There was a sweet, loving brother deep on the inside. What I do know of him is that he had a good heart. As much as the choices he made broke everyone's hearts around him, I know that he didn't truly want to do that. I know he really loved those around him, just had a very difficult time due to his illness. My brother really loved being outside and hanging out with his son Troy. Thankfully I moved back home in 2012 to be with my family, where Josh and Troy were living at the time. That means I got to live with Troy the first four years of his life and help my brother and parents raise him. When Troy was two years old- he started having seizures. Over the years, my brother had to sleep with Troy in order to monitor him for seizures and he ended up saving Troy's life about seven times by administering emergency medicine to him. My brother also tirelessly researched different medicines to stop Troy's seizures until he found one that worked. Now Troy has been seizure free for over a year. Seeing this side of my brother was sweet. He really loved Troy and wanted to give him the best life he could. When Troy was around one year old, his mother abandoned him and Josh.
This is the hardest thing I've had to do in my life. I knew the consequences of drug abuse and knew that the opioid epidemic was really bad- I just hoped that my brother wouldn't become a part of it. Unfortunately, that hope was shattered when I got the call about his death. However, this is not the end. I know my brother experienced the hope of Jesus and knew that He was true. The other day I found a video that Troy took on my mom's cell phone one night. Josh was laying in bed and asking Troy if he wanted to know about Jesus. Troy said yes and my brother started sharing the gospel with him. This really touched me and I never knew he actually did this. My brother also had a profoundly impactful experience with God years ago, which he told me about as well. I think due to his mental illness he wasn't able to live out a "Christian life" but I know that my brother is the exact person that Jesus came to earth for. My brother never "fit in." He didn't have many friends, and I don't think he ever found his "place" in life. I think he had a hard time dreaming big and pursuing his passions because of the anxiety and depression. But God loved him and met him where he was at. God gave him a family that cared deeply for him and tried to love and help him as much as we could. I find peace knowing that my brother is now fully healed and living a joyful life in heaven.
In honor of Josh- I am asking for your help to support Troy's college fund. Many of you have asked what you can do, and in lieu of flowers, a donation would be appreciated. www.troyconnolly.com
Please leave a happy memory or photo on my brother's memorial website www.joshuajamesconnolly.com