Josh was supposed to start sixth grade that Tuesday morning.
On Labour Day weekend, September 1, 2018, Joshua Steinburg would spend his last weekend at his father’s cottage on the St. Lawrence River at Rockport, Ontario. He was returning in their boat with his father, older brother and two other children from a swim and an errand to get gas and ice cream. The trip was only about 2 kilometers. They hit large waves and capsized. Josh hit the water and never resurfaced. It took 49 days to find and retrieve him from the bottom of the St. Lawrence River.
Josh was supposed to start sixth grade that Tuesday morning. His back-to-school items still sit untouched in his room today. Josh was 11 years old. Not only was he my son, but an adored brother, friend, grandchild, cousin, nephew, and student. He brought light to everyone who met him through his easy kindness, sense of humor, compassion, and friendliness.
Josh’s funeral was on October 30, 2018, and was attended by over 800 people. His visitations were attended by over 1,200. The accident was covered by major news outlets and the subsequent search was widely followed and shared on social media. It was a nightmare no parent should ever live through.
What we wouldn’t give to turn back the clock.
I have struggled with why Josh wasn’t wearing a life jacket that day even if for a short trip. Over the course of those 49 days searching the river, the shoreline, rocks and docks or waiting for news, I watched as boat after boat and parent after parent made that very same decision. Many people who admitted that both they and their children do not wear life jackets on a consistent basis vowed to change that following Josh’s accident.
I realized that this is a problem with boating culture and that Josh can make a difference and help other children. I am also driven to make sure no other parent will again experience this pain, grief and loss.