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His Life

Celebrating Joosep on his birthday

March 22
Joosep has always been our angel, Joosep came into our lives on 22 March 2000, 24 years ago today, always smiling, hugging and infectiously giggling

We are remembering Joosep in celebration of that day and every day that he was with us here. We have just shared many new photos and videos of young boy Joosep just doing his thing, always bringing joy to family and friends. 

Please share more of your own photos, videos and stories :-)

warmest wishes to all, Tiia and Robert

Sharing Memorials

May 15, 2023
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Coping the past two years has been indescribably painful and difficult. And we think back to 2021 when we bade our farewells to Joosep. We would now like to share a few things from that time.
We would to share with everyone the video recording of Joosep's Memorial Service on 25 May 2021 which took place in Monterey, California USA where Joosep lived for nearly three years. The service began with the sounds of the ocean waves that Joosep loved. The service offered prayers and eulogies from his cousin Daniel, his Godfather Ants, from his aunt and Godmother Monica, his friend Ryan, his sister Leenu and brother Kaalep, and us.From his loved ones to all, on everyone's behalf. It is rich with music we associate with Joosep. Althought the video remains for us both a painful reminder of our deep grieving at the inconceivable loss of Joosep, it also represents testimony to our joyful memories and pays tribute to Joosep big heart and for the extraordinary life he lived.
The Memorial Service programme is also here.
Here also are the announcements for the Celebration of Joosep's Life at the Monterey Beach on that same day organised by Joosep's friends Calvin, Ryan and his fraternity brothers.
Finally we share the announcements and programme for Joosep's funeral in Vigala, Estonia. In July 2021, two months after his passing, we brought Joosep's ashes back to Estonia, where he was born, for his funeral service and for his burial place beside his great great grandparents Jüri and Mai Juhkam.
With our prayers and warm wishes, Tiia and Robert

Joosep Juhkami Matusetalituse leht / funeral leaflet - Vigala, Estonia

May 15, 2023
Joosep Juhkami Matusetalituse leht / funeral  leaflet - 1. juuli 2021.a. Vigala, Estonia

Matusetalituse teade / notice of funeral

May 15, 2023
Matusetalituse teade / notice of funeral - 1. juuli 2021.a. Vigala, Eesti

Notice of Joosep Life Celebration Beach

May 15, 2023
Joosep Life Celebration at Beach

Memorial service leaflet

May 15, 2023
Joosep's Memorial Service leaflet Monterey Bay 25 May 2021 

Joosep’s bright shining light ️

May 15, 2023
12 May 2023 
Joosep’s bright shining light 

Dear Joosep’s family and friends around the world,

Two years along…

On 22 March, we celebrated Joosep’s 23rd birthday, reveling in our joy at having had Joosep with us for 21 years.

Today as we collectively recall our loss, we humbly ask you to light a candle at sundown on the 13th of May in Joosep's memory and remembrance of his life. He shone a light for us all, let’s keep the light shining on.

As parents, we continuously feel brilliant memories and experience endless pain. Though our hearts break at losing him too too early, we celebrate his memory and rejoice that he found his peace. We feel the joy he brought and feel his continued presence as an angel of God.

We want that 13 May, although a day of grieving at our loss, is a day to invoke positive remembrance. Joosep would understand that we all still grieve and that we are sad. But he wouldn't want us mourning and weeping only. He would understand and want that we use this day to warmly honour his memory as we mourn his absence.

So please help us to keep nurturing his joyful, giving spirit by spreading kindness and care toward others. And to keep honouring Joosep’s big, kind heart and soul. Foster the shared love and warmth; Enjoy the music; Love the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers and all of God’s creations; Laugh the laughs; Hug as Joosep did with love and ‘bearly’ big—cherish all that was dear to Joosep and all that you shared with Joosep.

We are deeply touched and eternally grateful for Joosep’s Rye Neck friends and families; to the Rye Neck Black Hat community and friends who planted a tree in Joosep’s memory near the football field at Rye Neck High School, which they all felt was appropriate and that it would make Joosep smile. 

Leenu, Kaalep and we hope that you will share, with all of us, more of your stories, photos and music related to Joosep…what’s in your mind and in your experience. This is a practical thing that we will help to keep his light strong and bright around the world, and keep him closer to us.

For those who never met Joosep, you can look and read and this way can have a window to our boy who we so loved.

You can continue to share these at his memorial page Joosep Forever Missed. You can subscribe to notifications to see what others have shared.

Please pass the word.... we don't have all the email addresses we wished.

We are gradually again starting to upload our own many many photos and videos of Joosep. Also we will share Joosep’s Memorial Service in Monterey Bay Seaside on May 25th, 2021.

Goes without saying to feel free to write us direct, and/or, if you prefer, to send any photos or stories to Tiia or Robert directly by email ( or WhatsApp (Tiia +372 53057786, Robert +372 53057704). In turn, we can share them to the webpage, if you wish, for when any of us want to have a look or a read. Or if you wish, we’ll just keep them as mementos.

Just please remember. Write, don’t write, read, don’t read, look, don’t look, listen, don't listen… please don’t feel obligated for anything. We understand.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Stay well, with all our love, Tiia Robert

Open letter from Joosep's parents - Tribute to Joosep and the pain we share

May 15, 2023
Open letter - Tribute to Joosep and the pain we share 

Losing Joosep is not only our family’s loss.

The world lost a young man who would have been a wonderful husband, caring and loving dad, empathetic and strong leader, devoted environmentalist, patriot of freedom and free speech, fun and reliable friend, respectful and helpful neighbor, trustworthy and hardworking colleague, unselfish and compassionate human being.

Joosep was a caring and kind soul who never hesitated to help or protect the others. He always stood up against unfair and unjust. There was no work that he wouldn’t do, no heavy lifting was heavy enough for him and his loving bear hug could heal any sadness. We are certain that Joosep became a guardian angel, a “heaven strongman” to protect us all.

At Joosep’s memorial we said that Joosep, our dear beloved son, brother, godchild, nephew, cousin, and friend…… brought joy and meaning to us. To the world ….

We said we were lucky to be with him here on earth, and that he remains, for us and all living beings, the light that shines bright and carries us forward….

“There are those who bring a light so great to the world that even after they are gone the light shines bright."

Joosep shines bright, in our hearts, deeply in our souls.

“There are not better or worse times. There is only the present moment.”

Joosep lived his life, with curiosity, with passion, without hesitation…. Always for the moment.

He was a lovely boy and a wonderful young man, full of compassion for others and the natural world around him.

We always trusted him and we now forgive him, just as we ask his forgiveness of us for being so far away, not being able to give him a hug and simply be next to him.

We believe he found his peace and better place to be. We asked that he please does not worry about us and knows that he lives on in our hearts and memory forever.

Over the months we have noticed his presence around us in the form of a butterfly, waving leaves, singing birds, bright fireflies, unexplainable coincidences,

soothing wind, ocean waves, gentle raindrops or warm sunshine and rainbows.


What happened with Joosep?

One year ago, our world came crashing down. Shattered beyond recognition.

We received a late-night call from California to Colombo that our dear son Joosep, recently turned 21 years old, was killed in a car crash near his university campus. Joosep died instantly.

Our hearts stopped a second time when we learned of Joosep’s handwritten and personally addressed goodbye notes. We learned the accident was intentional. 

Joosep did not leave us without saying his final goodbyes. He explained his thinking, and he said his peace.

Disbelief, shock and pain took over our lives. 

The depth of pain experienced is very hard to explain in words. These flooded us:
  • Shock
  • Physical revolt…. our own immediate physical pain
  • Disbelief and difficulty accepting the inconceivable
  • Unbearable emotional pain
We have been
  • Confused, confounded, distraught and distressed
  • Disoriented, helpless
  • At times Lost, at times Depressed
We experience
  • Remorse and Regret for what is now, compared to what might have been…. His dreams not fulfilled, our dreams shattered.
  • Unavoidably contemplating whatever failures there may have been on our part as parents over the years.
All turning to
  • Anger
  • Emptiness
  • Sorrow
  • Pervaded by the unending deep deep sense of Loss
We had always lived as family for each other and now there is an empty space, an empty chair, a missing voice

Confusing as it is, conjoined with all of that is our sense of:
  • Hope, understanding, and deep deep gratitude for JOOSEP in our lives, which is the gift and the will to live on….. All the memory of joy and laughs and love that Joosep brought to our lives and lives of so many others.

As said, our son ‘s car crash was not an accident in the sense one normally means. Joosep decided to end his own life. He felt he had reasons.

This is difficult to admit. More difficult to speak about. Even more difficult to accept. 

Difficult enough to lose a friend, partner, or loved relative. Difficult enough to lose a parent. Difficult enough to lose a sister or brother, especially at a young age.

Unimaginable to lose Joosep. Impossible to accept the loss of our child. As parents: birthed, nurtured, raised, supported, and learned from.

Inconceivable to lose our Joosep this way. We know other parents, recently many too many, who sadly have lost their children who decided to end their lives. As with them, so with us…. the emotions and questions are different. Contrary to an accident being caused by some other factor, there is no one to blame, like if someone or something else caused death, to whom a parent could direct their blame and anger and frustration.

We certainly cannot and do not blame Joosep.

As painful as it is to say, we respect his decision, although we still cannot accept the sheer loss. We know it; but cannot emotionally accept it.


In fact, there appears no way to reconcile his passing. It doesn’t matter how he died, why he died.

What is most painful for us is that he simply is no longer with us.

Ultimately: a deep yearning for his physical and total human presence, and the wish to see him live all that he hoped for, and all that we hoped for him.

We are overwhelmed by the finality of it.

Difficult to acknowledge, impossible to accept. Yet we learn day by day to cope with the anguish that will continue for us until we too pass on.


From Joosep we have the notes he wrote and left for us. One each to mom, dad, elder sister, younger brother. One to his two best friends at his university.

And a separate note he called his explanation, parts of which we share here. One small page, letting us know why he was to do what he finally did.

He said:

There is very little that can change my mind.” He said, “ever since I can remember, I have had this inkling feeling that I don’t belong on this earth

I have always questioned life and the reason why I am here

More often than not I have a voice in my head (sound like my own) telling me to just go and end it, and I have come to that point.”

He also wrote: “Certain failures and an inability to maintain motivation have also led me here.”

He went on to say:

I want everyone to know that I am not leaving in sorrow or full of regret, but rather happy for the life I have managed to live. This may be still early in my life but at least I get to choose how I leave and without disappointment.”

He said:

“I love you with all my heart.”

Joosep wanted us to know that he was content with his decision.

His only wish for all of us was to keep him in our hearts.


We trust Joosep; that his decision was thoroughly made. He sounded clear and thoughtful. He sounded lucid and in search of meaning. His clear decision, with clear resolve...He was like that.

Joosep chose his pathway to what he must have felt was towards a better tomorrow beyond this world and we have to accept and respect it.

Painful as it is, yet, as parents we respect our son’s decision, and we ask everyone to respect it as well. 


While saying all this, also we wish to point out that, one year down the road, we realise that Joosep may have needed specific support. Nothing concrete in this sense. We had no inkling of concern from him, no unusual sayings or messages from him. Indeed he was in touch, we spoke. In our last conversations he talked of the year and years ahead, we had joint plans for the coming summer.

All parents who raise and worry for their children recognize that people struggle at different points in life. Parents recognize this especially when their own children are facing difficulties, even if small ones…. Joosep too had day to day trials, like all people, with school, or work, or relationships, and even just with day to day.

Yet, with Joosep having clearly decided to take his life, we are confronted with the uncertainty that we didn’t know the extent or depth of what might have been going on in his life and with what thought in his mind. Joosep was the embodiment of positive spirit, with little tendency to dwell on or complain about difficulties. In this sense, we don’t fully know what led to or contributed to his decision.


We’d like you to understand why we avoid using the word 'suicide', and the phrase 'to commit suicide'; a historical, technical, old medical term literally conveying ‘the killing of oneself’. A phrase that somehow also assigns blame to the person.

We don't subscribe to the term 'killing'. It wrongly associates death by 'suicide'—what could actually be understood as self-determined, self-directed death due to possible mental illness or impaired health or a vision or…—with criminal or sinful or dishonourable actions. Thus unfairly stigmatising that personal decision, and the person who makes it. Joosep was, maybe, yes, a victim of circumstances, but he also made his own decision. He was his own agent, who can’t be blamed for doing what he felt needed to happen.

Our Pastor at our church in Vigala, Estonia, has said that God works in ways we don’t always know or may not understand. We do not judge Joosep.

So instead, we say, and we’d like everyone to understand and acknowledge it this way, that Joosep decided when and how to end his life.


We do not want to be misunderstood: do not take what we say about respecting Joosep's decision as generally condoning the idea of and the decision of ending one's life. Maybe because there are a million different ways to live. And living is it.

It's just that, being where we find ourselves now, looking at what he wrote, we cannot judge him. Instead, we respect him and his decision, despite that we would have counselled him as best we knew to consider other perspectives and live on, had we known what he was thinking to do.

We respect him, despite the pain of loss it means for us, and despite knowing there were and always are countless ways to learn to live in our world. And countless ways to seek help and give help to make it easier and always better. Ways that might just have given him the desire to live on.

We only regret that we couldn't have been there over those many many months we were apart—due to Covid, due to his own wish to live and work in Monterey, not remotely from our home or some other place—to help him with such a path and possible realisation. 

We would do anything to have the past back, with a future to look forward to with Joosep. To have more information, more knowledge. A chance to talk more. To have it all back. This is where the pain hits hard. Namely, that maybe one small thought exchanged, one small experience, and Joosep might have decided differently and be with us here today. Struggling maybe, unsure maybe, but still here with us. And finding a way to live life to the fullest, without pain or regret.

It is important to care and to be as aware as possible of what your children, family members, friends and just people around us, are thinking and how they are getting along. To intervene in a supportive way. To support those who it seems may be contemplating ending their lives; to help find whether another path might be right.


So of course, as parents we unavoidably revert back. We think about everything, and absolutely anything at all that is committed to memory, and we look for faults in what we might have done or not done.

Maybe it happens to all parents who lose their children in any way. It’s what is happening to us. We reconcile that this mental process will never stop.

It hasn’t been easy. We cried. We still cry.

We're not crying for him. We're crying for ourselves because he is not here with us now and because we miss him and will miss all those future times together with him that will not come to pass.


Bringing us to the many moving and heartfelt condolences that we received, and to the memorializing that many of you carried out …. From Rye Neck to Portugal, from Dhaka to Bangkok, from New York to Colombo, and from the USA to Sweden to Canada and Estonia, across the world….. These literally brought and continue to bring tears of appreciation to our eyes as we read your own remembrances and stories, and look at your photos and videos.

On behalf of Kaalep, Leenu, Tiia and Robert, our most heartful thanks again for your condolences, your words and acts of support.

Your gestures and acts gave us the love and energy to bear the pain and continue on.

As said we cry for ourselves because Joosep is no longer with us.

But we also cry at the pain that others including yourselves suffer. The pain of what you have had to witness. The pain of your own loss of Joosep.

We cry with appreciation when others empathise and express sympathies because it keeps us close to Joosep.


We are changed persons.

We live on and we build back up. We create our new world loving and caring for each other, and for Leenu and Kaalep.

We live on for our family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and in respect of the memory of Joosep, who remains in our hearts.

We want you to understand where we are at as family. The struggle will go on and we ask for your understanding and support.

When we meet, or see you, or talk to each other, don't mind us, do mind us. Ask questions, don’t ask questions. It’s all ok. If we appear out of sorts at times, it is to be expected, so no worries. No need to fret. No need to be shy, and on the other hand, don’t feel you need to say anything or do anything. We will also avoid that we feel we need to say something. But also don’t be afraid to say something, or to ask something. All is good


Thank you for patiently letting us bear witness to suffering, to pain, to remembering, to celebrating Joosep.

This, in and of itself, helps us to cope.

This also helps us to memorialize and honour Joosep with you.

One year on, thank you and remember...

May 14, 2022
One year on since our Joosep departed our world to God’s home in heaven…..

Joosep died on 13 May 2021. Joosep’s memorial service was held on 25 May 2021 at Mission Memorial Park, in Monterey, California where he was a studying Marine Science.

Joosep’s Burial Service was held on 1 July 2021 at Vigala Maarja Church, Estonia where Joosep was baptised. As was his grandfather Haljand. On this day Joosep’s ashes were buried next to his great, great grandparents in Vigala Cemetery.

It has been a journey of endless agonizing grief and disbelief, sadness and tears, questions and coping with the painful reality of the loss of Joosep.

We are profoundly grateful for the prayers, good thoughts, gestures, and support that we have received. Your support helps us to stay strong and get through the most painful times. Our heartfelt thank you to all of you for being there for us!

Joosep asked us to keep him in our hearts, and we ask you to keep him in your memories. We miss Joosep. Three simple words that carry such a heavy weight of indescribable feelings.

We hope that Joosep’s memory page can be a source of joy and inspiration to you. You see, Joosep was a genuine joy. A social, caring person. One who also took on the burdens of others, without complaint, indeed with pleasure and commitment. Keep posting. Tell your stories and share your memories of Joosep.

We’ve put more photos and videos. This site will stay, visit now and again, please.

As you visit, we invite you to begin by reading the open Letter that we shared on the about page….

Tiia and Robert