Whether it’s in a comfy chair or couch, in a restaurant or listening to an audio book in the car, the Streetts are a family of readers.
When Josslyn met her husband Robert’s parents, she said they had a wall full of book cases, which resonated with her and became a similar aesthetic in her and Robert’s Sequim home.
Before coming here, the family of four traveled 31,000 miles across the country in an RV looking for the right place to raise their young family.
Reading became a staple, Josslyn said, and even up to their last trip together, the family would read out loud together.
The Streetts brought along “Boys in the Boat,” a popular book especially in the Sequim area, to listen to while on a road trip to Sedona, Ariz., and Robert’s family reunion in Pagosa Springs, Colo.
But the family didn’t get the chance to listen to the book.
On July 20, while traveling on U.S. Highway 160 in Colorado, the Streetts were struck in a head-on-collision in Colorado taking the lives of Robert, 52, and Robby, 16.
Months later, after some healing and space, the Streetts are hosting a memorial service for the father and son at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, in the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S Peabody St, Port Angeles.
Friends and neighbors Rich and Becky Johnson will facilitate the service, which includes songs and be opened up for friends to share stories.
Josslyn said she and Sawyer, her and Robert’s 14-year-old son, chose the library because of their family’s passion for reading.
“When we first moved here, their favorite place was the library and as they got older they’d ride their bikes there,” she said.
Robert signed up to be a member of the North Olympic Library System’s board of trustees because “he felt it was another way to help out,” Josslyn said.
Last year, he marched in the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s parade to promote awareness to help expand the Sequim Library.
Robby, who loved being around books, led his dad to help the library, Josslyn said, because he was a volunteer first at the Sequim Library.
“Robby’s favorite book was ‘Ready Player One.’ He read it 26 times and wrote to the author and received a letter back and signed copies of books,” she said.
“The movie was scheduled to come out on his birthday but it got delayed. We’ll have to set something up to go see it when it comes out.”
Along with the library, Robert was a visible servant in the community helping with Citizens for Sequim Schools, as an ambassador for Sequim and leading the networking breakfast for the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, as a member of Sequim Sunrise Rotary, and more.
Robby was excited to begin Running Start classes at Peninsula College as a junior at Sequim High School, Josslyn said.
He was consistently an honor roll student and a member of the high school’s Future Business Leaders of America.
Josslyn said since becoming more involved and opening his own business, Clear Water Bidet in Carlsborg, it’s “the happiest he’d been” as he’d take the boys to trade shows.
“He had so much energy and he genuinely liked people,” she said. “Ninety-five percent of his sales were online. He didn’t have to do all (the volunteering and networking). He just had so many things he was passionate about. We had a lot of plans and those plans are gone.”
A powerful impact
Since the wreck, Josslyn said she’s seen how much of an impact her family left on people with stories and gestures that have helped them a lot.
Community members created a Facebook community, “Friends of the Streetts,” that helped promote the family’s gofundme page and First Federal account, coordinate meals for Josslyn and Sawyer and provide a central spot for sending support.
Now the Streetts are encouraging family and friends to send Sawyer stories about Robert and/or Robby to email@example.com so that he’ll “remember his brother and dad as best possible,” Josslyn said.
The email account will remain open through January and then a friend of the family plans to turn the stories into a book for Sawyer.
“We’ve read some incredible stories so far, and I’ve learned some beautiful parts about them,” Josslyn said.
Leading up to the memorial service, she’s found the “community has gone above and beyond with donations of hotel rooms and food.”
The gofundme, which has raised more than $42,000 has helped pay for grief counseling, caregivers and immediate needs, Josslyn said.
She’s encouraging people interested in helping supporting the “Streett Memorial Gift Fund” through the North Olympic Library System, which will likely support the Sequim Library expansion in some capacity.
Robert’s business, Clear Water Bidet, is continuing to operate as well, with help from family and its existing employees.
Day by day
Josslyn said since the wreck they’ve been “living in the moment” and finding that “every minute is different.”
The Streetts have been supported by a 24-hour caregiver team with a mostly volunteer crew of her Reiki students and one paid caregiver.
Josslyn, a Reiki Master/Teacher/Reader for her Rain Shadow Reiki business, said she walked for the first time last week without a walker, and she’s been off oxygen for about one month
She broke several ribs, her wrists, had blood on the brain, a broken bone behind one of her eyes, some bruised organs, a collapsed lung, and she suffered a stroke after surgery that affects her speech and memory.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that Josslyn said she could feel her Reiki, a healing energy she says we can learn to channel.
She also finds her doctor with Olympic Medical Center has been respectful to balance naturopathic medicines with her antibiotics. Her goal is to eventually only use naturopathic medicines.
Sawyer remains in a wheelchair but is progressing ahead of schedule seeing a physical therapist a few times a week.
“He wants to be out of a wheelchair by the end of the year,” Josslyn said.
The Streetts continue to do grief counseling, which Josslyn said you don’t know when it’ll hit you.
“I mostly just miss them,” she said. “I grieve for them sometimes together, sometimes just for Robert, and sometimes for Robby.”
Since coming back to Sequim from Colorado, Josslyn said they’ve been grateful for the space and time to heal and the prayer.
“I know they’re lifting us up,” she said.
“That’s the beauty of living in a small town. You can impact people’s lives in a great amount.”
As they take steps to adjust to a new life in Sequim, Josslyn said her goals are to get healthy and look after Sawyer.
“Being a mom has always been my most important job — doubly for Sawyer now,” she said.
Josslyn said she has no regrets with her family.
“I told my boys everyday, I loved them. They know I loved them,” she said. “We loved being together.”
Looking ahead to the holiday season, the Streetts were considering what to do exactly without Robert and Robby.
For Thanksgiving, they’ll eat dinner with Robert’s friend Shenna Younger’s family, who invited them over.
For Christmas, they decided to decorate a Christmas tree with only angels.
“Everything is going to be different for us,” Josslyn said.
“But when traveling, we learned to do different things for traditions. Went to a restaurant on Thanksgiving last year. As long as we are all together it didn’t matter. That’s the difference. So we’re going to create new traditions – Sawyer and I.”
For more information on supporting the Streetts, visit www.gofundme.com/street-family-support-fund.
An account also was established for the family at Sequim First Federal branches.
Look for the “Friends of the Streetts” page on Facebook.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.