It is certainly not going to be easy to do this Dave. This is Lonewolf.
I am telling this story because I was the one who was there when Jamie died...
Our son was 17 years old when he stole a golf cart in Illinois, went for a joyride on it, and ran it off into the river.
He was sent to Menard Prison by mistake.
(Or so they say....officials) He was only there for maybe 3 months or so.
It was enough to take his innocence away and to take the 'being' in life out of him.
While he was there, he was held down and some other prisoners cut his arms from wrists to shoulder,
then they raped him.
He was sent from there to Vienna Corrections Facility to serve his time out. He was released in April of '94.
He came home to live with us and could never find a job.
Someone who was still on probation and had stolen before was slipping between the cracks.
He would go to job interviews and they would throw his application in the trash can while he was sitting there.
I know, for I was sitting there with him.
He started drinking again and fell into another rough crowd.
Actually 14 and 15 year olds. One of them gave him a gun, a 14 year old.
The probation officer tested him on one of his visits and he was busted for the alcohol.
He wasn't supposed to be drinking as part of his probation.
About a week before they came to arrest him, he found out they were coming because of the test, and he knew that he would be sent back to prison.
He told me and his father that he would never go back.
He came home one night with the gun, a Glock 9mm.
He even showed it to me and Jimmie. I guess we must have been in a state of denial or something.
We should have taken it away from him, God in heaven only knows why we didn't; cause we sure don't.
He told us for about 4 to 5 days in a row that in less than a week he would be dead because he was going to shoot himself before he would let them take him to the pen again.
THE morning came, just as he said it would, and it was all because of us.
Jim and I decided that it would be best to call the Law and let them handle the situation because we didn't know how.
In the meantime, the night before, he would come into our bedroom just to say "Mom, I love you, Dad, I love you," all that night long.
Anyway, they showed up at our house about 2 hours after we had called them to tell them that he was at our house with a gun.
Twenty-five of them showed up and tried to storm into his bedroom.
They couldn't because he had the door barricaded.
He finally opened the door and had the gun to his head.
They made Jimmie go across the street and sit on the porch with an officer. They told me and our other son, Dale, that we couldn't go in there but we did anyway. They talked to him for 2 hours. Jamie requested that his minister be brought in. He talked with him for about 45 minutes, prayed with him, and told him that he would turn himself in.
Well, this whole time the preacher was there, the damn gun laid on the bed where anyone of them could have taken it. Nobody bothered to do that. Still haven't figured that one out yet.
Anyway, at this time the SGT. told Jamie that they had been there for 2 hours and he had said that he would not shoot himself in front of his Mother, and it was about time to wrap things up.
Jamie looked at me and said, "Mother, I want to go to Oscar." "Bury me by Papa." (My father). And he shot himself in the head. End of story? No just the beginning.
Our son, Dale, just went berserk. Knocked out two cops and took off running. Went and got a gun and was going to get the cops. Of course he didn't get to finish that one out. He couldn't go back in the house, so he stole some pills from my mother and tried to sell them so he could have a place to stay.
At that time, Jimmie was only drawing $170 a month from VA and I was a CNA at a nursing home.
Dale was taken to jail to serve 3 years. He has stayed out of trouble since then and is now living with us and working. Doing pretty good.
Jamie died September 21, 1994. In January 1995, I tried to kill myself with an overdose of Ativan. I was sent to the State Hospital for mental illness. Stayed there for two weeks, and then came home. You know, you just can't get help when you really need it. No one is there.
After I came home, Jimmie's grandmother took us in and helped with the rent etc. until Jimmie got his full disability in August 1995. What hurts Jimmie so badly, is that Jamie said that he was coming home to help us, but never got the chance, since no one was willing to give him a job. Jimmie had all this money a year later, but we had lost our "Sunshine." That was his nickname from us.
But you know, one of the few things that people knew was that from the time he was 7 or 8 he had said that he would die by being shot in the head. This is what is so crazy that I can't make sense of. When I tried to kill myself, I had written in my journal that all I wanted to do was get inside Jamie's head to see what he was thinking, feeling, seeing, where had he gone. I thought that I was crazy.
Jimmie and I have had counceling ever since this happened, and it still doesn't answer any of the questions that we want to know. They just say that time will let it heal. What they don't know is that after four years it is still like it just happened. That is a permanent picture in my mind that I can't make go away. Let alone the thoughts and questions that Jimmie must have had while sitting on those steps, thinking..if they would just let him in the house. He would have taken a bullet just to get that gun away from him.
So many unanswered questions. When you actually see the light go out in your childs eyes it's a terrible thing. While he was at the hospital on a breathing machine,(God knows why, cause there wasn't anything left of him) the doctor was so rough on Jim when he asked things about Jamie. He was just so callus and unconcerned.
We had no money, no insurance, no way to bury him. The funeral home treated us like we were dirt. Wanted to bury him in a box. Jimmie just broke down. Couldn't stand the thought of that. The churches kicked in and paid for the burial. My mother and brother paid for the casket. And all our nightmares will never go away.
Jimmie has said that if this can help you or anyone who may read your web-page, you may use this story. Of course there is much more to this story, but I think for now this is as far as I can go. Thank you for listening and being there.
I will not attempt to say that I know how you feel. Because I cannot. I will not say that I know the reasons, for I do not. I cannot explain why your son did what he did. It is not my place.
Let me just write what I feel now. What is in my heart. I sincerely believe that everything has it's reasons.
First..Do not lay blame on yourselves. You have done nothing wrong. You were not and never will be the reason for his death. There was a reason that God called him, because that is where he now resides.
I see a young boy who was deeply attached to his grandfather, much as I was to mine. I worshiped everything that he did, since I spent a great deal of time with him and Gram while my parents worked. He spent long hours with me fishing and whitling, and digging worms. All to show me the wonders of nature. To give me an appreciation of what was around me in the way only a grandfather can do. This is not saying, Jimmie, that my father wasn't equally attentive...he was...when he had the time and ability. But a grandson forms an attachment to his grandfather in a special kind of way.
I went into the Army exactly 50 years to the day that my grandfather did. He ended up in an Infantry unit in France...a proud day for him, and the fullfillment that he needed before he passed on.
I know one thing. Jamie and his grandfather are once again united in love and happiness and with the absence of pain.
They both would like for you to live a life of memory, love, and happiness. You are not the cause. You are not the reason. You could not change the will of God and His desire to unite Jamie with his grandfather.
There is now time for you to go on and love one another. To enjoy the sights, sounds, and being, that surrounds us all. Know this, You have made a tremendous impact on me. You have given me the insight to deal with the pain of losing my Brothers. And the respect and love of two on the net who have confided this letter in me. I hope you will always regard me as your friend.
No...I cannot understand. No...I cannot answer why. And most importantly...It was not of your doing. Above all we need to know that He is our Shepherd. He holds the key. We are here to enjoy...Now and Forever more.