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The First Kiss & Meeting the Family

April 1, 2004 | Jason dropped me off at home, and we both got out of the car for a hug. We were standing in the driveway under the beam of my family’s security light. When we let go, he leaned down and kissed me! Just one kiss, sweet and beautiful. His brown eyes sparkled as he smiled and said goodnight. In one fluid movement, he bit his lip, straightened up and turned on his heel like he had to get away quickly.

As soon as I got in the house, my phone lit up with a call. Jason said he missed me already.

On Sunday, I followed his handwritten directions to Ridgeland. We met at the gas station in town, and I followed him to the brown house. Flowers were blooming everywhere, and the weather was perfect, so they had the doors and windows open. Jason showed me around and scolded their cat Tabby who was making herself comfortable on the stairs.

At a little church in Hardeeville I met Jason’s dad who told me that I have a beautiful smile. His grandfather was so welcoming and enthusiastic about the service. I imagined Jason being just like him one day.

Depression & Hoping to Write a Happy Ending

September 6, 2006 | When I started writing in this journal, the content was so much different from what I’m writing now. This journal features just a few select windows- or peeks- into episodes of my life. I quit using it off and on- some of my writing is on Xanga online. I started that right after Jason and I started dating. After Jason died, I poured my heart into my laptop, but I don’t have my laptop now, so here is a rare, hand-written entry in a journal that has been neglected.

So now, it moves shockingly through my adult life like the staccato notes on a piano. The music does not lull, but jumps with a blunt thump from uncertain dating, to finding my love Jason, to a severely broken heart that is trying to sort through life. What will be written at the end of this journal- if I ever get that far?

So last night I went out to drink with my friend who just turned 21. I saw a guy come out of the bathroom wearing the blue shirt that Jason used to wear, or it looked like it anyway. I want to cry to someone, try to make them understand that it hurts, but if I act all depressing, no one will want to be around me.

I think that only Jason cared about me, but that’s not true. My parents do, and Caleb needs me. Jason left so much to hold me to life. But few people would try to bring me back if I completely faded away into depression. I want to be around friends, and I’m pushing the sorrow down, smiling, and trying to be social in a cruel world.

If I think of Santee,  I see him there. I picture him driving me there and opening the door. Sometimes I feel like he can’t be gone, because I guess his presence is so fresh in my mind.

Write a Happy Ending Before You Run Out of Pages

Jason and I at Santee, 2004

When I drive to Beaufort in the morning I cry, but I smile when I get to work. You have to repress the pain. It drives people away, and I cannot speak the words that describe it.

I was reaching for something in the office closet at my parents’ house, and seemingly out of nowhere, a pocket knife dropped on the floor in front of my feet.

The idea of suicide crossed my mind, but no matter how harsh life is, I always have the feeling that things will get better, and I want to know what happens next.

I’ve imagined rolling my truck, but the other Explorer was flipped right after Jason died, and it held up, so chances are, mine would too. Trust Jason to abandon me in this world but leave me with a safe vehicle.

Most of all, he left me with Caleb, the one true anchor holding me to the earth. I figure if I wrote a suicide note, all it could say is “I miss Jason,” and maybe that I love him more than life itself. But if I started to write that note, I would need to write something for Caleb. It would say that I love him- and that is enough reason to stay.

I wonder if Jason believed that I love him. I imagine us talking- whole scenarios where I am trying to tell him how deeply I love him.

I started this journal describing new love, but now that he’s gone it’s depression. Maybe, before I run out of pages, I’ll be able to write a happy ending.


I need to know why you did this to me Widow Repair

~Written on July 27, 2006~

Dear Jason,

I need to know why you did this to me.

We got the toxicology report back today. I found the Ativan pills that you had in a Tylenol bottle upstairs. When I found it, I assumed that you thought they were pain pills, and I was sure that you didn’t know how strong they were. I believed that what you did was the result of unknowingly taking a dangerous prescription drug, and I was sure that you never knew what was happening. I just had to give you the benefit of the doubt. I have been keeping faith in you for four months.

The toxicology report came back today, and there was no Ativan in your system. I had to get away and cry, but then I got mad. I tried to go by the cemetery, tried to ask you, “Why did you do this to me?!” But I know that you’re not there, and you can’t hear me, and I can’t stay there alone for more than 3 minutes.

You left me with no explanation.


There Was Nothing External in Jason’s Life That Would Drive Him to Suicide.

During the months before he died, we had no more stress than the average family. In comparison to the business and financial problems of last year, things had greatly improved.

We were learning so much together as new parents. We went out with his cousin and his wife and enjoyed live music at Wild Wings two weekends in a row. He was loving the new recipes I was trying with the help of my church cookbook. His favorite was the honey chicken, and we had it for dinner on that Sunday night.

We had a disagreement on Friday morning just like any normal couple, but we made up with one phone call. He had such a hot temper but was always so quick to apologize. We were also delighted to have a young guest stay with us that night. Jason was a favorite with his nieces and nephews. Later that weekend, we even lined the bedroom with candles.

With Everything So Normal, What Were the Inconsistencies?

I can picture him walking out of the powder room. He placed his hand on the wall to steady himself, laughed and said, “I’ve  had a few dizzy spells lately.” He did not seem concerned, and as for me, I’ve had plenty of dizzy spells.

There was a slightly elevated level of Adderall in his system, but it was said to be inconsequential. I often worried that this drug was over-prescribed, and I commented to Jason that he seemed so much happier and lighthearted on the weekends when he was not taking it. His response: “I need it to concentrate for work.”

What stands out most in hindsight is that he misplaced some of the things that he always carried. He lost his partials (false teeth) that weekend. On Monday morning, he couldn’t find his wallet or cigarettes.

I was so young when I got married, and I had no experience with emotional issues or subtle physical symptoms that I saw within the last few days of his life. I have wished that I could go back and tell the world about the symptoms I did see, but at the time, nothing struck me as being serious. Nothing alerted me to the ultimate severity of what happened that day.

In an Effort to Understand, I Have to Go Back.

He had multiple surgeries for a brain tumor as a child. Possibly, the tumor came back, so he decided that ending his life would be better than going through more surgeries. Maybe he felt that he should save us from going through it with him.

Although Jason was proud, he still worried about his appearance, especially the partials.

Emotionally, Jason was very insecure, though he was good at hiding it. Over the two years we spent together, I often had to reassure him that people close to him were not trying to take advantage, or that business professionals were not planning to undermine him.

Spiritually, he was always anxious. He was under the impression that he had to be perfect to win God’s favor. This belief put intense pressure on him, and nothing I said or showed him changed his mind.

He didn’t listen when I told him to see a Christian counselor. Like I heard on the radio today, modern Christians rely on God only for shallow problems, and they run to doctors with complex issues. It’s a destructive cycle.

What I Know About Jason’s Death

I was ready to write Jason off today. I wanted to take down his pictures and ignore the stabs of memory when I heard songs that he used to sing. But his personality was able to shine through despite anxious moments. Those are the times that captured my heart and made me love him.

Jason is in heaven, and I will join him there one day. Only his true self will be there- no more anxiety, insecurity or spiritual confusion. The devil has no more control over his mind and emotions.

My husband had a hard life, emotionally and physically, but he was also motivated with plans for the future. We were going to start making payments on the brown house, and he talked to his dad about putting up a pasture for horses. The kids would have ponies. He wanted for us to have more children and joked that we would have a baseball team.

Leaving us was never his plan.

Have You Lost Someone to Suicide?

I’ve read so much about the signs of an impending suicide. The more I read shows me that Jason’s story was unusual. Please share your experience. Do you have unanswered questions?