I am feeling a great need to tell the whole ugly story. It seems that if I write it maybe it will get out of my head. Probably won’t really happen that way but I am going to try.
Fact: My son did suffer from depression at various times through his life. Fact: He was a cutter. Fact: He heard voices on occasion. Fact: He was never properly diagnosed with any particular mental illness. My perspective: He appeared to become more and more unstable after he graduated high school. My perspective: He appeared extremely depressed October and November 2013. My perspective: He seemed brighter and significantly better December 2013. Fact: He was working toward changing things that were making him unhappy. He changed his major to art at our community college. He stated that his job was better thanks to a new store manager. He stated that his relationship with the girl was better. He had applied for 2 full time jobs that he really wanted. Fact: He was totally anti-illegal drug use. Fact: He was very dramatic and often theatrical. And then . . .
On Christmas Eve 2013, Zachary and I had a serious, heart-to-heart discussion. I openly admitted that I was wrong not accept the young woman he insisted was going to be his wife in the near future. I explained through tears that all along I was judging her through a mother’s eyes and I just didn’t see what she had to offer to him. I told him I would refocus and look at her through christian eyes and find what our family had to offer her. I wanted to make peace with the situation and learn to love her because it was obvious to me that he loved her. His love for her should have been enough all along for me to take the time to get to know her, but I am only human and as a mother I wanted something more for him. I was wrong for not accepting her with an open heart and open mind, but I promised him that I would make it right. After the sappy moments passed, he made fun of the Christmas cupcakes I made. He is an artist and I guess my icing drawn Christmas trees were funny to him. His artistic abilities had obviously not come from me. When my husband came home from his half day of work, we decided to go visit a family friend and take some of the cupcakes. Zachary decided not to go, he was waiting for a phone call from the girl to let him know she was home and he could come over. He told us he might be gone when we returned. His plan was to take her to a pet store, then open gifts at her house with her family. He said he would be home by 1 am. As we returned from our visit, he was just getting into his car to leave. For whatever reason, I didn’t speak to him; thankfully, my husband did: I love you man; don’t drink and drive. Zachary smiled his beautiful smile and waved as he got into his car. Zachary was 21 and had never failed to come home at whatever time he said he would so I had long since stopped waiting up for him.
My husband and I waited up long enough to do the Santa Claus thing and then went to bed. Not sure why we are still telling teenagers to go to bed early and still playing the Santa thing but we do. We went to bed anticipating an early morning of another great Christmas. Instead, I was hearing a noise that I could not wake up enough to identify. Slowly it pulled me from my sleep; it was my cell phone ringing. I missed the call; it was from the girl. I looked at the clock; why would she be calling me at 4:41 am. It quickly registered that something must be wrong. I went to Zachary’s room, he was not there. I went downstairs, his car was not in the driveway. I went back upstairs to my phone, no text from him with an explanation of why he wasn’t here. I tried to call him, no answer. I tried to call her, no answer. I asked my my husband to call him thinking if Zach had been drinking he wouldn’t want to tell me. My husband got no answer. I woke his sister, she called and got no answer. So we all rotated calling Zachary and the girl; no answer. I called the local hospitals; no patient by that name. I called the jails (not sure why); no inmate by that name. I text some of his friends, none of them had seen him. I called my mother and asked her to call him just in case he might answer her. No answers, no answers and no answers. I tried not to panic. It was still dark outside so the only thing I could think to do was wake his brother and open gifts; pass the time until the sun came up. When the sun finally did come up, his sister and I went to look for him; thinking maybe he had a wreck and no one saw his car off in a ditch. We didn’t get very far when my husband called and said come back home. I asked him if Zachary had come home; a moment of silence and then he repeated come home. When we pulled into the driveway, there was a dark blue crown vic. I assumed it was a police car. When I saw my husband’s face, I knew our boy was gone. I stepped into the house and there was a man with a shiny badge on his chest. To this day, I can’t tell you what he looked like I only remember the shiny badge. He turned out to be the Coroner, not a police officer. It gets blurry here, I know there were screams coming from myself, I know I was in my kitchen floor, I know the Coroner said suicide, shot himself, girlfriend’s car, sorry for your loss. The Coroner left and I went to Zachary’s room and laid on his bed. The next few days were blurry, twisted, tangled and painful. I remember I desperately wanted his personal effects, it seems it took forever to get them. My husband handled all the details of this entire horrific ordeal. Finally, my husband was able to bring me his wallet, his cell phone, his boots, and his belt. I was totally boggled, Zachary left home happy and didn’t return. All I have now are boots and a belt, not even the clothes he was wearing. My husband, got his car back. There were bullets in the cup holder???? He always kept his gun in the glovebox and his loaded clip in the center console (as SC law dictates). It would appear he emptied his clip into the cup holder; but did he leave one bullet in the chamber on purpose or by accident??
Then I read the texts in his phone. Texts to a friend about the argument he was having with the girl. 12/25/13 3:33 am Zach: She’s been doing drugs again just so you know.12/25/13 3:34 am Friend: huh?? 12/25/13 3:34 Zach: **the girl’s name**. 12/25/13 3:35 am Friend: How do you know shes been doing that? 12/25/13 3:35 am Zach: She told me. 12/25/13 3:37 am Friend: What makes you think shes telling the truth about that .. You know she f**ks with you a lot … and why tell me? at this time of night .. out of the blue? 12/25/13 3:37 am Zach: idk feels right. 12/25/13 3:38 am Friend: Okay what you sent me makes no sense… I just woke up… Ya gotta explain sh*t or im noooot gonna understand. 12/25/13 3:39 am Zach: I’m sorry 12/25/13 3:39 am Zach: Your just going to have to talk to her. 12/25/13 3:40 am Friend: its okay just explain stuff.. what happened… and i will. 12/25/13 3:42 am Zach: I gave her everything and it ment nothing, not any other way to say. 12/25/13 3:43 am Friend: There ya go not explaining sh*t to me… what happened… No ehfin metaphores none of that bull… I want facts… 12/25/13 3:43 am Zach: And even though it cost my life it won’t change anything. 12/25/13 3:44 am Zach: I’m sorry my friend I failed. Texts to the girl: 12/25/13 3:36 am Zach: I still love you. 12/25/13 3:40 am Zach: I’m sorry.
According to the police report: dispatch time is 4:39 am; arrival time is 4:46 am; departure time is 7:00 am. Death certificate lists time of gun shot at 4:37 am.
The time line created from these items paint me a picture of questions and confusion. What was my son doing between the last text at 3:44 am and the call to dispatch at 4:39 am. Why would he be sitting outside her house in her car? If the last text he sent to her was 3:40 am, at what time did she go outside and get in the car with him? According to the coroner/police, he was in the passenger seat of her car; she was in the driver seat; they were facing each other when he shot himself. The police report says they found the gun in the driver door panel. Nothing adds up; nothing makes sense!!!!!! I am a logical person, a math brain, a puzzle solver. But this time, I can’t make the pieces fit together, I can’t make the numbers add, I find no logic to any of it. I fully realize that all the knowledge I have at this time is more than likely all the knowledge I will ever have. What I don’t know is how to make peace with the missing pieces.