We had the family we'd always wanted.  Well we initially wanted two children, a boy and a girl, but to our great pleasure we were blessed with our 3rd child rounding out the family with boy, girl, boy.  We had been married for 19 years and were living in a 3 story house right across the street from the middle school where our 2 youngest were attending.  Our oldest was a freshman in high school.  School seemed to be going well for the kids and we had just come from a summer that included a trip to Disneyland with side trips to Mexico and stops in 3 different stadiums to watch professional baseball games.  While we didn't get to see the Atlanta Braves (our favorite thanks to TBS) we did see a Phillies/Dodgers game that included a former Brave that was our favorite player.  The kids even managed to get an autograph from him.

On  a Monday in December I left work at noon and went home to have lunch.  I fixed a bowl of soup and an egg sandwich and sat down to eat and read.  While eating I heard the door open and someone came in and left again about a minute later.  I got up to look out the living room window and saw the youngest boy running back across the street to the school.  Must have forgotten to take something that morning.

Before returning to my sandwich I went into the bathroom and was surprised to feel warm humid air and to find a tub full of warm water.  There was a radio plugged in with the cord running through the sink to the radio sitting on the edge of the tub.  I was pretty irritated because they all knew they were not allowed to have anything electrical around the tub or the sink.  Made a mental note to stress this rule to all of them with special emphasis to the culprit.

My wife worked full time and never came home for lunch so I assumed it was one of the children.  As far as I knew  the kids had all gone to school and there should not have been warm bathwater.  I checked the 2 bedrooms on the main floor to find them  empty so I went downstairs to check the oldest boys bedroom and the family room.  It was a little puzzling to not find anybody but I assumed I would learn the answer to the mystery that evening.

After finishing lunch I went upstairs to use "our" bathroom.  At the end of the hall the bathroom was down a short hall to the left and the master bedroom down a short hall to the right.  I glanced to my right as I was ready to turn left.  The master bedroom door was open and I could see the foot of our bed.

Before I continue my trip to the bedroom I need to tell you that our oldest boy had gone skiing the day before without permission and had been grounded for 2 weeks.  We had a nice talk with him about this and it was probably the best discussion we had for some time.  The discussion went from following the rules to how things were going overall and general topics.  It was the best I had ever felt after giving someone a serious lecture.

Back to the walk.  As I peeked into the master bedroom I could see my oldest sitting on the floor leaning against the bed.  I turned right to talk to him and find out why he was not in school and why he was in our bedroom.  As I got closer I could see a small round hole in his chest and immediately assumed they had been messing around at the ski hill and somebody had stabbed him with a ski pole.  As I walked towards him I told him that if he was injured he needed to let us know.

That was about as far as my lecture went.  I reached out to touch his shoulder and the cold skin was a shock I will long remember.  It was then I noticed a 30-30 lying on the floor and realized the hole was from a bullet.

There is no way to describe the shock and my bodies physical and mental reaction.  I know it was hard to think straight.  I didn't even think to try any life saving heroics although looking back I think I knew from the feel of his body there was nothing to be done.  That, however, comes from hindsight.  I do not remember consciously thinking that.  My first thought was how I was going to tell his mom.

My first call was to our preacher.  I had forgotten that he was in the process of being transferred and it happened to just after the Sunday he was to preach to a new congregation as a get to know you visit.  My second call was to a Lutheran minister I was friends with.  I desperately wanted backup with me when I went to my wife's place of employment to inform her.  THEN I called 911.

I won't try to describe the commotion and confusion with police, ambulance, EMT's etc.  During all this I was feeling desperate to get the 2 kids from the middle school before they saw the flashing lights, ambulance, police vehicles and other activity across the street.  Before I could leave to do that out daughter came home.  I had to have her sit in the living room while I finished with the authorities before I could talk to her.  Needless to say she had lots of questions centered primarily around "What's going on".  I told her we need to go to get her brother out of school and I would talk to them both at the same time.  I didn't want her to be too crazy in the car while I went into the school to get her brother.

After getting them both in the car I told them what had happened and said we were on the way to get their mom.  When we got to her place of employment I put the kids in a conference room that was not in use and went to find my wife.  When I found her she was patiently explaining something to a client.  Her back was to me and it took all my ability not to interrupt by grabbing my wife's arm and pulling her off to the side.  I could hear what they were discussing and I wanted to tell the client her concern was very inconsequential and I needed my wife.  I patiently waited for them to finish and I hugged my wife and told her our oldest son had committed suicide.  We joined the kids in the conference and before long the Lutheran minister I had been trying to call joined us.

The story continues but those are the essentials.  This happened over 21 years ago and the edges are still nearly as raw today as the first few years.  It has been hard to type this through the tears.  I can't think of too many situations than losing a child - especially one so young.
trebor13 trebor13
61-65, M
May 8, 2012