I will never forget the one year on my birthday (while still a single parent) I arrived home from work and found a beautiful flower arrangement which said "Happy birthday Mom, with love from Carl and Chanelle". Carl was only about 9 at the time and when I inquired as to where the flowers came from it turned out that Carl had been in tears at school and when the headmaster asked him what was wrong he had told him it was my birthday and I didn't get a gift. Needless to say the headmaster took him to town and let him chose something for me. This incident will stay with me forever.
When he finished school he stayed with friends in the city. We stay in a small town and as with all young people he wanted the bright city lights. He battled to find a job and when he finally did get a good job it lasted for 2 weeks before the company closed down. I think this was just the last straw. When I spoke to him about a month before he died he was so happy and excited about the new job and at last being able to buy himself a car. We only found out after he died that the company had closed down.
The friend's mom he was staying with said that earlier in the evening (the evening he took his life) he had said to her after supper "thanks aunty Beulah that was the best meal I have ever had - I will keep a place for you next to me". She said it seemed strange but she shrugged it off. Carl and a group of friends went out to play pool and later the evening went to a friend's apartment. Apparently Carl took off his watch and chain and gave them to friends and walked out the door. His one friend was concerned and followed Carl up onto the apartment building's roof. He tried to talk to Carl but Carl told him to leave or he would be haunted for the rest of his life by what was to happen. Then Carl lifted his arms above his head and took a running jump off the roof of the building (15 floors).
His friends were all in shock no one had suspected anything. The next weeks went by in a haze. Everyone told me not to go and see Carl but I had to know that it really was my child. Luckily his face didn't get hurt and that was all I saw. But I don't regret it. I would have wondered for the rest of my life whether it really was my child that died if I hadn't seen him.
All I remember as I walked towards his casket was the bush of blonde hair and as I reached him the eyelashes. He had the most beautiful blue eyes and long bushy eyelashes.
My heart breaks for my child whose life was cut so short. Why! Oh, why! As you all know there are the unanswered questions, the guilt and everything else that goes with it. I am his mother and GOD entrusted me with his life - I should have been able to ease his pain!
Carl was cremated and I still have his ashes. I can't bring myself to let them go. Maybe someday.
We have had a rough year. Carl died in February '99, my mother in law who was a beautiful person passed away in May '99, my grandfather in August '99, a dear friend (47) died of a stroke in October '99 and just when we had started believing that the new millennium would be kinder a life long friend died from a heart attack in January '00.
Luckily for me my husband has been a real treasure. I also think that with his mother dying so soon after Carl it brought us closer together. I am however a silent griever and it doesn't seem to be getting any easier. I have told myself to take one day at a time and am coping but it is so hard. We all miss Carl terribly. His little sister Chandri keeps asking why he didn't just phone us and if we talk about Carl she starts crying. My other daughter Chanelle is a silent griever and will talk about Carl when we do.
To Beulah Jacobs I want to say "thank you" for being there for my child when I wasn't and to Carl:
My Son I will love and miss you all the days of my life. Your death has torn away half of my heart and has left me with an ever present pain that can never be healed. There are so many "if only's".
Till I hold you in my arms again.
Your heartbroken Mom.