Parents Of Suicide
Writings Library

Donna and Arlie Vibbert
August 6, 2000

Josh and me were very close. We were so much alike that we couldn't get along a lot of the time. He loved to aggravate the hell out of me but my husband does too. They loved to gang up on me. Josh told me everything or so I thought. He never told me that he wanted to die. Never!!!

He was a very moody child. They all are. It was not cool to hang around mom anymore. He drove me crazy but my kids are my world!!! Josh was a typical teenager. I never would have dreamed that this would have happened. I had no reason to not trust him here at home. I mean, I caught him in some fibs and I always told him that I would always find out if he wouldn't tell me the truth. Josh had never been in trouble with the law nor has he ever run away from home.

He called me at work that afternoon to tell me that he had gotten into an argument with some girls on the bus and he was very upset. I couldn't understand why he was so upset over something so minor to me. I came home that night and according to all of the times I had missed him by 20 minutes. 20 minutes changed all of our lives forever.

I came home and none of my Christmas lights were on and the garage door was open. It was dark so I didn't look in it but I had a very bad feeling that something was wrong. My house was unlocked and I couldn't find josh in the house at all. I started to make some calls to ask if anyone had seen him.

A girl down the road had told me that he begged her not to tell me but I begged her to tell me. She first told me that josh ran away and then I found a note from josh telling me that he was sorry that things had to end this way and that he loved us- nothing that he wanted to die. The note that he left was like a runaway note.

I called my husband at work to ask if maybe he came home to get him and he told me no. I told him that josh wasn't home and he wanted to know if the 4-wheeler was gone and I didn't want to tell him that it was. When I did, he came straight home and looked in the gun cabinet and a gun was missing. I couldn't tell you what is in that gun cabinet. My husband started driving all over to look for him.

Before my husband made it home I had called 911 to file a missing child report and it took forever for someone to get to my house. While I was waiting I got one of josh's notebooks out with all of his friends phone numbers in it and first called the girl down the road.

She started crying and told me that josh begged her not to tell me and I begged her to please tell me. She told me that yes josh had a gun and that he was running away and later told me in the conversation that josh wanted to kill himself. I just couldn't believe what she told me and Iím getting mad.

Josh told me everything! This girl was crazy! What in the hell was she talking about? Josh had called me 3 times before the police arrived and told me that he was sorry and hung up on me the first time. The second time I begged him to come home, I didn't say anything about what I had heard or about the gun. I just wanted him to come home. I begged him. The third time he told me that he was at a nearby town and he made me so mad.

He kept telling me that he couldn't come home, we were going to beat him. All I wanted was for him to come home to me. He had gone to a strangerís house each time that he called me. I thought that he could have been lying to me about where he was at but I called the police in that town to tell them to be on the look out for a 13 year old boy on a 4-wheeler with a gun and that officers were on their way to my house to take a report.

The police came and took all of my information. I asked them to just get him in custody for me so Iíll know he's safe. At this point Iím still not thinking anything about him hurting himself!

The officer told me that they thought they had a lead and that they could have found him. We had to wait a little bit. Through all of this time my husband is still looking for him. Calling me to see if I had heard anything.

The officer asked me to go in the other room after he used my phone and told me that they had found him. I don't think that he said dead, I think he said that he was shot and shook his head no to me.

I screamed my heart out and I couldn't stop! My stepmother was here with me the whole time and was here when they told me. Shelbi was here and heard every scream that came out.

According to the reports, after the third phone call at the house that he went to I was so upset with him and he had told me that he was in a nearby town and I told him that I had the police were looking for him. I was so scared and so upset. They said that he was very upset after that call and that the lady asked if he was okay and he told them that he called his dad and that he's on the way to get him with the truck so that he could pick him up and take the 4-wheeler home.

He went back to the 4-wheeler, turned it off, got the shotgun, got down on his knees in front of the 4-wheeler, stood the gun up and laid his forehead on the gun and pulled the trigger.

Another teenage boy found him. He didn't believe that he was 13. Josh weighed 190 and height of 5'6. Boys are not supposed to come up with this!!!!! That was the night that my nightmare began.

My husband had called and said that he couldn't find him and I told him to come home. He begged me to tell him and I wouldn't do it over the phone. He knew when he saw me when he came in the house. Josh had apparently been telling kids that he knew wouldn't let it get back to me that he wanted to kill himself and that we beat him.

I can't be mad at him for him telling the lies. I can't. I worried for so long that people would believe it. I have days that I care what they think and days that I don't. Anyone who truly knew us knows better than to believe it.

They wouldn't let me identify him. They wanted the name of a funeral home now and I told them no I have to see. This was all the coroner not the officer at my house. The coroner was on the phone and wanted a place now. I couldn't see him. There was nothing there. I told them to take him to the hospital and that I would meet them there. I was still told no.

I gave them a funeral home the next day and still couldn't see him until he was to be viewed. I tried to be prepared for a closed casket and the director had told me that he thinks that he could have an open casket. I begged him to please let me see something that told me yes this is he. All I needed to see was his hand. The school id in his pocket was not enough.

I got to see that this was my son. There laid my son in a casket. I hadn't got to see him for almost 4 days. Yes, it was him. Josh had shot himself at the school at a nearby town where he played all of his football games.

He told someone that he cost the team the 2 games that they had lost and that was where he wanted to do it. He didn't get to the football field. It was outside of the field in a stretch of woods. I went there one day. Because it wasn't where I thought and I didnít have to be shown or told where.

I could feel the pain of that night of where I think it happened. I know that is where it happened.

Written by:
Donna and Arlie Vibbert
Josh (In the arms of an Angel)
09/15/86 Ė 12/14/99