Parents Of Suicide
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My Closest Buddy - Joey

Vicki Griffiths
September 12, 2000

Joey was an easygoing cheerful kid. He was liked by everyone and the room would light up when he entered. Joey had a great sense of humor and could tell the funniest jokes with a straight face.

Joey was born on Dec.22 early Christmas present! I had a son when I was 16 and had given him up for adoption. I was so happy that I was able to love this new baby and could provide all the, kisses, and cuddles...and felt so safe. I was married and could provide a loving and caring home.

Joey didn't replace my first son...Joey was Joey. He was an awesome baby, happy and content. He had an older sister (by 20 months) and then a brother who was 18 months younger. Joey was the child who got along with everyone...the peacemaker...used to say that he was a lover not a fighter.

Joey stayed happy until he was about 14 then he began to drink and get into trouble with the law. Silly stuff but none the less he was charged and put on probation with community hours. He didn't do that well at school....just didn't apply himself. Joey's father and I had separated when he was 12 1/2. He lived with his father for a year then came back to live with me and his younger brother. Joey had to repeat grade 12 3 times but he did graduate with honors from a Catholic school. I was so proud of him. He had applied himself and proven that he was a smart kid. He was so thrilled with himself.

Joey graduated in 1995 and moved away with his girlfriend of 3 years. He lived 4 hours away from us but we saw him often, either at his home or ours. He seemed to be doing fine. He had made new friends and was working. His girlfriend was not the easiest person to live with but he seemed to be happy.

She (Jessica) was very spoiled and made life harder for herself and Joey. She tried to keep him away from his family and this caused Joey great pain. I had to accept her or else I would have lost my son. In the end, I guess it really didn't make a difference.

I never seen Joey's death coming.....he was always "my golden boy"...always happy...or just putting on an act. In October of 96 Joey and Jessica broke up...the same month he was tied up, threatened with a knife and robbed at his job, where he pumped gas. Those two things seemed to break him down.

He lost weight, couldn't sleep and became very quiet. I was concerned about him but also believed that he would be ok....oh to go back and do it over again !!!

On Dec. the 19th Jess phoned to say that Joey was threatening suicide. I talked to him about it and let him know that we all loved him and needed him in our lives. Joey came home for Christmas and had to stay for a week because of the bad weather. God's gift to me? That's how I feel now.

I had spoken to his dad about the one and only rifle he owned. I asked him to get rid of it or take it or part of it to his brothers until we made it through this rough time with Joe. During the week that Joey was home we talked and cried and even had some laughs. Joey was on medications from a naturalopath and seemed to be doing better.

When the roads reopened on Jan.1 Joey couldn't wait to leave. He gave me a hug and promised to phone when he got home. I knew that when he didn't put his seatbelt on that I would never see my son alive again. Joey did phone that night and he promised me that he would take care of himself...Our last words to each other were that we loved each other....I hang onto those words.

On the morning of Jan the 4th I woke up not feeling well....not sick just not right. I never got dressed all day and spent the whole day alone...away from everyone else. At 5:30 I got the phone call from his dad. Joey had gone to a motel and used his father’s rifle to kill himself.

How have I coped so far ? big question....I had remarried in 1992 to a man who turned out to be cold hearted, a drunk who liked to emotionally abuse me and whom my kids disliked. When Joey died and I needed his support he was in the bars and not coming home. It was not an easy time to say the least. His idea of grieving was to sweep it under the rug and carry on like nothing had happened !!!

It was a total nightmare trying to do what I knew I had to do to grieve and putting up with his bull. I moved out and divorced him in 1998. In June of 98 I also lost my Mother so those 2 years were hell.

I am finding now that I really haven't finished coming to terms with Joey's death. I know that I stuffed down inside me a lot of the emotions that I felt about Joey's dying because I couldn't cope with that and the ex's behavior. I did it because it was the only way I could survive it.

Most days I do really well and feel like life is good. Most days I feel blessed with what I now have....then there are those days where I just fall apart. I miss my son so much. On those days the feelings are almost as they were in the beginning. I know that I have come aloooong ways but still have a ways to go.

I celebrate special occasions and remember Joey in special ways. I talk about him with his sister. His brother, Steve, has only mentioned Joey once since his death. He was so deeply hurt by what Joey did...I'm not sure how to reach Steve, I thought that with time he would be ok ..but he is so remote from all of his family. This is very painful to us all. I'm sure that he has pulled away so that he won't get hurt like that again...I want to talk to him about this but don't want to push him further away from me.

I really haven't talk much about Joey's dying....haven't reached out...thought I could be tough and do "it" myself. I am just finding out that this doesn't work to well. I am finally ready to move on with my life and be happy. I need to put Joey to rest. I also need to know that what I am feeling and going through is normal (?)

Written by:
Vicki Griffiths
Mother of:
12/22/75 – 01/04/97