My "Honey Bee"
As an RN with three young children and no partner, those important years were overwhelming and often very lonely.
Melissa was always very dramatic and extreme, artistic, intelligent, a dancer, singer, and drop-dead gorgeous blond with hazel green eyes and Wamponoag skin. (Beware of firewater, all natives!)
Her teen years were a roller coaster of inappropriate behavior. She was hospitalized briefly at Charter in Charlottesville, Virginia. The day of her discharge - because our insurance ran out - the psychiatrist informed me that she had attempted suicide the night before in her room. My option was to admit her to the state institute in Stanton, VA. Not a nice place and an hour drive away.
I fearfully decided to bring her home. How many days, I drove up to my home in Albemarle County, Va., with a vision of her hanging in my garage.
The teen years continued to be out of control. She fell in love with Phil, and became pregnant with Joseph. She moved out of our house. I was with them when my Joseph was born in 1992.
Quickly, she became pregnant again with son Chris. Phil and Melissa had many problems they couldn't overcome, and split up. Melissa was living a vagabond existence, dragging the babies around. I can still see the night she left my house with them, walking away and saying, "you'll never see them again".
In a matter of months, the Commonwealth was looking for her to evaluate her custody. She is breathing down my back right now insisting, "Mom, they did not take the children away from me, I turned them over." OK, Honey Bee. They went to a nearby foster home with a couple and their adopted son.
Melissa was never capable of making good, sound choices and sticking with them. The most important thing in the world to her was to get her boys back. She was invited into JOB Corp, but couldn't stick with training for LPN. She argued with the other members and begged me to get her out of there. (I didn't, but she found a way.)
The husband of the foster mom fatally shot himself in their garage. They had been progressing in adoption procedures, against Phil and Melissa's wishes; however, Phil and Melissa did not offer viable alternatives. I've tortured myself that I couldn't commit to raising the boys myself. I still had two sons at home that needed me, and I was so sick and tired of being a single parent. I also knew that Melissa might abduct them from me in one of her fits. I've always had complete confidence that foster mom Brenda truly loved and wanted my grandsons, and would always do what was best for them, and could offer stability.
In 1996, I was suffering nightmares of a fatal automobile crash, assuming I was the victim. I was driven to leave Virginia and move back to family in RI. Melissa didn't want to go, she wanted to stay near the boys. I was literally scared to death to leave her behind. My then 80yr/old Dad drove down to Va., and charmed her into taking a ride, she "could get out at anytime". He managed to keep her with him till they arrived in RI. She was his first and favorite grandchild.
November 1996 we were all living in RI. Melissa had met a young man and shared an apartment with him in North Providence. My sons Michael and Brian and I were awaiting completion of our home on Lake Washington, and staying with my parents in their log home in the wilderness.
I drove to the job I love on the morning of February 5, 1997. Just after I left the house, the phone rang and Brian, age 15, answered it. It was Melissa. "She sounded drunk, and had the wrong number." He was so worried about her all day. He kept trying to call her apartment; she had a job interview that day. He couldn't get an answer.
When I was called to Human Resource, I thought, oh God, am I being fired? The police were there. I'm being arrested !
They informed me that my little girl was dead. Found hanging in the stairwell of her apartment from a coat rail with a bathrobe belt around her neck. Probably dead since 1AM. How could I have merrily driven to the job I love, a couple blocks away from where my daughter was hanging dead, and not have known?
Fourteen months later, my baby Brian was killed instantly in an auto crash, age 16, April 16, 1998.
Son Michael, now age 20, and I are all that's left of our family.
I want you to know that I can still hear Melissa shout "Bye, Mom! I love you, Mom!" as she often would. I see her beautiful smile and listen to her laugh. At least she was there with Michael John to welcome my Brian into Heaven, and I feel she is actively overseeing her beloved sons in Virginia.
Well, that's part of the story.
May peace of heart find you,
TRISH in R.I.
Melissa Jean, My "Honey Bee"
12/06/74 - 02/05/97