Parents Of Suicide
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DANíS STORY

Geri Dunn
March 18, 2001

Daniel was born on 11/3/78 at 8:16 PM after a hard 2 hour and 16 minute labor. They used scopalamine back then and evidently dosed me too high because Dan spent the night in the NICU because they had trouble waking him. After that he grew and remained healthy.

I was married a couple of years at that time but separated from his bio dad before he was born for abuse reasons. Dan never lived with him and they never had any kind of relationship other than a few phone calls and Dan made a few summer trips to see him in Florida for a couple weeks at a time.

He had many ear infections and required tubes after he was a year old. He also had his tonsils and adenoids taken, his upper respiratory infections diminished after that. Then he had surgery for 4 inguinal hernias and recovered quickly. I read a lot to him as it was just him and I. He was very quick to learn and almost seemed wiser than his few years...he was a quiet child. He really never gave me any problems...he would rather sit with his books than get rowdy.

He started a pre-kindergarten program in which he did very well.....interacted with other children and seemed to adjust well. He then started kindergarten again did well....up until the first grade...he would do well in school but would not do any homework....I had a conference with his teacher, she told me Dan was extremely smart.....cut up some in class....I asked Dan about the homework...he told me he did enough work at school and wasn't going to do anymore....geez! In the first grade he was smart enough to throw his homework papers out of the bus window because he knew we always went through his book bag.

He started having more problems in the second grade, the teacher said he seemed bored in class and wanted him tested....we went and on the way there. Dan said to me mommy you are going to live longer than me....I said no way Dan you are much younger and that's not the way it goes....and anyway we are both going to be here for a long, long time. He didn't have a reason for saying it as I remember. As you guessed he tested way above average and I think I remember the doctor telling me he thought he was depressed.......funny how putting it down on paper can make you remember so much. Anyway I don't think I did anything with that info....probably didn't know what to do...so life went on....he did better in school.

I had been involved with someone for about a year, Dan was real close to him also, even asked him one day if he would be his daddy. I left him after a year and decided to go back to school for nursing. It was then I found out I was pregnant with Katy. After I had her I could tell how jealous he was for a little while, then he began to love her and they became inseparable. I was going to school full time and then in the evenings we would do things, visit my best friend and her kids and life went on like that till I graduated.

I met my second husband in that time we dated for about a year, he and Dan became close and we married. We moved to a different house and that put Dan in another school district. He was in the third grade. I became pregnant again right away and Tina was born. The kids seemed to be doing very well in this time.

Dan was a quiet boy, didn't have a lot of friends, he liked to play indoors more than out, and he loved to sleep. I always had a hell of a time waking him for school, once he was up he was ok but getting him up geez.

I then got an offer I could not refuse to work in Ga. in a children's hospital. So we moved to Ga. from Missouri during the holidays. We arrived here in Jan. of 88. I worked evenings and Hank worked days so we wouldn't have to put the kids in any kind of day care....worked out pretty well for the kids but not so well for us. We remained together, fought some, argued a lot.

Dan had some friends on the street he played with and school was going ok for him A's and B's mostly. He played football for a few years....I went to all of his games, we all did.

Life seemed pretty normal. The girls were of course younger and I think Dan got the brunt of things if they got hurt or were crying...I think we made him grow up faster than he needed. He was always shown love and affection and attention. He was never an outgoing boy he seemed very shy and introverted looking back.

I had to have an emergency TAH in June 1991. I became addicted to the pain meds, no one knew that I was at the time. We moved again in 1992 to another home with a pool and a huge yard. The house was 3500 square foot with a basement, they all loved this house and the pool, but things were getting more tense at home between Hank and I. Dan was in middle school at this time and doing fairly well in school getting A's B's and C's.

My addiction was catching up with me and I asked my nurse manager for some help. Then things became crazy, they put me in a drug rehab for 30 days, I lost my job, the nursing board became involved, and it was a mess. I had to start 12 step meetings and became obsessed with them or being around people who didn't care what or who I was, maybe just being away from Hank, I don't know. I am sorry to say I wasn't around too much for that year at night anyway...and the kids probably were deprived of me emotionally for awhile, even though I was there I really wasn't.

Hank was becoming increasingly more hurt and probably took it out on the kids, not physically but was harsh. I know this sounds like it was awful, but we had a lot of good times too, a lot of vacations and camping trips etc.

Dan was kind of a one friend person and when that friend did something that hurt him he just isolated, watched TV or read. He never wanted to be a part of a team in middle school, but he was in the boy scouts and was up until he was doing his Eagle Scout project, he never finished it. Dan would get gung ho about something then before he was finished he would lose interest.

Oh my god, I also remember now I was cleaning out Dan's closet one day and in the back of the top shelf I found a written suicide note, I had forgotten about that, oh my god! I spoke with Dan about it and he said he was just joking around and would never do that, he was just mad. Oh why didn't I remember that????????

The beginning of his high school year, he had been to his bio dad's for a few weeks. I noticed the left side of his neck was huge, he had a tremendous case of Mono. He had to be home schooled for about 3 months. He did so well in his school work then, he got better and started high school and did alright in the 9th grade, well I should say Dan never had good grades on progress reports but managed to bring them up to A's and B's at report card time.

The tenth grade he got in a little trouble with friends, vandalizing a new house, got caught and had to pay a fine and be on juvy probation for awhile. He did that and was never in trouble with the law again.

Dan somehow passed his 10th grade year, skipped some school and generally didn't do his homework....he was a struggle that year.....but passed. His eleventh grade year he switched schools, we felt like he would be monitored better there for skipping and had to have a paper signed for his homework. We had a conference with the principal and came up with this plan.....nice guy and Dan seemed to like him to.

He did well for a little while and then started up again skipping and not doing homework. He would sign his own paper and forged his report card. He had a girlfriend and started drinking. I didn't know he was because he was sober by the time he got home from school. He was staying with my mom at the time because she lived in that school district, but saw or talked to him everyday at some point.

Anyway after a few months, this caught up to him and I found out how much he was drinking and confronted him. He also felt like he had a problem so I had him admitted into a 30-day treatment facility, he did great there. They put him on Zoloft, he had a reaction to that so they put him on Paxil lowest dose. He did wonderful on that, thinking cleared up, seemed more focused, and didn't always appear in great thought. They diagnosed him manic-depressive and social phobic. He got out and was working at a mechanic shop. He self taught himself to do this and became very good at it. He had a car and rebuilt the entire engine at 17 years old, ran like a top. He was so proud of himself as was I.

He got his GED and started full time at the shop, he and his boss became great buddies. He treated Dan like a son, Dan really enjoyed this job.

He started dating Lindsey at this time (the girl that found him) and they dated on and off for about a year Dan turned 18 and they decided to get a place together. I call this time the beginning of the end, they did all right for awhile. Dan was making good money, and was drinking again, Lindsey smoked a lot of pot. Didn't know this till later, just wondered why she was so damn lazy all the time. I guess they fought some and made up, they were both too young for this move but he thought he could handle it. They lived there about a year and broke up for a month or so. Dan moved back here and she moved back home.

He was totally " in love" with her and anyone who cared about Dan told him to get rid of her. She did nothing but bitch and was the laziest person alive. She was dubbed lazy Lindsey, I did not get in on this, mainly was all of his friends, and I just wanted Dan to be happy, no matter what.

They ended up moving back in together in her parentís house for a couple of months. He started on crank at this time and heard later quite a bit. After a few months, 6 or 7, I assumed he got scared, he told me what he was doing and wanted to start AA with me. I took him with me and he said he related to everything people were sharing. He went a few times and then quit, he also had quit the crank.

They moved into another duplex closer to us and seemed to get along all right for awhile, but after 6 or 7 months it started getting bad again. Dan was working still full time and she would get sporadic part time jobs but never for any length of time. Dan continued drinking every night or most every night and had all the toys a young man could want, new truck etc, 4 wheel drive blazer for hunting, a car he bought to build a race car etc, etc. By the way, he was not on his Paxil anymore. He stopped taking it before he moved out the first time, he was only on it for a couple months.

They had a bad Christmas in í99, they actually broke up. She started seeing someone I think. I was real worried about Dan at this time. My daughter and I went over and spent just about every evening with him. He was really down and New Years eve I went over and he had like a shrine set up in the living room on the coffee table for her. I stayed with him, or his friend stayed with him.

Anyway, one day I got a call from him wanting my help, he was crying. I immediately went over and he was so messed up drunk and high on crack cocaine, he was scared and didn't want to die. I called the hospital and was told to watch him so I took him home and took care of him that night.

Hank helped him shower and I got him to eat some soup and drink some Gatorade. I put him to bed and monitored him every few minutes, didn't sleep at all that night.

The next day I took him to a treatment center, they decided to keep him just overnight, I picked him up the next day and decided to move in with him. So Katy and I moved over with him.....he went to AA with me and did well, got a sponsor, and really seemed to get involved. He was seeing Lindsey again and she joined Alanon, then she joined AA with Dan. I think just to see who and what he was doing. She wasn't an alcoholic.

Anyway, it really seemed to be the best time of both of their lives, they treated each other well, and both were working with sponsors. He went every night. They decided after a few months to move into another place closer to his new job, they did.

They continued driving down to come to AA so I got to see him a lot...continued to do well, then his sponsor moved to Fla. unexpectedly and Dan seemed lost. It takes him awhile to get close enough to talk with someone. He started sporadically drinking again and she started smoking pot again...she had a job at this time and I believe she found a new boyfriend. Dan quit his job up there and wanted to move back in the duplex.

I was moving back into the house at the time. So they moved back and Dan started working with Hank, his stepfather, they remained close. She moved back home and Dan moved back in here. He started counseling for the breakup, he was crushed. They started him on Prozac 20 mg QD, started going to church, was "saved" and baptized. He started singles Sunday school and Thursday night bible study. He had also started seeing an old girlfriend, not seriously but more as a friend or companion, they spent almost every night together here. He was not drinking.

We walked and talked a lot about Lindsey and how it would get better it just would take a lot of time. He seemed to sleep more and would not want to get up, but did Hank said it took him awhile to get started in the mornings.

Then 2 weeks before he died he had gone back to the psychiatrist and she upped his dosage to 40 mg per day. Immediately we saw a difference, he seemed less focused and confused, they said it was normal.

The Wednesday before he died he drank a couple of beers with dinner out with friends. Then the next day he went and inquired about a gun. He had to wait till Friday, the background check was pending, he drank again Thurs. night. He had been to his storage space earlier and got out his "shrine stuff".

On Friday Hank had left to go out of town to see his mother who was ill and would be back Sat. I was also leaving out of town till Sat. He went out to eat and to a movie with Tiffany, his friend, I talked with him a few times on my way down to Albany. He seemed fine to me on the phone and also to Tiffany. She stayed here till about 2 AM. Dan fell asleep so she covered him kissed him and went home.

Then Sat. came and he loaded up his cooler of beer and some CD's and his gun and went to a place him and Lindsey always went to, a secluded place, called his old boss and made some amends, then called Lindsey and talked to her for 40 minutes. They hung up and he took his gun and shot himself in the right temple and bled to death after 35 minutes.

Writing his life in a nutshell down makes me feel like I missed so many signs or was in denial about so much.....I feel like the biggest failure.

Anyway that's his story the best I can remember.


Written by:
Geri Dunn
Mother of
Daniel Alan
11/03/78 - 10/14/00