Parents Of Suicide
Writings Library
Andrea R. Taylor
November 27, 2002

Jonathan Orlandiss Taylor entered this earthly life on Friday, March 6, 1973 at 4:00PM exactly. I had a difficult pregnancy beginning in the second or third week with a condition called hyperemesis. I lost twenty pounds, and was regularly dehydrated and hospitalized several times due to constant nausea and vomiting that prevented me from keeping anything in my stomach. So when I was presented with a beautiful seven-pound, nine-ounce, thirteen and three-quarter inch long baby boy, with ten fingers and ten toes—and everything else in the right place—I was exalted as I didn’t think I’d have a healthy baby with all my prenatal woes.

The mother/son bond had already begun to be formed the moment I knew I had conceived. Having been sexually abused for six years as a child, as a young teen, I was taken with Jonathan’s father—charismatic and a smooth talker. He was older than I and since life on the home front was chaotic even still, I was idealistic, as are most teenagers, and fantasized that this older, more mature man could take me away like a knight in shining armor. Then, he’d provide a home for me with a white picket fence, a dog and two cats, and, lastly, children. However, I was seriously wrong about that man’s real intentions for me and my fantasy quickly turned into a nightmare.

Once he knew I was pregnant, however, he did ask for my hand in marriage. I adamantly refused his offer on the grounds that my baby and I did not need such a man with his temper and propensity for violence—among other disturbing character flaws. Even though I no longer wanted the man, I cherished with all my heart the product of conception growing rapidly inside my tender womb and continued to nurture a spiritual, emotional, and psychological bond between the two of us that, in later years, seemed to others to be unique. I loved this child, who had been conceived in rape, with all I had to give. (I instinctively knew I was carrying a male child.)


On Saturday June 13, 2002, I and two friends, one visiting from Wisconsin, were having sushi. I left home around 6PM. I returned home around 12 Midnight to find that I had several messages on my voice mail—which was unusual at that time of night. I immediately retrieved my messages, finding the first voice to be Jo’el’s, Jonathan’s fiancée. She was clearly perturbed as she said simply, “Ms. Taylor! Call me! Jonathan….!” She hung up. I thought I’d have to intercede in an argument they were having, which was rare. The next voice was Jo’el’s sister’s, crying and saying, Ms. Taylor, please call us. We’ve been trying to reach you all day. Please call us.” The next few messages were hang-ups. The last message was Jo’el’s sister again, crying and saying, “Ms. Taylor, will you please call us at this number (she gave the number) or call me on my cell phone (she gave that number). I called her home number and asked for Jo’el. Jo’el came to the phone. She sounded unusually calm compared to her earlier distraught voice when she’d left the first message. She said, “Yes?” I asked, “Where’s Jonathan?” The two words that followed changed my life forever. She said, “He’s dead.”

After less than a second of shock, I began to scream, “NO! NO! HOW?!” She said, “He shot himself in the head.” I repeatedly cried, “NO! NO! NO!” Jo’el repeatedly answered, “YES! YES! YES!” I wanted to ask “What kind of a sick person are you to play such a dastardly joke on me like this??” I didn’t say that, though—because I knew Jo’el would never do anything like that. Even though my body heaved back and forth and up and down in that chair, and my mouth continually yelled out, “NO!”, I was never in denial. I knew in my deepest parts that my only son, my only child, was dead. I don’t know how much time passed as we cried. My insides moaned and groaned animalistically. He was gone. My Jonathan was gone.


The day he committed suicide (June 8, 2002), we spoke on the phone. He told me how depressed he had been. He admitted to his mother that all the medications he had been on for years had never helped. He said he had never gotten better. (I understand now that he was glaringly Bipolar—not Schizophrenic; so, the medications could not have helped him.) My Jonathan hid his real deterioration from us who love him most—for our sakes. After he told me what he did, I responded by encouraging him to tell his doctor exactly what he had told me and in the same manner. He had an appointment to see his doctor in two days. He assured me that he would do that. I know now that he had other, more pressing plans.

We spoke again that day. My Jonathan sounded very irritated. When we ended a visit or phone conversation, we’d never say bye; rather, we’d say, “I love you. Peace.” However, when irritable, he’d just hang up, and that’s what he did this time.

We spoke again that day. His mood seemed to have totally changed. He declared with a certain power which I can’t explain, “I love you, Ma!” I said, “I love you, too!” I knew we were both smiling. Then we said, “Peace, I love you”, and hung up. Those were our last words and they give me comfort at times to know he loved me and was not angry with me shortly before he shot himself with a .38 caliber at point blank range in the right temple area.


Several years before his death, before he even showed the depressive side of Bipolar Disorder, he dedicated a song to me written by Tupac. He said he’d been looking for some way to tell me how he felt about me. I was amazed! Most of the words fit our lives exactly. I listen to “Dear Mama” more often now and feel so blessed that my Jonathan thought me worthy of it. Some of the pertinent lines are as follows:

Dear Mama, by Tupac

You are appreciated…
You always were the Black queen, Mama.
I finally understand for a woman
It ain’t easy trying to raise a man.
You always were committed.
A poor, single mother on welfare,
Tell me how you did it.
There’s no way I can pay you back
But the plan is to show you that I understand.
You are appreciated.
Lady, don’t you know I love you, sweet lady?
Dear Mama.
Place no one above you, sweet lady.
You are appreciated.
Don’t you know I love you?
Now ain’t nobody tell me it was fair,
No love for my daddy
Cause my daddy wasn’t there…
When I was low, you were there for me.
You never left me alone because you cared for me.
I can see you coming home after work late.
You’re in the kitchen trying to fix me a hot plate.
Just working with the scraps you were given—
And, Mama, you made miracles every Thanksgiving.
There’s no way I can pay you back,
But my plan is to show you that I understand.
You are appreciated.
Lady, don’t you know I love you, sweet lady?
Place no one above you, sweet lady.
And Dear Mama,
I sit there and I reminisce,
Cause I can always depend on my Mama.
When it seems that I’m hopeless
You say the words that can get me back in focus.
When I was sick as a little kid
To keep me happy there’s no limit to the things you did.
And all my childhood memories
Are full of all the sweet things you did for me.
And even though I act crazy, I gotta thank the Lord that you made me.
There are no words that can express how I feel.
You never kept a secret—always stayed real.
And now I appreciate how you raised me
And all the extra love that you gave me.
I wish I could take (your) pain away
If you can make it through the night there’s a brighter day.
Everything will be alright if you hold on.
It’s a struggle everyday, gotta roll on.
There’s no way I can pay you back,
But my plan is to show you that I understand.
You are appreciated. Lady, don’t you know I love you?
Sweet lady, place no one above you, sweet lady.
And dear Mama…Dear Mama.


A few weeks after the funeral, my nephew came to talk with me. He was like a brother to my Jonathan. He told me about some of the conversations they’d had and he talked about the myriad of things they’d done together. My nephew admitted to me that he idolized my young man. He said he wondered how this little guy (Jonathan) won the respect of guys twice his size. My nephew finally figured it out. He said Jonathan wasn’t afraid of anything—except his mother. He’d dread coming home from school after he’d been suspended for fighting or something and having to face me, his mother. My nephew told me that my Jonathan pushed everything to the limit. They escaped, he said, death so, so many times. I knew that my young man seemed to need an excessive amount of excitement. For instance, he’d go white water rafting in dangerous waters. I know now that he was probably manic during those times my nephew spoke of.

With guys, Bipolar Disorder usually begins with the manic phase, as opposed to the depressive phase first manifesting itself in girls. My young man’s fearlessness won him respect and popularity all over the city. Everywhere we went, the girls loved him. Even in elementary school, a teacher revealed to me that she constantly had to tell girls to leave Jonathan alone. Jonathan was special. He was charismatic and confident, participating in talent shows imitating Michael Jackson amazingly to the astonishment of my nephew and other students—fearlessly. Maybe our Lord answered my prayers to grant Jonathan favor in the eyes of those with whom he had to do. For a little while.

Adoringly submitted by
Andrea R. Taylor,
Jonathan’s mom/ART.
03/06/73 – 06/08/02