His dad and I seemed to grow more apart, he didn't want all the stresses that come with taking care of a baby (Shaun was colicky) and so at nine months I took Shaun to Belgium where my mom lives. She seemed less enthusiastic than I had imagined because she said "an out of wedlock child will give this family a bad name".
Either way, I felt very rejected and maybe Shaun felt it too, even at that age. When he got older he never wanted to sit on her lap or get close in any way. I have a picture showing him struggling to get out of her arms and that was basically how it stayed.
At two and a half he started kindergarten (yeah they do start early there). His teacher was the most nurturing person, she loved him and he became her favorite. She'd carry on about how smart he was and how he'd baffle the older kids by speaking two languages and being able to switch back and forth between the two with ease.
When he was five, we went to live in Pennsylvania, where his dad was from. He started school there and really seemed to adjust well; he had lots of cousins and friends. His dad and I (we had gotten married by then) did not get along and he (his dad) became more abusive. So when Shaun was eight, I packed up what I could carry and we started over a hundred or so miles north, in Scranton. We set up for his dad to see him every other weekend and that seemed to make it easier for him to adjust to us not being together.
I met a guy who I thought was "God's gift" and we started living together. After a while Shaun and my boyfriend seemed to really butt heads more and more. Shaun would tell him "you're not my father" when he was told he couldn't do something. I felt between a rock and a hard place trying to make both happy. I never succeeded.
We moved several times and Shaun seemed to adjust quickly, he made friends and everyone seemed to count on Shaun to keep things together in a group, he was the caretaker. We went to see my mother in 1996 and he seemed different on the plane ride back, he seemed so cold and almost like he didn't want to come home. I even asked him about that and he said it was jet lag. I couldn't shake the thought that something was really wrong for a long time. He went in to 11th grade and him and his friend Stan, whom he'd met a year earlier, still hung out together as usual. He told me about a girl he'd met Erica and seemed really in love and things were great.
Then on Friday, September 20, I woke up at 1.33 (I worked the midnight shift). I'll never forget the time because something made me jump out of bed. I quick took a bath and while I was in the tub, I heard Shaun (what seemed like outside the bath room door) say "Bye, mom". I barely dried off and ran around the house looking for him and of course he was no where to be found. I still tried to shake the terrible feeling when the phone rang and Stan's mom asked if I knew that Shaun and Stan were never in school that day. We both decided to call everyone we knew and she'd start driving around. My boyfriend came home and did the same. Stan's dad was a police officer and at 11 they were on the news as missing persons. He'd found 2 of his guns missing and that alarmed us. I could barely comprehend what was happening. Now they were considered "armed and dangerous", not missing...
That weekend is engraved in my mind. On Sunday a man teaching his son to hunt came upon them on the mountain behind our house. Both were dead. At first they treated it as " possible suicide so an investigation started but I always knew it was suicide, Shaun came and told me in a dream that it was the only way out. Everyone else didn't believe it but I knew better. I found out about the bullying and how he got beat up by bullies( mentally mostly) and in the end he and Stan decided they were better off somewhere else. They left notes to all their friends and family, trying to explain. But even though I came to understand a lot, I'll never stop missing that blue eyed boy who could have been anything he wanted to be but couldn't find peace here on this earth.
Mother of Shaun
03/18/80 - 09/20/96