My friend killed himself.
It’s not the biggest surprise ever, but no less heartbreaking.
I am so sad, so angry, so frustrated, that I honestly don’t know what to write about it and about him, but I feel that I need to honor him and to say something.
He was such a great kid – sweet and kind and gentle and so so lost. He was a student of mine in a school known for hosting kids who are lost; kids from brutal, abusive, violent, neglectful backgrounds. And in the midst of all of these baggage-laden kids, was this one, Jerry, who had this heart, this pure and genuine love for others that made him stand out, made him a true gem.
We were friends. I counted on his smiling face appearing at my office door every day, even if it was just for a quick hug and then off to class. I truly loved this guy.
And his past, his childhood, was beyond imagination. The things I knew about his father kept me up at night – things that you wish you had never heard.
Things that drove him to finally kill his own father and dispose of him in a most horrific way.
Even when I heard, my first reaction was “What did that man do to drive that sweet soul to that point?” The answer to that is unmentionable.
Never crossed my mind that I hadn’t really known Jerry, that he was actually psychotic or dangerous or violent. He was the kid who got pushed too far.
He asked me to speak at his sentencing. The goal was to keep him out of prison (he’d already been there for a year) and get him into a psych facility to get some of the help he’d needed all of his life. He knew he was fucked up, but also knew that he couldn’t handle years in prison – they would eat him alive.
Since Colorado lacks any criminal psych facilities, he was sentenced to prison.
Before the sentencing, sitting with Jeremiah and his family in the chambers, I held his hands. I thought that actually seeing the hands that had done that heinous thing would repulse me, make me view him as a killer, a murderer. But it didn’t.
All I could think was that this poor child (21) would have to look at those hands every day for the rest of his life and remember what those hands did. No child should have to live with killing their own father, but certainly no child should ever be pushed to even consider actually wanting their own parent dead.
That day at his sentencing, all who spoke on his behalf knew that this boy, this sweet and tender young man, would not be able to handle prison, living with himself and what he had done, and living with the pain of his past. He had attempted suicide before and obviously would again.
They kept a close watch over him while he was in prison. He tried, but was foiled each time.
He had just gotten released.
Jeremiah’s father, when he died, was under investigation for a series of killings in NM – he apparently had a penchant for young men. He was also suspected in the murder of two Towaoc boys.
And in my mind, he killed his own son.