Our Year of First Without You - Bobbi Gilbert
One Friday evening in May, Morgan had *Sarah over. Morgan befriended Sarah since *Paul; her brother and Morgan's best friend, died in a car wreck a year and a half prior. Morgan introduced Pierce to Sarah and they immediately hit it off.
Pierce went to Paul's grave to ask his permission to date his sister. Pierce was 16, 5'9, black hair, hazel eyes and a killer smile. Sarah was 15, cute with long blond hair, sparkling blue eyes and a turned up nose with freckles. She was very quiet. The type of quiet that you can't figure out if she's just shy or rude.
End of summer
Tim and I, along with Morgan, were starting to see changes in Pierce when he was around Sarah. There was an anxiousness that was not there when she wasn't around. He always seemed to be jumping through hoops to please her. More often than not, it seemed to always be her way or the highway. We later learned that he was giving her $100 of every weekly paycheck he earned that summer.
They continued dating into the fall. In November, Pierce and his Dad go to our lease for deer season. When Sarah was told she couldn't go; she demanded he stay home, he didn't, so she broke up with him.
Tim had long talks with him that weekend about how this is not the way a relationship works. It seemed he was constantly jumping through hoops for her, trying to keep her happy and she's not doing anything in return. Their relationship appeared to be very one sided. Morgan later told him that she loved him and she liked Sarah, but not when the two of them were together.
He Shot two bucks that weekend
The next weekend, they were back together; against our advice and the advice of his friends. His friends told him he was stupid for getting back together with her; that she was using him, but, he didn't listen.
From then on, it was on again/off again with her continually demanding to get her way. When he was grounded for grades, she broke up with him because he wasn't of any use for her then.
He began losing friends because of her. He was growing increasingly angrier, picking fights with me at home, rude/disrespectful to teachers, and anxious!
March 24, 2015
The final straw came when she broke up with him on his birthday, March 24th.
He stormed out of the school, cussing out the principal. The principal called me to let me know he had left the campus without permission. Pierce came home and Tim was working from home that day. Tim tried to calm him down and reason with him. He was totally out of control. He left in a rage and did not return.
Both sets of Pierce's grandparents came that evening for his birthday dinner, but he never showed up. We tried to reach him multiple times, but he wouldn't answer our calls or text messages. Later that evening, Clay called to say he was at his house and asked if it was ok for him to stay there. We said yes and were grateful that we knew where he was.
The following day, when Morgan came home from school, she found him sitting on the porch. She hugged him and he told her she was the only one who understood him. She brought him inside and called for me.
He looked horrible; stating that he hadn't slept in 72 hours, he was tired, broke down, and cried. I told him this isn't working and we've got to change things. He agreed to go back on medicine he took when he was depressed in sixth grade. But, now, he refused to take an anti-depressant because 'he read on the internet what they can do to people.'
I went upstairs to get the ADD medicine and brought it to him. He said he shouldn't take it because he took 11 of these an hour ago and he pulled out a bottle of Tylenol. I told him we needed to get him to the ER since he would probably need to get his stomach pumped. I knew the hospital would treat this as an attempted suicide.
Around 3:00, Sarah and her mom started texting him saying that they heard he was in the ER and they wanted to come see him. Cindy kept texting asking which hospital he was at because she needed to bring Sarah since she couldn't stop crying.
Later, we found out Sarah knew he had taken the 11 pills that morning, yet she didn't bother to let anyone know.
At 10:30 that night, he was transferred to a mental health facility. While I was signing him in, he was yelling at me, blaming me, demanding that I take him home. I finally left at 2:30 a.m.
Pierce was released on Good Friday. Our family tradition is go to Louisiana to see family over Easter break. Tim thought it'd be a good idea for Morgan and I to go to Louisiana since Pierce blamed me for putting him in there. Tim would get Pierce and spend the weekend with him; thus, giving them time to talk and hopefully reason with him.
Pierce returned to school that Tuesday. The principal said for him not to worry since no one realized he was gone while he was in the hospital. Everyone thought he was in in-school suspension. He mapped out a plan for Pierce to get caught up on his work so he could move onto his senior year next year. He was very kind and gracious to Pierce. The next day, Pierce apologized to him for his past behavior.
That weekend, we took the kids and Clay to see the Josh Abbott and the Randy Rogers Band at Win Star Casino in Oklahoma. Pierce had a great time dancing and hanging out. Once, during the concert, I caught a moment of sadness in him. He seemed to shake it off and went back to dance.
The rest of that week was really great. Pierce seemed like his old happy self before Sarah ever came into his life. He was back in school and the principal commented on how much better he seemed. There wasn't the fighting or the tension in our home. We truly thought he was getting better.
The American Country Music Awards were on that night, so Tim, Pierce, and I sat in the media room watching the show. We had a great time, laughing and joking around together! Tim went to bed when the show ended and Pierce and I stayed up.
Pierce asked me, “Mom, you're such a kind, giving person. I can't understand why you don't hate Cindy and Sarah.” I said, “I have no reason to hate Cindy. She's never done anything to me. Sarah, yes, I hate her for what she's done to you.” He asked what my twitter postings were about while he was in the hospital. I told him I had hit a brick wall one night and took my frustrations out on there about Sarah. I said it was Mama bear protecting her cub!
Pierce got up to go to bed, told me good night and that he loved me. Twenty minutes later, he came back over and asked me if I was going to pull one of my famous all-nighters. I told him no, that I was tired and was going to bed in a bit.
As I went to bed, I opened his door and peeked in on him. I don't know why I did. I haven't done that in years. His light was on, but he was asleep in bed, so I turned the light out and went to sleep.
'Our Year of First Without You' Available on Amazon
Living Without You : After Our Year of First Without You - Bobbi Gilbert
So much has happened in our lives since my first book “Our Year of First Without You” ‘A journey through suicide and organ donation’ that I felt compelled to write this book to continue to share our story with you. Surviving the death of any loved one is difficult. It is far worse when your loved one dies from depression; thus, taking their own life. The guilt associated with the death is compounded by the question of why: why couldn’t I save them, why wasn’t I enough for them to want to live, why didn’t our efforts to help them work? This is all compounded by the what should have beens and the what will never be.
The fracture it leaves upon a family has lingering effects for years to come; I’m sure it must, as we are just two years into our loss.
The child(ren) left behind are dealing with their own pain, seeing their parents pain, and needing their parents to be there for them. They so want them to be okay; yet this is compounded by their feelings that it’s now all about the one who died; yet, ‘hey, look at me! I’m still here.’
They, not being parents, can’t imagine our hurt and feeling of being lost. They can’t comprehend why we will never not say their name. We will never forget our child and never stop missing him; but, we are healing and moving forward. He doesn’t occupy every single moment, of every single day, just as he didn’t when he was alive. We find reasons to smile, to celebrate, to have fun and live again; yet, it catches back up to us and we take a small step back; knowing, we’ll be okay, we’ll regain our footing.
I made the decision after that, to contact the detective who worked Pierce’s case. I wanted/needed to see his letter he left for her. I have always been a ‘needle in the haystack’ type of person, who cannot leave a stone unturned. So the next morning, I contacted him, requesting to see it. He questioned ‘why now? Did I have a therapist? What did my therapist think of me seeing it?’ I explained that I had reached the point of finally being able to forgive her and that for my healing process, I needed to see it. Isaid yes, I have a therapist; but no, I have not asked her opinion on this matter.
He agreed to meet with me the next afternoon if he didn’t get called out on a case. I met with the detective around 3:30 that afternoon. I took him 5 copies of my book, one for him personally, and the other copies for him to give to families he works with who experience suicide. We visited for a while and he expressed that he was happy I came in since; they only ever see the events of that moment – not the after effects, of years later. He inquired how Morgan was doing, recalling how hurt and angry she was after losing her brother. That really touched me – him recalling that and expressing that he cared about our daughter.
He shared after my call, he went back and pulled Pierce’s file to review the letter since it had been over a year; he had forgotten, what was in it. He said, "all in all, considering, it's not a bad letter." He asked if I wanted to be alone when I viewed it. I told him no, it was okay for him to stay with me. When he handed me the envelope, he apologized that the paper it was written on was dirty due to them having to dust it for finger prints. I pulled the folded 8 ½ x 11 paper out of the envelop, unfolded it and was surprised by what I read and re-read, several times. I asked the detective if I could have a copy of it. He sat silent for a few minutes and said, “No ma’am, I’m sorry. I gave my word that I would never release it. I know that may anger you, seeing that I told her and her mom that, but I have to respectfully ask that you let me honor my word. I told him it’s okay and I respect him for honoring his word.
In reality, I don’t need a copy of it because I have it burned into my brain. At first, I was going to keep what it said private, just for Tim, Morgan and myself; but, I have decided to share it because I'm very proud of the boy I raised and it helps to complete his story. It was written on an 8 /12 x 11 copier paper. The first 3/4 was in black sharpie, then he drew a line across the page, drew an outline of a black heart in the bottom left corner, and the bottom 1/4 was written in ink. I'm guessing he wrote the top part here and the last part on the way there.