Anonymous wrote: You must be so proud! Yea, you know what I mean
I guess I'm a little slow this morning. Do enlighten us.
I would like to thank whoever posted this message in comments this morning. You may have meant it to be cruel, but in a small way you prepared me for the news I received this afternoon.
The press may or may not have a field day with this story. I don't know; I've never been in this position before. All I know is that you can't run from something like this.
My oldest son, Jeremy, has a long history of mental illness which evolved into criminal activity beginning at age eleven. I could tell you how many years my family and I have struggled to help him, how many doctors and therapies and programs we tried, and how dearly we have paid for it. All of it is spelled out in his many court case files, but none of that really matters now. We weren't able to stop him from pursuing the criminal life he desired.
I'd never been to criminal court before my son's choices forced me to go. I had no basis of comparison; the worst crime I've ever committed was getting a speeding ticket. I've never told anyone about this outside of my family, not even my best friend. I didn't know how to feel about it, either. I loved him. I hated his crimes. I felt helpless. Even after all the therapy and rehabilitation and interventions, I also still felt responsible. I was his mother. Why couldn't I turn this around? Why couldn't I save him?
When Jeremy became an adult, I still tried to do the right thing for him as a parent. I visited my son in prison. When he was out on parole, I found him places to live, jobs, and gave him money. I encouraged him to get therapy. I also took him in when he was homeless, fed him when he was hungry, and listened to his problems. None of that made a difference, either, except that perhaps I kept him from committing some crimes when he chose to live with me.
I'm not defending myself or making excuses. It's what I did to help my son. Maybe I did the wrong things. Maybe I did too much, or too little. Maybe I listened to the wrong advice, or the wrong therapist, or the wrong judge. I'll never know.
When Jeremy was twenty-one years old, his criminal activity began to escalate, and I felt threatened by his behavior. It forced me to make a terrible choice: us or him. I chose to break off almost all contact with my son. I did this to protect my two younger children, their father, and me.
I have suffered things that you will never understand, not only for this decision, but for my son and the tragic choices he's made. I loved him, but it wasn't enough. Nothing was.
Over the last several years I have kept track of Jeremy through his arrest records, but he moved around quite a bit. I wrote letters to him and sent them to his last known address. Some he answered by leaving short notes on my guestbook to let me know he was okay. I always believed that one day I would learn that he had been killed while committing a crime. That was my worst fear.
This afternoon I learned that my worst fear didn't quite cover it.
My son Jeremy has been arrested and charged with murder, and evidently he has confessed to it and a second murder. He is presently in prison under a suicide watch. Those are all the facts I have. Here are the links I've found so far:
The latest: NBC2
Suspect on suicide watch
Florida Man Suspected in Two Deaths
Like I said, I'm not going to run from this. I've made my choices, and my son has made his. I am praying for Jeremy, the victims, and their families, but that is all I can do for them.
I'm not shutting down my weblog, my career, or my life. If you want to talk about this, comments are staying open.*
*Update: Out of respect for the victims and their families, I've closed the comments on this post. If you wish to comment further, please e-mail me directly at LynnViehl@aol.com. Thank you.