Susan Jones

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My Susan was born June 18, 1985, a Wednesday ...I woke up at 2 AM with labor pains, Susan was my first baby, I was 21 and scared to death ... her Daddy, David took me to the hospital, and they made me walk, I was not ready to deliver yet ... so we walked, and we walked ... until I refused to walk any more! I was too ready to have this baby ... so was David, he caught hell from me, because he got me pregnant and I was miserable, I was going to make him miserable too ... sound familiar ladies?

Well, I finally went into full labor around 11AM and we were going to have a baby ... we already knew it was a girl ... at 12:29 PM, Wednesday afternoon ... Susan Elizabeth Jones made her entrance into this world ... she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen ... she weighed 8 lb. and 2 oz, she was 21 inches long and had a head full of dark hair ... the first grandchild on my side of the family, she was the 3rd for her Dad's family.

When Susan was 4 days old, David's parents came from WV to visit and meet Susan, David and I had gone out and his parents sat with Susan, when we returned, I remember coming in and Susan's Grandpa had her on the floor and he was feeding my 4 day old daughter Hershey Kisses ... it was the funniest thing I ever remember seeing ... my tiny daughter with this Hershey kiss in her mouth and she was sucking away like someone was going to steal it from her ... and all her life ... Susan absolutely loved chocolate ... Her Grand dad did that to her. He is now in heaven with Susan, and I know they are laughing about that ....

Susan's Father and I broke up when she was young ... I raised her alone until I met and married the devil when she was 5 .... I had another child by this person I married, a son, named DJ ... he was born December 25, 1991

When Susan was 11, I was divorced from him and we all moved into a house with just me Susan and DJ ..

The step father created lots of problems for us ... he is a problem, but he was a difficult man to make go away! He was abusive, physically, emotionally and any other way he could think of ... and in some ways I didn't know about.

Well, I thought this would be a new beginning for us ... I got a new job and we were doing ok ... but Susan was missing something in her life, she wanted to know her Daddy ... He had remarried and she had a family that she knew nothing about. So I called her father after years of no contact ... the step father refused to allow us contact with her real dad for reasons only known to him ... insecure is what I have since learned, but I contacted David any way and finally my daughter was getting to know HER daddy.

After a while she wanted to meet him, we took her up to WV and she met him ... she even went up a few times to live with him, but we would miss each other or I would not agree with something that they (David and his new wife) would do, it was a difficult transition for all of us.

Well, Susan eventually stayed with me and would visit her Dad

... when she started Middle School, Susan began to change ... she quit liking school, she started hanging out with kids who had questionable characters ... smoking cigarettes, drinking ... stuff I contributed to growing up, I did all that stuff growing up too, rebelled against my parents ... I thought that was all it was, so I handled her like my parents handled me. I grounded her, I whipped her ass and I talked until I was green and purple ... all to no avail. Susan had a mind all her own and she did what she wanted regardless of the consequences ... that was just how she was ....

I asked her Dad to talk to her, I asked my family to talk to her, I had Doctors, counselors, School officials .. I had friends who would talk to her, her grandmother who she worshipped talked to her ... Susan didn't listen unless she wanted to listen, and she chose not to.

I was struggling to raise her and her brother, alone ... I worked a lot, so that left her alone a lot ... She came to me and asked to see a Counselor, because she needed to talk to someone about what was going on inside her head ... so I took her, and we changed counselors until we found someone she felt comfortable with ... but ... she wasn't honest with them and she refused meds that were prescribed, how were we to know what laid ahead?

I begged and pleaded and demanded things from her, like going to school, doing her chores, taking care of her personal space ... things that every parent asks their kids do, I was not the slave driver like she accused me of being .... I only made her do what most parents ask of their children too, I did it growing up, so I figured it wouldn't hurt her to do it either.

She asked me one time if I had kids just so I could make them do things for me ... yeah right??

Moving on to the day she left us .... Susan was a very funny and caring person, she would cry if someone else cried, she was just so tender hearted ... I would spank DJ for something and Susan would cry because he was getting punished. She would beg me not to spank him. She would cause herself pain before she would hurt anyone intentionally.

And she hurt herself quite often. Cut her arms, scratch names into her skin, you wouldn't believe the scars she left on herself. I was stunned when I discovered what she was doing, I was scared, and I didn't understand, I sought help through Charter Hospital, What a damn Joke!!!!!

They told me that my daughter didn't fit their criteria for admission, she was not suicidal ... so, no help there, I took her to Northbridge Psychiatry here in Charleston, and she bonded with her counselor there, or so I thought. We went to her weekly, and I thought we were making progress ... we were getting things out that bothered each other and Susan was actually trying to be honest with her. She still refused to take the meds though.

On Monday, March 12, Susan had an appointment with her counselor and she kept it ... that and we talked for a really long time ... about everything and nothing ... it was the best conversation we have had in a very long time ....

She just told me about everything, and I thought to myself that this was great, we should do it more often, after a while she went to her room, because I was falling asleep, as I had to get up for work the next morning.

So I watched her walk out of my room, I remember it like it was yesterday, and I wish a thousand times I had called her back just once more, just once ... to tell her I loved her and to hug her or kiss her ... or something, anything ... but I didn't and I will live with that regret the rest of my life ...

The next morning I woke up, and I didn't even get her up for school, because I knew she wasn't going to go anyway, so I avoided the confrontation, hindsight ... so I went on to work ... I was in a training class that day,

March 13 .... at lunch, I called home to see what was going on, and Bill answered, we lived together and he was home that day with Susan. He and I had been fighting and were on the verge of a break up because I was afraid of relationships, so when he answered I asked where Susan was, he said she was still sleeping.

Well, that was unacceptable as far as I was concerned, she should be up or something, she wasn't in school, she could at least be doing her chores at home ... he woke her up and she got on the phone and I reamed her ... I was upset because all she did lately was NOTHING!! I told her that her and Billy both needed to get their priorities in order, never once thinking, maybe I should take a good look at myself ... and I hung up on her, no nothing, I just hung up.

At 2:30 that same afternoon, Susan called me at work and asked me if I needed her to pick her brother up from school for me, I told her no, I took care of my priorities something she should do too,

See, I was still angry from the earlier conversation, and I took it out on her, again. I have eaten those words a million times since that day, a zillion times! And I am eating them again as I sit and write this .....

Well, I hung up again, not knowing that it would be the very last time I ever spoke to my daughter ..... EVER!!!!!!

She didn't call me and I didn't call her back. I get off work at 3:30, I didn't leave the plant until 4PM ..... and I had to run an errand before I went home, and pick DJ up from the baby sitter,

I got home around 4:30, a quarter to 5, maybe, and I checked the mail box and walked into the house, Billy was standing inside the door, and to this day, I SWEAR, I saw Susan sitting in the chair behind him ....

I walked into the kitchen, sat down and went through the mail .... Billy and I talked a little about whatever, I don't remember now, and he walked outside to talk to Nancy, our neighbor ... he was gone awhile, 10 minutes maybe, when he came racing into the house for the phone ... screaming into the phone that Susan was hurt .... I am sitting there watching and the look on his face was terrifying, so I ran out of the house and I followed him into the woods behind our house, I didn't see her at first ...

Billy had said "hurt" not dead, I'm looking for blood, I'm expecting to hear her screaming or something .... He said she was "hurt".

I wanted her to be hurt, not dead ... I saw her lying on the ground, and her head was turned from me, I was crying, Billy was still on the phone and Marie, another neighbor was there, and they were trying to do CPR on her ...

I couldn't find her pulse, I couldn't find her heartbeat, she wasn't breathing ... my God what was happening? No, this is not happening ... her eyes were closed and she looked like she was sleeping. And I wanted to touch her and kiss her and tell her how damn sorry I was,
Susan, please wake up ... I'm so sorry !!!!!! My baby couldn't wake up any more.

Then I saw her neck, and I knew my daughter was not with me anymore ... I think I knew from the moment I saw her but my brain was rejecting that thought ... no way was this happening, no way did my Susan, the Susan everyone adored, the big sister to my sons, my first born, no, Susan was NOT dead .....

My neighborhood was in my yard, I do not know where they all came from, all of us died that day, all of us are now different people .....

They made me leave her in the woods all alone, I was not going to leave her but they made me, if I stayed with her, maybe she would change her mind and come back, but they took me out of the woods and made me leave her.

It was hours before all the police left and they finally took Susan to wherever they took her, but the police told me that they had found a knife under her body, isn't that ironic? For 5 months after her death, I tried to rationalize why did my baby want to die? She had left no note or anything that I could find ... I thought she impulsively tried to hang herself and took the knife with her to cut herself down if it hurt too bad, and for 5 months, I thought it was all an accident, she really didn't mean to do it ...

Then I got all her stuff back that they took from her room the night she died, and I went through it with a friend,

I was too afraid of what I might find, so I asked my friend to be with me ... well, we found her letter and boy did she have something to say. I have all the answers that I had been seeking for 5 months. That is another story by itself.

I no longer think my daughters suicide was an accident ... I no longer knew Susan as I thought I had. My daughter wore a mask, and my daughter hid so much of her real self from me ... It was like I learned more about her after she died, than I knew about her while she was with me ...

I am still learning things about Susan that I didn't know ... everything my daughter ever felt, she wrote it on paper. I have thousands of pages that I never knew about, and I have learned that my daughter was not the little girl I knew, she was an angry young lady that was treated badly beyond words in a society that I raised her to believe in and she chose to die, instead of acting on the impulses that her disease wanted her to act on .... and that is what suicide is,

I have since learned Susan was sick, and she believed she was beyond repair .... and she was tired from struggling so hard to be "normal".... she was weary from being in constant pain and trying to appear normal for me, my sweet baby girl spared me her pain and I would have taken every ounce of it for her, I would have died for her, didn't she know that???

Susan died on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 .... I hated Tuesdays for a long time after her death, and we buried her at Berkeley Memorial Gardens, in Moncks Corner, SC ..... her funeral was Saturday, March 17, 2001.

It was a sunny day, I think, I can't remember a lot, too many drugs ... I do remember being in a cemetery though, and I knew I wasn't supposed to be burying my 15 year old daughter, I did know that much!

Susan would have turned 16 on June 18th, just 3 months after she died ... I was in bed the entire month of June. My birthday is also on the 13th, so on June 13th, I turned 137 (and believe me, I feel every minute of 137) and I also marked the 3 month death of my first born child.

What a life ... it has been a little over 11 months since my child took her wings and I have missed her every second of that time.

I found this group 4 weeks after Susan suicided, and at first all I could do was sit here and cry ... I couldn't believe there were this many people affected by suicide. I had never been touched by death at all during my life, which reminds me ....

I had a conversation with a co worker a week or so before Susan died, and I had mentioned that I had not had to deal with death even at my age, I felt fortunate, as he had just lost his mother and that was how we were on the subject ...those words too came back to haunt me ... first time I have to deal with death, and it is my child ... how unnatural can that be?

I am doing as well as can be expected, for where I am, I will never ever be the same Kristi that I was on March 13th at 5:00 PM, that Kristi died along with her daughter ... but a new Kristi was left to grieve and take the old Kristi's place ... I am a stronger Kristi, a more compassionate one, a softer one ... I still get pissed at injustices, and I still yell ... but, it is a kinder yell, a more caring yell, and it is not aimed at my loved ones any more ....

I found out how quickly your loved ones can be removed from your life ..... and you never get a second chance to take back what that wicked tongue can say.

I have been through so many emotions in the last 11 months, but I am finding a peaceful place, I think, it could all change tomorrow, but for now, I am ok .... I am able to reach out and comfort others, because I understand what it is like to lose someone you love so intensely that you want to die too .... I know what 4 weeks feels like, I know what 8 weeks feels like, I hope I am able to comfort at least one parent, or wife or sister or aunt, daddy or brother ... just to say, I am grateful someone reached out to me when I was a new grieving parent .....

I need to stop now, I'm not making sense any more ... if you have reached the bottom of this post without deleting ... Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you, My daughter did live, and the more I share her story, the more I heal ..... May each of you find some peace in this journey we are on together ....

With Love and Compassion .....
Kristi Valis
Susan Jones Mother
6-18-85 ~ 3-13-01

Susan Jones