Sunday, November 28, 2010

Choices

Yesterday one of our family members died.

Actually, he was murdered.      

Jesse was walking with his girlfriend down a quiet residential street when a car pulled up next to them.  A young Latino man got out and leveled a shotgun.

In the moment it took for the assailant to fire the weapon and get back in the car, Jesse had taken a violent blast that spread from his abdomen to his hip.  The girlfriend was shot in the foot.  We’re told that Jesse lay on the sidewalk quiet, calm, and conscious for the two minutes it took for the wound to bleed out.  Then he was gone.

Jesse was fifteen years old.  He and his older brother, Jerry, became our new grandsons a year and a half ago when our daughter Amy married their father, Tommy.  Tommy’s teenage boys joined Amy’s eight-year-old Levi and four-year-old Taryn from her previous marriage.

Eleven months ago was our first Christmas shared with this new extended family, and Jerry and Jesse were surprised but pleased when we presented them gifts labeled “From your new Grandma and Grandpa.”

Fifteen is the hardest of all the teenage years.  You’re not quite old enough to drive, yet at that age there’s nothing you absolutely need to do more than to just get in a car and go.  It's also an age where a boy needs to have some money in his pocket, and what jobs are out there for a kid that age?  No one will hire a fifteen year old kid these days.  No one.

Fifteen, for a boy, means having to walk everywhere you go and not having any money once you get there.  It’s an age of soaring hopes intertwined with soul crushing helplessness.

Every kid dreams of turning sixteen, or eighteen, or twenty-one.  Nobody looks forward to being fifteen years old.  Fifteen sucks.

Fifteen is also the age many boys want to assert their independence, and two weeks ago Jesse informed his parents that he was joining a gang.

That was just ridiculous, of course. Jesse was too nice, too kind, too likeable to be a gangbanger.  Besides, his father knew something about gang life, having been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.  Tommy came from a street-tough background, and told his son that gangbanging was nothing to fool around with.  It wasn’t a hobby you could pick up and put back down. Tommy tried to reign his son in, to talk sense into him.  He was repeatedly grounded.  Grounding was ineffective.

For Jesse had a new girlfriend, a mysterious young girl he was now spending way too much time with.  Sometimes he wouldn't even come home for a day or two, and when he did, he was grounded again.  His parents took everything away from him -his cell phone, his XBox- but none of that mattered to Jesse.

He never brought the girl home.  Kids his age often cringe at the idea of introducing a girlfriend to their parents, and Jesse worked diligently to make sure they never met.  Amy tells me she only saw the girl  once, very briefly.

Jesse was missing school and missing sleep, and his parents were throwing every punishment possible at him, even threatening to have him locked up for his own good.  But at fifteen, a kid's hormones will always win out in any battle against the undeveloped pre-frontal cortex, so despite endless threats from his parents who ordered him to stay put under penalty of the harshest of punishments, the bedroom window was there right next to his bed, beckoning him to slip out through it.  The girl was out there.  His parents were in here.  Parents here, girl there. 

Girl. Window. 

Sometime around midnight on the morning of Saturday November 27th, the pull of hormones, girl, and window combined to overcome any threat -or even thought- of punishment.  Jesse chose the window, slipping quietly out into the cold night.

At twenty-six years old, my daughter's own teen years were not that far behind her, and Amy found herself uniquely suited to being an empathetic stepmother to a her new teenage sons.   A former teen runaway and meth addict, Amy had spent considerable time on the streets -when she wasn’t locked up in Juvenile Hall.  Like Tommy, she had gone into recovery and put her life in order; in fact, she and Tommy had first met in one of the recovery programs they both attended.  Though long clean and settled into life as a normal wife and mother, Amy was streetwise and clued in to the kind of angst Jesse was feeling.  They had long talks together, and Jesse found a willing confidante in Amy.

But since the new girlfriend, Jesse no longer wanted those chats with his new mom, and began to deliberately distance himself from Amy and the rest of the family.  As for his father -well, Jesse’s father couldn’t possibly relate.  His father’s tales of life as a gang member on the streets held no relevance for Jesse.  Jesse was a gangsta now. He defined what cool was, not his father.  Tommy’s vigorous warnings fell on deaf ears.

A day after his death, it was discovered that Jesse wasn’t actually a member of any gang at all.  His friends report that he was looked on as a baby-faced white boy wanna-be who thought it would be the ultimate cool to play with the big boys. His friends have revealed that he had a secret MySpace page where his slogan was “Nothing matters more than my homies, NO LIE!”

Except Jessie had no "homies".  He had dozens of devoted friends -I met them last night at a candlelight vigil- but everyone says he had no gangbanger friends, no gang “sponsor,” no bad boy reputation, no gun.

All he had was the desire to be in a gang. That, and the girl. The girl whose company he craved so badly that he was willing to endure any possible punishment to be with her.

No one knows at this point the motivation for the killing of young Jesse Jones.  What we do know is that the killers are still at large.  It’s possible that Jesse’s own mouth was what got him killed.  Jesse claimed to belong to a certain gang, and perhaps a rival gang heard his boasting and decided to take him out.  Maybe the killer was a jealous former boyfriend of the girl he was with.  It’s even possible that he was killed for his own impertinence, murdered by members of the very gang he was trying to ingratiate himself into.

Jesse’s father realized long ago that the life Jesse wanted was a dead end.  Tommy chose to get out.  Jesse wanted to get in.

At fifteen years old, Jesse Dean Jones had only one dream in life: To belong to a gang.

Jesse never achieved his dream.  He never got to be a gang member.  He only got to die like one.



                                                                      *****
Update:  Monday, November 29th, a suspect was arrested and charged with the murder of Jesse and the attempted murder of Jesse's girlfriend.  Details and a photo here.

53 comments:

John Peterson said...

Tragic. Even more so since this story is likely to be repeated many more times. Kids need to feel included in a family. Sadly, some get into the wrong types of families. From the sounds of it, this might not have been the case with Jesse. It sounds like he just got involved with the wrong girl. Very sad.

Roblynn said...

I am so sorry for your families loss. It is tragic when such young kids make such stupid choices in their friends.

calimom said...

What a heart-breaking thing for your family to go through. I'm so sorry for the loss of one of your newest grandsons. May God especially bless you!

Foxy said...

Oh my gosh, I know my words can do very little, but I am so very sorry. What a tragic story.

calimom said...

Sorry - I posted comment before I completed my last sentence!

May God especially bless you and your family during this difficult time.

Connie Waterman said...

Thank you all so much for your very kind comments. This is a very hard time for our family, but as you can imagine, his good father is suffering so much that I worry for him. Tommy is a wonderful man and so wishes that he had had the chance to tell Jesse that he loved him before he died.

Tommy made the very beautiful decision to save several other young people through donation of Jesse's organs. This happened at a time of serious financial difficulty, as Tommy was just laid off for the season. We are still not sure how all of this is going to work out. All of your prayers would be greatly appreciated at this time.

Aprillium said...

my heart breaks for everyone that is suffering through this. I simply can't imagine. I truly hope that everyone who loves him can find some comfort somewhere.

Steven Lester said...

I am not quite sure how this will be received but if it is found to be offensive, please know that my words were not offered in that vein. I have had family members die as well, so I know that I need to choose my words carefully.

I have studied through more than 1000 Near Death Experiences which took place at different locations by people of both sexes when they were from 3 years old to 76. A general pattern runs thorough them all, which I know that you have investigated as well, Mr. Waterman, as you have mentioned at least once in this blog.

That general pattern must have applied to Jesse as well: the simple leaving of the body, being met and helped along by some relative or relatives who took the same journey before, perhaps the tunnel with the bright light at the end, the entrance into the Otherside where conditions are completely beyond our capacity to conceive fully, but which he knows now even as he knew before he came here. There is nothing there but love. He did not return which has meant in other cases that his death moment was known from the beginning of his life and that the timing was correct and well-approved. The Otherside dwells outside of the time that we know and so the end is always known from the beginning.

Jesse is fine. He just returned home from where he came, actually came, just as you and I did. He remembers himself fully now and his veil is lifted completely. All of this is as real as his death is real. Every one of us will shortly follow. Thousands of those who died and then returned because it wasn't their time yet are agreed about this reality. Death ends nothing, unless it is viewed from a mortal perspective; It is merely a transition and nothing more when it viewed from an eternal perspective.

jmb275 said...

Sorry Rock, to you and your whole family. May God bless your family in your time of need.

susanne staymates said...

I am so sorry about your loss my thoughts and prays r with u

Dave P. said...

I often tell people that one of the main reasons why I'm still a religious man is because I look forward to the day when the evil people who are part of today's secret combinations will finally get theirs at the judgment bar.

That wasn't the case when I read about Jesse. I never met the guy, but my heart wept for both him and the one who shot him because there will come the time when the shooter will also have to stand before God at judgment and Jesse will be on the witness stand.

My condolences for your family's loss and may the Lord's peace rest upon you.

Brett said...

My sincere condolences. Thank you for sharing his story, it's good to read. We all make poor choices as teenagers and it's sad that sometimes those choices can be so tragic.

God bless.

Dustin said...

I am sorry for your loss Alan. My prayers will be with you and your family.

Connie Waterman said...

Thank you for your kind words, Steven. I have had 4 "near-death" experiences and for me, I was given the choice to stay or return. Clearly I returned; perhaps knowing in my heart that it was not really my "time". I was blessed to be able to make that "decision".

I know that Jesse is in a better place. I have seen it and I know that he is fine.He was met with love beyond our mortal understanding. The problem is, while this is a very wonderful thing to ponder and understand, his dad and our daughter are still inconsolable- especially his dad.

I pray that he will come to this eternal perspective- but without the perspective that we are blessed to have, this is not the perspective he really has. Also, this is looking more and more like a pre-meditated murder. On top of this, losing a child always feels like it was before their time.

I pray that this very good man and father, will one day be open to all of what I know and can share with him.

I thank you for your loving comment.

Dave P. said...

Connie,

You're an incredibly brave person for making that choice so many times as I know I'd have opted to leave this world in a heartbeat if given the chance to do so and retain my inheritance.

We lost my oldest brother at the start of 2005 to a sudden illness and it was the unexpected nature of the loss that hit us the hardest and it was even worse for me as I was the only one not at home when it happened. But in his case we were able to accept that it was his time because the impediments of Asberger's Syndrome had blocked his progression in this life for a very long time and his death came to be seen as a release from that.

Of course none of us can claim what Jesse was feeling or thinking during his final moments but there is indeed no doubt in my mind that he had someone to guide him along the way given the report of how calm he was.

Tom said...

Rock, Connie, Amy, Tommy, Jerry + others:

What could I possibly say here? Especially for Tommy - a father's love, in a time such as this, is unfortunately often overlooked. Not just here, but in society as well. Few know or understand the love a father has and feels for his children. His heartache simply cannot be understood by any of us not there. I followed the link to the SacBee report and the unfortunate comment someone made about the parents role in this.

When utter ignorance and detachment bring out such comments, it only highlights what the parents, especially Tommy, must be feeling. His hurt is known by no one here on earth. His regret, the war in his soul and the pain he feels is impossible for us to know. Try as we might, our empathy likely rings hollow in those hours where he is alone, where he is left alone in his own mind, warring within himself. Our greatest battles are within our own minds.

So, to Tommy, I hope you find some comfort in this turmoil. I hope you find solace in your heart and mind. And, mostly, I hope you find some measure of peace, peace that only you can feel.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I just got word that a suspect in the murder is now in custody. That's all I know a this time, but I'll post an update when I know more.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thank you all for your loving concern. We bless you.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I've posted an update at the end of my post linking to information regarding the suspect. There is also a photo of the suspect at that link.

Further booking information that I've been provided with states that the suspect is 19 years old, 5'-9", 145 lbs, and has the nickname of "Rat".

Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2010/11/arrest-made-in-13.html#ixzz16i9un5DS

Hello, Monta! said...

My heart cries for all involved...Jesse, Tommy, Amy, Jerry, you and Connie, and all other family members and friends who feel the pain of Jesse's tragic separation. Knowing he's in good hands helps to take the edge off of the sting of death, but still, it's so very painful.

My prayers and loving energy go out to all in need of extra love and solace as they work through everything that has just happened, as well as what lies ahead.

Adding my own personal experience, as one who has lost three family members in similarly abrupt and tragic ways, the veil is indeed thin, and those who have moved beyond DO reach out to comfort and strengthen us in many beautiful ways. May all feel Jesse's love in this way...

Too Hard Headed to Give Up said...

I'm so sorry. Thinking of and praying for you, your family, and all involved.

Eliza R. Snitch said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

May God bless you and yours Rock.

Bruce in Montana

Anonymous said...

Your writing illuminated the life of the young man you and your family loved so dearly. I hope you, Tommy and Amy find peace.
I teach at the school and want you to know our students were very sad.Our principal provided ongoing support to any in need.
We need to continue to help our students and parents understand that the blue/red deal is not a game. Parenting in this age is difficult and we only get one chance.Your daughter and son obviously tried hard and as you stated, fifteen is a very difficult age. The blame clearly belongs to those who hate and use violence to further agendas.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rock, Connie, Tommy, and Amy...how fragile life is! How wonderful you were able to cherish and love Jesse for his 15 years' sojourn here. A parent's seemingly sole purpose is to teach and protect their children from the mistakes they made themselves, and their goal is to hope for their children to have a better life than their own. Please take comfort in knowing that your thoughts and actions were pure - and that the decisions of another prematurely took Jesse home. I too, know that he was welcomed by loved ones and that he is doing fine. It's just difficult for those left behind to continue on...do celebrate him in your lives, your memories...speak his name aloud, treasure the moments - the small ones, the bigs ones - you shared with him. And when you are able, write his history so he will be known to those who follow...and please be comforted in knowing you are not alone. God bless you all in this difficult time of transition. Carol M

Emily A. W. said...

I am sorry for your loss.

Donnell Allan said...

This is heartbreaking on so many levels. I am so sorry.

Steve said...

I'm sorry for your family's loss.

PSBear said...

Shocking news to read. So sorry for you and your family. You will all be in my prayers. Richard S

Anonymous said...

Wow. I have never met you, Alan, but have been very appreciative of your blog. With this latest post, you attempt no explanations or answers. I don't think there are any. But I can sure hear some ridiculous ones in my head that I can imagine being offered at church. I hope you are spared all of those. Thank you for sharing at this difficult time. Peace to you. Richard M.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for the loss of your grandson. I knew Tommy in grade school and then met Jessica through him, I often think of them all. I recognized Jessica on the news last night and I just wept and wept. Jesse was 2 the last time I seen him. Thank you for explaining the details the news continues to choose to leave out.

May you all find peace in your own way.

Mistina Spencer

pleiades829 said...

How horribly tragic, and at the worst time of year, too. I hope God can grant you some measure of comfort.

Anonymous said...

Well first off Jesse did not have just one dream of being a gangsta, he did want more for his life. But yes he did what some love and attention that your daughter did not have time to show to her non- biological children. DO NOT MAKE JESSE OUT TO BE A BAD SEED!! If you can not speak the truth about Jesse, then you have no right to speak about him at all. He was very loving, friendly and had a smile to light up any room. And maybe if your Amy really wanted to show that she cared, she could of gave him some of her time or even stayed sober then maybe Jesse would still be here with us. However to be able to make that last statement, I would have to add that if we all tried to show him attention, and showed Jesse that we all love him very much and that he did have other places he could go where he could feel wanted then no one would feel the need to blog or spin lies about Jesse Dean Jones. Jesse was a bright young man who loved and cared deeply for his family and friends. Jesse has touched many lives with his warm and bright smile. In loving memory of a kind hearted young man, someone that will never be forgotten and always be missed. We love you Jesse!!!!! And so very sorry but Tommy has not married Amy, and they where both in a relationship when they conceived their baby. The four of them (including their ex-lovers) were best friends until they no-longer cared about their families, only themselves!!!!!

Isaac said...

Anonymous at 4:09,
I don't think Rock was intending to paint Jesse as a "bad seed." There isn't a person less likely to lie about someone or make them out to be a bad person in public.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4:09,
Obviously I can't comment from any personal knowledge on this and I'm sure there is a lot truth to what you said, but I found it odd that you seemed to dismiss Jesse's notion of being a gangsta by saying that he wanted other things too. Thats the problem with certain "evils" in life, they have a way of corrupting the good things. That said, everyone is responsible for their own actions. The thugs that killed are the ultimate one's responsible.

Paul said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Paul said...

I lost a son when he was nineteen just turning twenty.

For what it’s worth, please be reminded that “time heals,” although, no matter what your religious or spiritual belief system is (or isn’t), the effects of this horrendous tragedy will probably never completely dissipate. In fact, sometimes, as in my case, it may get pretty rough even after a lot of time has passed. But overall the hurt does become less intense, especially if you are able to deal with all of the various attending issues in the right way.

“Your pain is my pain,” just as I am sure “My pain is your pain,” like “Mi casa es tu casa.” So many of us parents, brothers, sisters and friends are thusly bonded, perhaps even ‘related’ now. But it is incumbent that we learn to cope and go on with our lives if only for the simple TRUTH that our loved ones who have passed on, earnestly want us to do so. Of this, I am so very sure.

Please accept my heartfelt condolences, and no doubt inadequate consolation for your loss.

Non American said...

Anonymous at 4.09

Of course you're entitled to your opinion but have a heart. There are families grieving right now. My daughter pointed out to me the fact that when you blog you set yourself up for both positive and negative comments and I have to remind myself of that from time to time when I feel someone is being particularly harsh in a comment.If what you say is true, I'm sure your comments can't hurt half as much as Amy & Tommies private thoughts. Hands up all of us who can claim to be perfect parents. We are all just doing what we can, hoping we're doing it all properly and hoping and praying for the best.

Connie, Rock, Amy & Tommie and all of Jesse's family members...I don't know any of you but I sincerely offer my heartfelt condolences.

Matthew said...

So sorry to hear this news - God bless you and your family, Rock.

bodgirl237 said...

To anonymous,
If you read that blog and took away with the impression that what the writer thought about Jesse was that he was a bad seed, then maybe you should read it again. What I got out of it was that the writer felt love and sadness for Jesse and his whole family. and that he loved and understood exactly what Jesse was going through and the dumb choices teenagers sometimes do.

I knew Jesse and I can tell you that nothing could keep him inside. He was best friends with his stpmother he lived with and he loved her like you will never know, but he was obsessed with staying out and there was nothing hes father or his stepmother could do to make him stay home. I know he loved her like his own mom because he said so. She did everything she could I'm a teenager too, and I do stupid things and I don't behave my parents. But i do not see what you saw when you read that blog. I only see that the person who wrote about this trajedy was very sad about it and sorry that it turned out that way. It made me cry when I read it maybe you should read it again and maybe you will feel the love.

Connie Waterman said...

Well, "anonymous at 4:09"- aren't you a know it all and oh so smart and judgmental? I guess you think you know everything- huh??!

I am Amy's Mother and I AM PUTTING MY NAME HERE...something you are too much of a coward to do! My hands are shaking I am so angry, and I don't ever get this angry- especially at someone who I don't know. Jesse was not a bad seed and nowhere did Rock imply that he was! Rock loved Jesse every bit as much as I did. Anyone who reads the blog can see that Rock is grieving over Jesse's death, but that Rock truly understands what motivates a boy that age. Rock isn't blaming Jesse for running off, he is showing how clearly he understands how boys that age sometimes can't help themselves.

Jesse's Father, his birth mother, and his stepmother are all second-guessing themselves right now, wondering if there was anything more they could have done to prevent this tragedy. Rock's writing reminds them that the situation was beyond their control. They are not to blame, and neither is Jesse. He did nothing different than many kids his age.

Jesse was murdered by someone none of us knew. I am sick of hearing from those who look to lay part of the blame on those who loved him. Try blaming the killer, why don't you?

Amy at 15 was not a bad seed, either...simply rebellious as was Jesse. Amy got to turn her life around and still is. Our poor, dear Jesse was not a troubled child, he was only rebellious in a way many kids his age get. That is all. Did you read the entire blog post? Jesse was a WONDERFUL boy and he LOVED HIS FATHER and he loved AMY. I know all of this first hand. Jesse was a delightful boy.

Jesse had one bad habit. He often left home without permission. It was frustrating for his parents, but he always came home. Do you know that you have to wait for 48 hours before you can report a runaway?? I do, because we were there. Not all of us have perfect children like yours must have been.

My illness was very hard on my kids. All kids have different ways of dealing. Yes, Amy rebelled, but she came back around. She was working and going to college when Jesse came into her life.

You suggest that Amy should have loved Jesse as much as she loved her biological children. Well, SHE DID!!

And Jesse loved her back. Jesse loved to please Amy by having the dishes and the vacuuming done when she came home. Many times they sat together and had long chats. Amy understood Jesse in a way few other grown-ups could at the time. Amy was a model stepmother to Jesse. And Jesse loved her.

Anonymous, Where do you get off insulting those who are grieving and hurting so bad? Tommy doesn't even know how he can go on, and he won't stop blaming himself. Don't you think your words hurt? How can you be so thoughtless and cruel?

I am only one of a family of MANY of Jesse's relatives- blood and not, who are in REAL PAIN. Rock and I joined Jesse's birth mother, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins in grieving for Jesse. We are all one family now. Who are you to try and divide us?

My daughter has only been in Jesse's life for less than 2 years. She sacrificed and listened and went out in the middle of the night with Tommy and their newborn baby searching for this young man. We love Tommy and his children as our own. We do not judge them, and never have. No one here has ever believed Jesse to have been a "bad seed," and you are way out of line to even suggest it.

Connie Waterman said...

Well now...deep breath...I admit to writing this in anger, but I want to say now that I forgive you for the things you wrote here. I love you, anonymous friend, and I pray for you. I pray that you will allow yourself to do the ONE thing that Jesus Christ commanded of us: To LOVE one another. I hope you will set aside your anger and judgment; your judgment toward Rock, toward Amy, and toward all who know and love Jesse and did all in their power to prevent this tragedy. Please take stock of how you have judged others without thinking. Take it from someone who knows: Karma is a very rough teacher.

May everyone here be blessed, and continue always to follow the golden rule.

Steven Lester said...

And you had every right to be angry, Mrs. Waterman. It was a brutal letter to be sent at such a time as this. I believe that writer to be a teenager, about Jesse's age or so, who was hurting and angry also, but who did not have the maturity to recognize the effect her words would have; she pushed the button to send instead of waiting, irretrivably.

Emotion is so exhausting sometimes, on so many levels. I am saddened by the news. I have downloaded Jesse's picture to remember him even though I've never met him, but even when my own family members died, I never felt the depth of emotion that have all of you. However do you stand it? You are all so amazing.

Dave P. said...

The ability to remain anonymous is perhaps the greatest double-edged sword in the realm of the abstract. It can be a shield for the brave but also a refuge for the coward. Kudos to those who could very well say the same things under the shadow of anonymity but choose to reveal themselves, whether or not their comments contribute to or detract from the spirit of the original post.

Jonas said...

Rock, Connie and family,
My heart to yours.

As I read this post and the comments, especially Anonymous and Connie's response, I am reminded that there are no accidents.

May I offer another perspective? We see in our lives a world of duality - of right and wrong, but maybe there is a bigger picture. Jesse obviously wanted to be a gangsta. Not my first choice for anyone, but it sounds like he was actively pursuing it. Could it be that he was simply spared the treachery of such a life by those unseen beings of light who loved him enough to say, "You don't need to go through that."? And they took him home.

Is there a story to his life and his moving to the next realm that can touch the life of another? Maybe he just became a great teacher. Has anyone here learned something of themselves through this event? Has anyone found strength they didn't know they had? Has anyone learned something of others? Has anyone found love for Jesse that ran deeper than they thought it did?If your love runs deeper for Jesse than you realized, who else does your love run deeper for? Have you expressed this to them?

It seems to me that Jesse came, he taught, he left. God bless you Jesse for being your contract!

We all grieve when we lose someone we love and that's as it should be, but this is never an end, it is a new beginning and we will all experience it. And who's to say that Jesse is not working on some grander project, like watching over, and assisting and protecting those he loved? Now it's time to see what message Jesse really taught and let his light shine through us as we climb to a higher state of enlightenment.

Jonas said...

I have something to share that I never thought I would share publicly, but this seems wholly appropriate.

When I was in high school I had a friend named Dennis. Dennis was kid who knew no fear. As rebellious as he was, he was loved by everyone.

In our twenties Dennis and I went separate ways. I chose religion and he chose alcohol. I chose the box and Dennis only knew that a box was something to get out of as fast as possible. He became one of most distasteful people I have ever known. He was mean. He fought frequently and when he fought he meant to cause harm, not just win. He was shot once. He spent time in and out of jail. He became one of the most vulgar-mouthed people I have ever known and I had to separate myself from him. But there was one thing about Dennis that stood apart from the rest of his actions: he loved his mother and he would do anything for her, anytime, anyplace and he would remove anyone or anything that stood in his way.

I lost touch with Dennis and his family for a number of years, but one day I was in town and called his mother to see if I could visit her. We hadn't talked long when she said, "I guess you heard about Dennis?" No, I hadn’t heard, and this sounded like trouble. His mother proceeded to tell me that he had committed suicide 5 years earlier. She gave me a little detail that I will spare on this blog. I was so very sorry to hear it.

Some months later I was meditating and Dennis appeared to me. Think what you will, he was there with me and he asked a favor of me. Would I go and ask his mother to forgive him? That was his request. I pondered for a long time how in the world I could approach his mother and say such a thing. “Hi Jean, (not her real name) How’s it going? By the way, I saw Dennis recently and he asked me to tell you . . .” Really, how does one approach something like this?

It was several months before I made it to California again, but while I was there I called his mother and asked if I could visit. Before I entered the house I offered a heartfelt prayer that went something like this: “I don’t how to approach this. So I’ll go in and talk but you have to give me the words to say.” Jean and I talked of things for awhile and then I said, “Jean, there is something I have to tell you. I don’t how to say it or how you will take it but please hear me out.”

When I finished we both cried and she assured me with a promise that she would be on her knees and forgive him that very night. She would do anything for him as he would do for her.

The visit ended and as I walked out the door Jean stopped me and hugged me, and with tears in her eyes she whispered, “Thank you. You have no idea what you have done for me.” With that I drove away.

I pondered what had happened and thought back on my religious training and the teaching that when one ends one’s own life they are pretty much screwed for eternity. And then it hit me. It was like a freight train on rocket rails, downloading information – knowledge - into every fiber of my being. I had thought that Dennis wanted forgiveness. I thought he wanted something for himself; to appease his own anguish. But in that moment of epiphany it came to me with pure knowledge that his intent was not for him – it was for his mother. It was her grief that he wished to dispel.

Part of the knowledge I received was that Dennis is not screwed. If he was he wouldn’t be concerned with his mother. I have seen Dennis many times since that happened. He is happy, he is wonderful and he is still my friend. And he lends me a little of his fearlessness when it serves me best. These words are literal. I do not take them lightly.

Now for Jesse’s family. Grieve your loss, it’s okay. But know that Jesse is as close to you now as the width of a thought. He knows your anguish but he is serving a higher purpose. His purpose right now, is you.

May peace and joy replace your anguish.

Steven Lester said...

These are wonderful posts, Jonas. I do not doubt in the least that Dennis has appeared to you many times, and the kind of communication which was beyond the words spoken, if they were even spoken, wherein the complete truth of whatever is entered into the mind telepathically is ALWAYS the way that near-death experiencers find that they communicate on the Otherside. Complete truth is then shared fully and there is not an iota of room for falsehood.

Nothing like this has ever happened to me, which doesn't surprise me really, for who am I, and I would envy those who do have it happen to them if I didn't know that envy is against the rules for Christian thought. I've prayed for it but I am nothing, so nothing has ever happened.

You have actually seen Dennis, I know. May I ask you for details, possibly, like what was he wearing, could you see anything behind him, or did he appear bodily totally within our reality? Please believe me that I am NOT mocking you in the least. I believe completely in the reports of the more than a thousand people who have seen the Otherside and returned. It is just that I've never met anybody in person who has had this sublime experience to whom I could address a question or two. Please forgive me if I have offended in any way.

If you felt that a private answer, if you felt so inclined to offer it to me, would be more appropriate, my email address is: buxtehude.2002@yahoo.com

Again, forgive me if I have offended.

lifeofdi said...

Totally heartbreaking. Kids don't understand the consequences... unfortunately your grandson had to pay the price before he was old enough to get smart. A new reader's thoughts are with your family.

Petitemalfleur said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Amy McIntyre said...

Hi Everyone,
I'm Amy, Jesse's stepmom. I want to thank everyone here that expresses love and sympathy to our family during this trying time. I have actually been reading comments as they come, but wasn't quite ready to post a comment until now.
As for Anonymous 409, I won't even bother. I believe s/he wrote a posted that huge run-on sentence, then went on their way, satisfied in their own mind that they had the last word.

So, I am here simply to respond to incredible love and understanding most of you have, many of you being complete strangers. Apparently, you know our family deeper than those who claim to have been around us.
Tommy is a grieving father, a normally strong man, now broken and full of regret. Does such hate really exist where another man can dare kick him while he is down? Yes, it does.
Here I am, trying to juggle my own grief, the house we live in, and ol' familiar self-blame. Does such a love really exist, where another person can reach out to a stranger, just to let us know this family does not suffer alone? YES, it DOES!
Those of you who comfort are true angels. Thank you, thank you thank you!

Please continue to pray for us.
Many Thanks,
Amy and Family

Connie Waterman said...

Amy,
my very special and loving daughter. You are such a mature and loving person. I truly commend you for your beautiful comment. You are always telling your dad and I that we have changed so much since we did a very special "training" called Impact. Tonight, I felt that you had graduated from the program, alongside your Dad and I. I am deeply humbled and grateful to be your Momma.

Taking the "High road" can be difficult, and I feel ashamed to say that in my 1st comment, I did not. As you know, I am very protective of our family, but I could have waited for 24 hrs. before posting. Tommy, you and all of our family are always in my prayers; and I really hope that you know this.

You know that I have died and experienced 4 very beautiful near-death experiences. I KNOW that Jesse is fine, very happy and full of peace. I also know that he is allowed to come and comfort all who are grieving for him- especially his dad and family.

Isn't wonderful that there are so many loving "strangers" who care about Jesse and you all!? There are so many good people in this world. AND...to those who are cruel, what is missing in your life, that you would feel to hurt those who are grieving?

I love you Amy!!(AND Tommy!) Thank you for shining your light here!

I keep falling asleep on the keyboard, and you don't want to know what my forehead is writing!

The healing will come, my dear ones. God is with you, as well as MANY Angels! I know this to be true.

With light,love and peace~
Momma Connie

Gay Mormon said...

I am so sorry- what a sad story. You have my heartfelt sympathies.

Jennifer Mutsoe said...

I lost my son to heroin two years ago. These parents will go through hell, in one form or another, though it eases and lessens with time, for the rest of their lives. God bless them and to Jesse. Please know that he is in a place where there is no pain and he is surrounded by love.
Jennifer Mustoe, Utah