On April 26, 2017, I was placing my lunch on my desk and heard the chime of my phone. I looked down and saw my son, Quincy, had texted me. I opened the message that read, “Bye, Mom. I love you and you were the greatest mom a kid could have. This was not your fault.” I stood there in disbelief, had I read that message correctly? But he was home sick from school. My hands started to shake and I could barely breath. I yelled I had to go and showed my coworker the message. I flew out the door, got in my vehicle and began my drive home.
I tried calling him, no answer. I next dialed my husband and through broken cries told my husband I think Quincy had hurt himself, that I was on my way home. I then dialed 911, after giving all the information the dispatcher asked me not to go into the house. I told him I was sorry, but I am his mom. I appreciate that he needs to ask me that and I am going in when I arrive. Many things went through my mind during that drive. My eyes were full of tears, my heart was holding onto I would catch him in time.
When I pulled into the driveway I looked at his bedroom window to see if I could catch any movement. There was nothing. I put the vehicle in park and hesitated for a moment. I opened my car door and a gust of wind blew across my face. I walked into the garage and into the house. As I passed through the kitchen I noticed the basement door was unlocked. I also saw the dogs playing in the bedroom and Quincy’s sweatshirt he had been wearing that morning on the couch. I paused for a moment listening for any sound determining to go to his bedroom or the basement.
I decided on his bedroom, my legs getting weaker with every step. Realizing that the turnout of this situation will change me. I got to the top of the stairs and saw his door shut. The dogs had eagerly followed me up the stairs. I yelled at them in a stern voice to go down the stairs and closed the gate.
I reached my hand out and turned the knob, pushed the door open. As I entered the room I looked ahead. After a few steps, I turned my head to the right. Sitting on his bed, with a gunshot to his head and the gun in his lap, my son sat there dead. I screamed and reached out to him. I grabbed his leg and it was cold. I began to rub it, trying to console him. I wanted to hug him, then I thought I can’t I need the police to figure out what happened. I walked over to his window and looked out over the yard we had played kickball in just a few days before. Then something struck me, where did he get the gun. I ran into my bedroom to find tons of tools strung out and the safe broken open. I went back into Quincy bedroom, sat on his bed rubbing his leg and talking to him. I glanced out the window after several minutes to see the Sheriff’s vehicle pulling up my driveway. I wiped away my tears, went down the stairs, then outside and approached the Sherriff. I took a deep breath and said, “My son is dead, that it appears he had shot himself. Let me show you.”
I would describe my son, Quincy, as a gentle soul…an old soul. He was pure of heart and had great sensitivity for the world around him.
He had an ability to notice the hurt others were feeling and would naturally and willingly take it upon himself to comfort them. Quincy projected kindness and showed generosity and selflessness to everyone he touched.
To say Quincy was polite is an understatement…Since his early years, he showed care and respect for all around him. Even through the tremendous experience of losing Mike, he portrayed compassion toward me when I felt I should have been there for him.
When Quincy was a young boy, his smile and kind heart would light up a room. Quincy was always mature for his age. When he was three, he could carry on a full conversation with every adult in the room.
His curiosity for the world around him and his imagination never ceased to amaze me. At the age of 4, he mixed blue and pink to make purple with sidewalk chalk, he figured out all of this with self-discovery. And purple is still his favorite color.
Some of his self-discoveries were a little less scientific like when he figured out at a young age how to unbuckle his car seat while I was driving down the road and throw things out the window…he was a regular Houdini.
His flair for style started at a young age. He would dress in heels and underwear and announce that he was “Going to make the money!” Or not being able to leave home without a superhero costume, even when we were just going to the grocery store. And no costume was complete without his ever-present rain boots. From Hulk to Spiderman, he was ready to help save the day.
Quincy was always thinking ahead in his life. At the age of 5, he sat me down to discuss his life plan. He said that, of course he probably first had to graduate high school, then he should go to college, and he would need money after that so he needed to get a job, then he could buy a house….he could get a girlfriend after that and then get married and have kids.
Quincy had continued to grow into a beautiful young man with a kind heart. He was 14 the day he took his own life.
I wrote this letter to him:
Quincy, as the day breaks and the sun rises your dad and I lay in bed with hurt in our hearts each morning after your death.
Your dad and I talk about how you impacted our lives just as much as we hope we impacted yours.
Your dad will not have you to watch the tie making videos with and see that you can tie a better knot than him. I will no longer have my Quincy snuggle time. Your seat at the dinner table will be empty as we crowd around it. Our Sunday kickball will not be played as a member of our team is no longer here. The car we talked about buying for you will sit there with a for sale sign on it. We won’t be able to see you go to prom or watch you play football anymore. I will no longer be able to run my hands through your curls. When we are driving in the car and look through the rearview mirror, we will see your brothers, we will see that you are missing. Those are the days ahead of us that we will struggle with.
Your dad and I hope that whatever pain you felt that day that was so unbearable is gone now. We want you to know that we feel lucky that we were chosen to be your parents, how proud of the man that you were becoming and how saddened we are that you are gone from our lives.
We love you, Quincy.