I wonder if anyone can tell me based on their experience or secondhand knowledge, does the police department typically not release a suicide note and retain it as evidence in an investigation?  I did not get the one written by my son returned to me with his personal affects, but I am aware that one was written because it is mentioned in the police report.  I called the evidence dept regarding this, and the person did not have an explanation for me, other than to say that she had verified everything on her check-off sheet.  This is very troubling to me.  I would appreciate it if anyone has information that can shed more light on the situation, as to what is the protocol regarding suicide notes.  Thank you in advance.

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I am sorry the note did not contain what you had hoped. They rarely do give us what we need anyway. I think we hope for answers as to why, but I feel that not even they know what drives them to commit suicide! As you stated it is time to move on and just remember the good times that were shered with Charles while he lived!!
You're right. Just a silly case of magical thinking, or another diversion, I think.  But at least I am one step closer to acceptance as I finish turning all the stones.  I know he was not in his right mind when he did it, so it makes sense that there would not be a letter accompanying such an impulsive act as suicide often is.  He made provision for it ahead of time, though, so he might have written one in one of his lucid moments.  But then, his thought processes had become so disorganized by the end.

Avis M Wilson said:
I am sorry the note did not contain what you had hoped. They rarely do give us what we need anyway. I think we hope for answers as to why, but I feel that not even they know what drives them to commit suicide! As you stated it is time to move on and just remember the good times that were shered with Charles while he lived!!
Kim's personal effects were held by the coroner in the city where her autopsy was done. When her body was released, the few personal effects she had with her were released to the mortuary where she was taken. All, that is, except her last note. We had to stomp our feet quite a bit to obtain it. I spoke with the coroners office and they verified they had it but would not send it to me because "they couldn't verify that I was her mother". I contacted the mortuary and requested that they pick it up and mail it to me as it should have been released to them when her body was released. They were more than happy to do this and picked up the sword for us. We obtained her last thoughts within 5 days of my contact of the mortuary. Kim completed her suicide in another state than ours. She drove there so we would not be the ones who found her. Dealing across state lines can be difficult but you do have rights. Hopefully you have received your son's note by now and it has helped you in your grief. Hugs and warm thoughts.

Hi Jo,

Yes..thanks for asking, I was able to get a copy of the photocopied note they had on file. The detective who assisted me with this said he was told by the Evidence Dept that the original note had been released to me already (in with his "other papers" but I never saw it).  I am satisfied with the outcome, however.

Is the young woman in your profile photograph your daughter Kim?  She is very beautiful, and she looked to be of a gentle nature.  My son also completed his suicide away from me, most likely so that I would not be further traumatized.  His last written statement to me was to not be too hard on myself.  Fat chance, huh!

Thank you so much for writing to me.

Theresa

I am so glad you were able to at least obtain his last words. It is hard because both of our children were, in their last thoughts, worried about us. If only they could have known how their suicides traumatized and saddened us. They were loving "children". They would not have wanted this for us.

Yes, the picture is of Kim. She was one of the kindest, most caring persons I have or ever will know. She always wanted to make "IT" better no matter what "IT" was. One of her friends commented that her soul was just too gentle to survive in this world. Perhaps that is the answer. I don't know and never will. I just know that I, and I am sure you, have this huge hole in my heart that is so darn slow to scar over. One day at a time. It has been 9 months today and it seems like yesterday.

Do be kind to your self and know that you are not to blame. There is no one to blame. I feel like Avis, that they didn't even know why. It just seemed the only way out of their internal pain.

Always a friend ~ Jo

Theresa

My husband left a few notes.  The police kept the original, but made me a copy and returned it to me.

Hope this helps.

Thanks Tanna, that is what I got as well.  The police dept told me that they don't have the original, that it was returned to me.  I was fortunate to receive a copy of the photocopied original they had on file.  How are you doing lately?  How long ago did you lose your husband?  I hope you are having a good day today and that things are getting easier for you. Thanks for writing to me.  Theresa

I'm sorry, but I don't know anything about police department and suicide notes.  Please don't be mad at me for saying this, but it may be a blessing that you don't see the note.  Sometimes we tend to blame ourselves when our loved one takes thier on life.  You never know, but it may be something in that note that you may take personally and maybe make yourself feel worse and make your healing process harder. I pray that I have not offended you. Please take care and respond if you get a chance.

When my son was found in March - he had left his laptop open -  the deputies took the laptop and had a job to get into it -  My son, Tom did leave a three part good bye video.  The deputies gave it back to me once they were convinced Tom was alone, and acted on his own.  The videos while so heart wrenching did explain much.  Just to "see" him those last few moments on this earth, showed just how broken and defeated he was.  Of course there are many unanswered questions - but today if we had those answers it would change nothing - Tom is gone.  I can not imagine you NOT be given the note back....

Carol and Chris, I appreciate your words.  Chris, I am not offended by your comment.  My head knows the truth of what you say; my heart is not so rational.  I know that persons suffering from schizophrenia can say cruel things if they were to leave a letter behind.  My son didn't leave anything like that, fortunately.  Only instructions on how he wanted his remains to be handled.  Still, I would have been thankful for any information.  But looking back, he did give me quite a lot of bits of information about his state of mind that I have been piecing together to get a more comprehensive picture.  Of course, there are the unanswerable questions that remain.  I'll do what I can to get as much understanding as possible from the available information, and after all, I will inevitably need to let go.

Carol, although it must have been very hard on you to watch, do you treasure those videos where you get to see him and hear his voice?  I often save special voice messages, such as my grandchildren's messages; unfortunately, I had not reserved any of my son's messages to be able to play back.

No my sweet Theresa, I do not <today> feel any comfort in watching Tom's video goodbyes.  I DID appreciate seeing it after he was first gone.  It really showed me that he certainly was NOT himself when he made his decision to leave.  Now, it is entirely TOO painful to watch.  We made copies of the videos as he spoke personally to several people including his daughter and son. <We gave a copy to those he mentioned>  I guess just seeing him, "like that" - a way NO one has ever seen him before is not easy.  He hid his depression behind a huge wall of anger.  Everyone knew he was ANGRY - but no one expected the outcome.  His pain was so deep, I don't really know how he hid it so well.  He also left "journals" where his raw emotions and pain are recorded in his own hand.  I knew bits of the stories he recorded, but NOT the entire story.  He felt he was a total failure - that he just could not face another day of it.  Tom was the kind of man who was fearless, always up for a good fight - if he believed it, it was a issue he would persue. So to see him so broken - was such a horrible thing.  I am GLAD he did leave the videos even though today it is too painful to watch right now.  The hardest memory today is I found he had paperwork sitting on his table, approving a 90 day leave from work for mental issues....and right next to those papers was a stack of "sucicide hotline" papers.  The HELP was there - but he chose to leave anyhow.

He had been working for Wisconsin state of corrections for the past 17 years, a job of stress.  He was divorced 11 years ago - a very nasty divorce.  His children lived with his ex and her husband.  She was still so bitter and hateful thru the years.  I also found stacks of court papers for all the silly things his ex kept taking him back to court for these years. <Most of which he never told me about>  He had fallen very hard for another woman the year before who everyone saw as a carbon copy of his "ex".  This new woman couldnt seem to commit to Tom.  End result is he said he could NOT live without this "new" woman - and ended it all.  In his video he clearly states how he was sorry he was again disappointing ME - and how he disappointed me by always chosing the WRONG women in his life.  YES, we did give that girlfriend of his a copy of that video.  About 6 years ago he took me to his lawyer where he signed his will giving ME full power over his estate.  So after all this time his ex wife has decided she felt since she is custodial parent of the minor children, she should have the say so on everything?  Didnt happen even though she hired a lawyer and went to court.  Tom's will stood as written.  So the aftermath of Tom's death has been a even more challanging time for me. 

Maybe all the mess that has followed is a good thing?  I have had to concentrate on all the estate - all the bookwork - which per probate is finally scheduled to close June of the coming year?  I am not so sure I would have agreed to take on this task if I knew what was coming down the shoot today.  However I have NO problem doing this, as it is the very LAST thing I can do for my son on this earth??

 



Theresa Sweaney said:

Carol and Chris, I appreciate your words.  Chris, I am not offended by your comment.  My head knows the truth of what you say; my heart is not so rational.  I know that persons suffering from schizophrenia can say cruel things if they were to leave a letter behind.  My son didn't leave anything like that, fortunately.  Only instructions on how he wanted his remains to be handled.  Still, I would have been thankful for any information.  But looking back, he did give me quite a lot of bits of information about his state of mind that I have been piecing together to get a more comprehensive picture.  Of course, there are the unanswerable questions that remain.  I'll do what I can to get as much understanding as possible from the available information, and after all, I will inevitably need to let go.

Carol, although it must have been very hard on you to watch, do you treasure those videos where you get to see him and hear his voice?  I often save special voice messages, such as my grandchildren's messages; unfortunately, I had not reserved any of my son's messages to be able to play back.

So many disappointments and heavy burdens to bear, including the energy it required for your son to maintain a "life as usual" facade to hide his pain and continue to function and strive with the challenges of just living, feeling like it was too hard to continue in something that seemed hopeless to change.  And they (our sons) forgot that everything changes at some point.  It seems like each story we carry as individuals in loss and grief has its own unique cross we must individually bear.  I try to put the few pieces together of the obscure few puzzle pieces of my son's last days, and ache for more details and information.  Maybe I'm better off, who knows.  It certainly brings you pain to have access to and know such things. 

My son refused evaluation or treatment.  Your son Tom was so close to receiving help and treatment.  That would be the most painful to me as well.  I had just started to contemplate the idea of an intervention, so I kind of have a similar sense of grief.  In Charles' case, it was too little, too late.  I missed my window.  It really tears me apart when I think of the impulses I had that I did not act on, or act soon enough on, to potentially change the outcome.

Something else you said which I too could very much relate to, that "He felt he was a total failurethat he just could not face another day of it" and "to see him so broken was such a horrible thing."  That is how I felt about Charles as well.  He of all people, I would never have expected to lose his resilience.  But then, he didn't, I guess, if you view it from a disease perspective.  His brain disorder was actually a medical condition that he had no control over.  What it did to him, how it changed him, ...that was not him, that was the disease process.  He wrote on his Facebook some time within the last couple of years this quote by Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, "(What is life without honor?) Degradation is worse than death."  It seems he just couldn't live like that, with himself, anymore. When he came back in February after many years' absence, he was a broken man.  It hit me so hard; I grieved losing him before I actually lost him physically.

Someone explained to me that I was not to blame...that it was what is understood as a "system failure" which implies many factors, not just one.  Whereas Tom's girlfriend may have been that "straw that breaks the camel's back", that is what I feel that I was.  It hurts to think I was the one to flip the switch, as it were.  It's like this, a society condemns and puts someone to death, but how unfortunate for the one with the responsibility to do that last act and trip the switch.  That's me.  This is my most grievous burden, besides the loss of him, of course. 

You know that last thing you said, about processing aspects of his life ("the mess that followed") keeping you busy so the grief isn't so right there all the time... I guess that's what we all try to do, in one form or another, to keep it further away as much as possible.  My way is to keep examining and analyzing everything over and over.  I know when I stop, the unadulterated grief will be overwhelming.  It works for me :) I don't know that I'm ready for the alternative.  It is still too painful as it is, without fully embracing the loss.  However, I know I must someday, if I am to reach a place of acceptance, which I also sense is where I will begin to find peace.  Thanks for listening, Carol, and thank you for sharing with me.  Theresa

 

Carol Shilhavy Dallmann said:

No my sweet Theresa, I do not <today> feel any comfort in watching Tom's video goodbyes.  I DID appreciate seeing it after he was first gone.  It really showed me that he certainly was NOT himself when he made his decision to leave.  Now, it is entirely TOO painful to watch.  We made copies of the videos as he spoke personally to several people including his daughter and son. <We gave a copy to those he mentioned>  I guess just seeing him, "like that" - a way NO one has ever seen him before is not easy.  He hid his depression behind a huge wall of anger.  Everyone knew he was ANGRY - but no one expected the outcome.  His pain was so deep, I don't really know how he hid it so well.  He also left "journals" where his raw emotions and pain are recorded in his own hand.  I knew bits of the stories he recorded, but NOT the entire story.  He felt he was a total failure - that he just could not face another day of it.  Tom was the kind of man who was fearless, always up for a good fight - if he believed it, it was a issue he would persue. So to see him so broken - was such a horrible thing.  I am GLAD he did leave the videos even though today it is too painful to watch right now.  The hardest memory today is I found he had paperwork sitting on his table, approving a 90 day leave from work for mental issues....and right next to those papers was a stack of "sucicide hotline" papers.  The HELP was there - but he chose to leave anyhow.

He had been working for Wisconsin state of corrections for the past 17 years, a job of stress.  He was divorced 11 years ago - a very nasty divorce.  His children lived with his ex and her husband.  She was still so bitter and hateful thru the years.  I also found stacks of court papers for all the silly things his ex kept taking him back to court for these years. <Most of which he never told me about>  He had fallen very hard for another woman the year before who everyone saw as a carbon copy of his "ex".  This new woman couldnt seem to commit to Tom.  End result is he said he could NOT live without this "new" woman - and ended it all.  In his video he clearly states how he was sorry he was again disappointing ME - and how he disappointed me by always chosing the WRONG women in his life.  YES, we did give that girlfriend of his a copy of that video.  About 6 years ago he took me to his lawyer where he signed his will giving ME full power over his estate.  So after all this time his ex wife has decided she felt since she is custodial parent of the minor children, she should have the say so on everything?  Didnt happen even though she hired a lawyer and went to court.  Tom's will stood as written.  So the aftermath of Tom's death has been a even more challanging time for me. 

Maybe all the mess that has followed is a good thing?  I have had to concentrate on all the estate - all the bookwork - which per probate is finally scheduled to close June of the coming year?  I am not so sure I would have agreed to take on this task if I knew what was coming down the shoot today.  However I have NO problem doing this, as it is the very LAST thing I can do for my son on this earth??

 



Theresa Sweaney said:

Carol and Chris, I appreciate your words.  Chris, I am not offended by your comment.  My head knows the truth of what you say; my heart is not so rational.  I know that persons suffering from schizophrenia can say cruel things if they were to leave a letter behind.  My son didn't leave anything like that, fortunately.  Only instructions on how he wanted his remains to be handled.  Still, I would have been thankful for any information.  But looking back, he did give me quite a lot of bits of information about his state of mind that I have been piecing together to get a more comprehensive picture.  Of course, there are the unanswerable questions that remain.  I'll do what I can to get as much understanding as possible from the available information, and after all, I will inevitably need to let go.

Carol, although it must have been very hard on you to watch, do you treasure those videos where you get to see him and hear his voice?  I often save special voice messages, such as my grandchildren's messages; unfortunately, I had not reserved any of my son's messages to be able to play back.

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