• YOUNGSTOWN, FL-originally from New Orleans,La/lived in S. Fl 21 yrs
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  • Tom Mennin
  • Edler Sterling Broussard


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Experiencing 3 losses in the span of 9 months + lost my condo to foreclosure/moving etc

I'm reeling from the lost of my soul mate/heart mate, husband, b.f., sweet angel, my 'bear man' of almost 20 years. He killed himself 11-29-2007 by hanging himself w/fishing keeper yellow line on the back of his bathroom door. I found him-too late-called 911 & performed cpr. I had seen him earlier that morning around 9:15 - 9:30 a.m. I got up from sleeping a few hrs to get a little bite of cottage cheese & sip of water. I came back to bed, he opened his eyes-beautiful big hazel eyes--like mine. I said, "Good morning, bearman. I love you, sweetie." Stuart replies, "I love u too." We kissed each other & I crawled back into bed where we cuddled/slept like spoons, just like we always did.

Every Thursday I'd go get my 2 allergy shots. Next thing I knew I heard my alarm going off. He'd asked me 'What time do u want to leave to go to the allergists office tomorrow? I said 'Between 11 & 11:15 a.m. I just need to take a very quick shower tomorrow morning to rinse off. I already did my bath & shower, washed my hair, etc. So please get me up no later than 10:35 approximately?" He agreed. He always got up before me to go to bathroom, take shower, shave, etc. to make sure I had enough hot water so I wouldn't run out during my marathon of getting ready. He'd then pack the car with our stuff. I would just have to get my purse lock up the condo. He'd always clean leaves off the car, take down heat shields in car, wash off the grime & pull 1 of our 2 cars in the front of condo & wait for me.
I locked condo went outside expecting to see him waiting for me.
No Stuie. I thought 'Well, he's been anxious/withdrawn/depressed. He hasn't seen anyone so he probably went into our friends condo 2 doors down from our home. Or that a neighbor had stopped him either in the hallway or across the parking lot. U can't see down the hallway as it's not straight down but curved a little bit. Still no Stuie. Then I remembered I'd forgotten something in our home. I unlocked front door & went into my bathroom which is in our bedroom. His bathroom door is outside of our bedroom facing 2nd bedroom. When I walked out of our bedroom that's when I saw his light on & bathroom door closed. I thought, "Oh, he must've had to go to the bathroom or he's having trouble going so he had to sit in there a little while." In the morning the sun comes through our screened in porch very brightly & you can't see if the lights on in Stuie's bathroom until Sun passes overhead. I called, 'Stuie, are you all right?" No answer. Again, I asked, "Stuie are u ok?" Still no answer. I turned handle of his door inward & then saw him in the corner behind his door slumped over reflected in 6 foot mirror over the sink. . I called, 'Stuie? Stuie? Stuie!!" I couldn't push the door in very far. I thought, "He's had a heart attack or passed out from the heat in the bathroom when u close the door. I ran & grabbed phone dialed 911 saying 'My husband isn't responding. my name, address, etc. Send an ambulance A.S.A.P." I yelled out front door 'Someone please help me!" My best friend in our bldg-another Barbara-ran down to our apt. Our friend, Judy, a psychologist over 35 yrs., was walking back from swimming. She has a little hearing problem & had taken out her hearing aid while swimming. She heard me yelling loud & clear. She ran in, I shoved open Stuie's bathroom door as much as I could. I tried to life him up-he's 5'10", very solid/stocky build weighed approx. 165 lbs. I couldn't get him up. That's when I saw that he'd made a noose out of the yellow fishing line. I cut him down w/his little pair of scissors on the counter. He'd gotten them out so I could give him a haircut when we'd returned from the allergiests' office. His neck was deep burgundy-purplish & very deep. His color was normal. I thought 'OMG, how long has he been up there? Am I too late?" Judy & I performed CPR on him until paramedics & ambulance arrived. Judy was yelling, "How damned long is it going to take before the ambulance gets here? It seems like we've been waiting forever." I was doing CPR on him and yelling, "Stuie come back, Don't u leave me. I love you. You come back. Don't u die on me. Please, oh please come back." I had 3 asthma attacks that day from the heat & the stress. I had swarms of paramedics, nurses/doctors from our condominium complex, police & homicide detectives swarming from 11:10 until 2:20 p.m. The homicide detective was a real 'winner'. He was accusing me of killing my husband, who'd been very depressed, withdrawn & anxious. When he & other detective were questioning me in our bedroom while paramedics worked on Stuie, the homicide detective kept trying to close our bedroom door. I told him no to do that if he wanted me to answer any of his questions. I said, "Look, I was in nursing school & worked in one for 5 years. Leaving the damned door open so I can watch the paramedics. I can answer your questions & still watch what they're doing."
It was too late. He was dead. I have had an awful time with this. I kept having PTSD/anxiety & flashbacks. I kept seeing his eyes roll up in his head . It was horrible to say the least. It was my world turned upside down & inside out. He yanked himself out of my world as I knew it out of our world.
That same day I saw a 'body removal service company' take his body out on a stretcher. I had to deal with neighbors popping in, calling his elderly, crazy-ass mother who lived in NYC. My neighbors , friends in our building all called my family, such as it isn't! Very dysfunctional, nutty & crazy mother, totally non-nurturing, who made me her target while I was growing up even into adulthood. My mother & I have never gotten along as she's impossible, child-like/childish, immature into her own twisted mental sickness. She's forever twisted my words around or deletes part of what I say telling other people-my 3 brothers, or anyone that would listen to her awful lies & her 'take' on reality. Everything is 'about her'. She's 95% her United Methodist Church, Norfolk Southern Railroad women's groups & 5% her family. She lacks compassion for me. I think she pretty much hates most women.
I've always been strong willed, independent, feisty, genius IQ, pretty, un-pretentious w/emphatic, loving mother earth kind of person. more tomboy/woman than a prissy into pink girl. My Aunt Aileen who lives in Kensington, MD.--right outside of Wash., DC & my mother were best friends who married brothers. One time she told me, "Your mother & I met when we were around 8 or 9 y.o. She's always been just like she is now & will never change because she doesn't want to. She's probably never change.' She used to say to me, "I wish I had a daughter like you." I was the middle kid out of 4 children. I was the only girl out of those 2 entire families.
Anyway, I digress-sorry!
My hubby had been depressed, withdrawn & horrible anxious. He started losing it big time!
We'd been through so much--before we met each other & while we were together. It's long but I"ll explain further. Here goes--this may be in 2 parts...
He-Stuart Feller-born 06-5-1945 to Esther K. Feller (maiden name Krusch). His Father was Harold Feller. Stuart was born in Brooklyn, NY-Greenpoint area. His parents divorced when he was 3 y.o. He saw his father a total of 3 times in his life. He never had his own bedroom was sexually abused/used by his twisted mother, his Aunt Minnie & their sick group of female friends. He made the best of it. His elderly grandmother from Czarist Russia emigrated to USA years before.
His grandfather was crazy along with 2 of his kids-Esther Krusch, Stu's mother and her brother, Joseph (Yussie-in Yiddish). They all had what I call 'periodic explosive disorder' which is exploding in rage for no reason and then cooling off just as quickly. Joseph Krusch of Krusch & Model, in NYC-manhattan is 1 of the top international corporate tax attorneys in the world. The man is worth anywhere from 30-50 million or more.
Stuie was so good-a wonderful son, father and husband. He married 2 times before me-Rochelle Ginsberg. They had 2 children Kevin, 8-6-71 to 02-26-99, born w/Chrons disease, sick from an early age, then he had mental problems. I loved him as if he was my own birth son. The 2nd child, Jill born 1973, luckily wasn't ill, thank God.
Rochelle & Stuart divorced. Later he married Marie-no children. Divorced after she came home pregnant by someone else. They'd just built a 14 room home-2 homes-1 on top of each other-2 separate floors-1 for her parents, brothers & grandfather. The other floor for Stu & Marie, 2 other bedrooms when kids would visit. STuart gave her the home so her parents & marie's grandfather wouldn't be w/out a place to live since they'd sunk all of their monies into building the home. STuart moved to Florida temporarily in 1985/86. He was hired to work at a new TSC-SSA's 1-800# office being built in Hawaii. He wanted to leave NY because of high state/local/city taxes and Florida would be temporarily cheaper until he moved to Hawaii. The office in Hawaii wasn't totally ready for him to start working there so he temporarily was working in S. Fl. in Ft. Laud, Fl. TSC.
I started SSA in 1979 in NOLA District office as Senior Account number clerk/receptionist/mail clerk. I got promoted to SErvice rep. in TSC-local ph number in 1981-1985. I had career tenure but quit in 1985, traveled out west w/my fiance', returned to La.Nursing school in Baton Rouge, La-took 2 semesters. I withdrew as my fiance, Steve Jaubert whom I'd met at church turned out to be a freakin' maniac who abused me mentally, physically, emotionally & tried to kill me 11 times. One time he almost succeeded but an angel intervened & literally saved me. I kid u not!. I went to therapy-individually & group therapy for abused/abandoned women. My therapist after 3 1/2 months told me I was the most functional, balanced person she'd ever met. She said, 'You see things as they are & not how you'd like them to be. You face what u have to face." When I told her about my mother & how many times I'd tried to reach her & get her to pay attention to me, Carmen, my therapist, told me, "It sounds like you were the mother and she was the child." I said, "Yes, Basically, that's how it was most of the time. I told the truth most of the time and she twisted my words and lies, cries, and is a wimp. I couldn't stand it. She used her tears and acted childlike. She never faces anything head on. I don't get that. I live in Reality-ville and she doesn't. I realized when I was around 8 or 9 y.o that I'd never be able to reach her emotionally. I tried everything with her and nothing worked. So, I just decided to be independent and take care of my self as best as I could. I had my dad, my older brother Dan who I was very close to & I helped take care of my youngest brother, Hendley, who was very hyperactive & little. There was a bully Kenny in our neighborhood that I used to have to watch because he picked on Hendley a lot. I had to threaten to beat him up a couple of times because he was such a bully. But I had other people that Jesus put in my path -at church and at my dad's job that loved me and treated me well, like I was their own daughter. I started babysitting at 10-11 y.o., got involved in church,-MYF-methodist Youth Fellowship & youth choir. I took every babysitting job I could find, did my sports-biking, walking, swim team, Girl Scouts, camping, etc. I had guy and girl friends. I was tomboy. I taught myself to make my own skateboard, stilts. I rollerskated, played jacks, kickball, baseball, volleyball, once in a while Croquet and still like to spend time w/friends playing Barbie dolls occasionally, spending the nights on sleep overs at friends homes, choir tours for 2 wks a year during summer, etc. I like reading too so I went to LIbrary, took piano lessons. I learned to be independent & stayed away from my mother a lot as much as possible. That doesn't mean I didn't still try to ask her to spend some time w/me, which she never did. The few times she did all she did was criticize me, as did her mother, my grandmother Hannah. I didn't understand why Grandma Hannah called me a spoiled brat, when I wasn't at all. I never was spoiled in the least.
I found out that years later, my grandmother's mom, in Germany where she was born around 1885-1888 in Strausbourg,Germany which is French/German border. Her father was an artist. She had a younger sister Mary. Their mother got cancer & died at 31 y.o. Their father couldn't care for him-no money. So they boarded a ship for America, landing at Ellis Island, moved to Philadelphia with relatives. That's where she met my g.f. Hendley Jones in his hometown. She was a cashier. She had long wavy thick auburn hair and blue eyes. She became a 'flapper' and cut off her waist long hair and bobbed it. She & her sister had some big blow up disagreement and didn't talk for years. I never looked like anyone in my family. My dad's family-his father full Cherokee Indian-black hair/black eyes, olive skin (reddish brown when he tanned" married my dad's mom, Susie, who was German, I think and Cherokee? Not sure of her maiden name. They married in La. They had 7 children. He had a nervous breakdown and ended up in La. State Mental institution. He was recovering and asked the 2 guards a question. They beat him to death. He died when my dad was 12 y.o. My grandmother raised 7 children w/no husband and no welfare, etc. during the depression. She was tough, loving and caring to her kids.
Anyway, I never understood why my grandma was so mean to me-Hannah. I am named after her. My middle name is Johanna. My mom only child. Her father was 1st of 2 federal grain inspectors for USDA. He died in 1961 massive ht attack. They lived in Silver Spring, MD. suburb of Wash DC. Grandma moved to La as she was getting older & had had a fall & couldn't live in big house by herself anymore. She moved to NOLA area-Metairie, where I was raised.
She lived in her own apt in Gatehouse complex until she was 93 y.o. Mentally she was fine but had cataracts & hardening of the arteries. Her hearing was getting a little bad but she was just getting old. She didn't want to go to nsg. home so she had to give up her apt and move in w/my parents for about 2-3 yrs. My mom & I packed up her apt and later we went through her pictures. My mother had never seen a picture of her grandmother, my grandma Hannah's mom. whoa nelly! I saw my great grandma's picture and bingo! That's who I looked like. That's where I got that nose and heart shaped face, auburn hair -feistiness from both grandma's! The only difference between my face and hers was my chin was a tiny bit longer. My mom is 5'5", blonde hair and blue eyes-petite build. I look nothing like either parent or 3 brothers. We all looked totally different. Weird. My dad was 5'10", dark brownish black hair, cherokee nose, dark olive skin, dark brown eyes. My oldest brother Dan, Tall 6 feet-blonde hair-turned brown as he got older, big green eyes, very thin. Paul, 18 months younger than Dan-4 yrs older than me, 5'8" dark brown -very wavy hair, medium olive skin-brown eyes, medium build. Me 5'6" stocky, athletic build, medium build, wide shoulders, solid legs, busty-bigger on top than on bottom, 8 1/2b shoes w/high arches and AAA heel-thanks Dad for shoulders & heels! I have auburn hair and hazel eyes. Hendley-4 yrs younger, had small build when he was very young-like dad did until he matured. Fully grown he had medium build, 5'8"-hair had a reddish sort of tiny in his medium brown hair-darkened to brown as he got older. He's got medium/fair skin and lighter brown eyes. Hendley & I were close until he was grown and got into himself-no relationship w/Paul ever. Now no relationship w/Paul or Hendley-don't know why. Oh well.
So, My dad & I had great relationship growing up. I left home got my own apt age 19 after my 2nd paycheck. Was glad I did. I loved living on my own, even though I had occasional boyfriend/fiance but only 1 husband. Even though I got engaged 4 times. 1st guy, David, age 20 but we broke up on good terms-remaining friends for years until he died in 2008. Tony, 2nd fiance, went out 4 1/2 yrs-set wedding date, but broke it off 3 1/2 months before we got married. Worked out for the best. He married someone later-moved to Oklahoma City, OK. I met Steve-my crazy-engaged-broke that off. Later engaged 2 times to Bobby Benintende-my 1st real soul mate/heart mate. We broke off on good terms. He died 01/2006 age 62 & still loved me & he and Stuie and I were all good friends.
Stuie's suicide blew my world/universe and life as I knew it apart on 11-29-2007. I had creditors driving me crazy calling all hours of night and day. His dtr, Jill, wanted to kill herself over all of this. I told her it wasn't her fault, mine or anyone else's. Even if it was, what was the point in making that poor girl feel guilty? She will have to live with not having her father for the rest of her life. She already lost her only other sibling and now her loving wonderful father, too?
I lost my condo foreclosed-couldn't pay it. I left most of my stuff behind in florida-either gave it away, left in condo or put into dumpster. I couldn't bring everything. I sold his car to Carmax for a paltry sum of $1200 when is was worth $4,000 easily. oh, well.
Then on top of all of that, the only person from my family to call me or send me any condolence-cards, or call, etc. and everyone was informed was my oldest favorite brother, Dan. We were estranged over a stupid incident where he let my mother see my home address--accidentally, on purpose and she showed up at my door-ewwww! I let her in and it was truly almost pointlessly ridiculous! Anyway, he called me same night stuie killed himself. He was out of town on business & we talked over an hour. I told him I loved him so much and missed him. He used to tell everyone, "My younger sister is my best friend" Isn't that great? WE talked about everything all the time growing up and grown up. Even after we both got married! I loved his only child, Michelle (Mi-moo) like she was my own daughter. She also got Chrons disease, like my step son, Kevin.
Dan dropped dead 07-16-08. He & barbara, his wife, went to beach. They came home-dan said, 'I'm tired.' They ate dinner, and he fell asleep on couch. Barb went to bed. Dan got up middle of night had a snack and went back to sleep on couch. Barbara got up and called to dan to 'get up, dan, it's time to get up." but no answer. Autopsy showed he'd had a ht attack in his sleep.
My alcoholic father dropped dead 1 wk later 07-23-08. So Charles Daniel Kessinger, JR. dead 07-16-08 and Charles Daniel Kessinger, Sr exactly 1 wk. later.
My dad great growing up stayed unhappy in a marriage he hated for 66 years to someone he didn't love. He talked to me about this a lot when I was 18-19-y.o and years later. I told him get divorced and come live w/me in my house I rented in uptown NOLA. He worried about what co-workers, people in church would 'say'. I said who cares, It's better to be happy than not be happy. life's too short. but he wouldn't leave. duh. He even told same thing to my husband. I don't get that. Unfortunately after retiring around 1983-84, he began drinking and turned violently alcoholic. He tried to kill me 1 time w/16 " knife. My father had turned into an alien. Eventually it wasn't only my mother that was crazy but he said, 'We are a package deal." What does that mean? He got viciously, mean to me. He grabbed me by my forearm and leg-very hard, drunk as a skunk, in front of my husband.

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At 12:53am on February 21, 2011, Dan S. said…



I'm not sure how much (or if) you keep in touch with Michelle but I just texted her when I read this page.  


Rereading this post has really brought back a flood of memories I had with your mom, dad and brothers.  It was a grey period in my life but I do have some vivid memories of it.


Anyway, I hope all is well.


- dan (Danny) -


P.S.  Isn't it odd that my brother and I are named "Dan and Charles" and that we crossed each others' paths in the way we did?

At 12:45am on February 21, 2011, Dan S. said…

In a strange twist, I have come across this post and first offer my condolences on your losses.  I, too, knew two of your losses but not of some of the underlying stories.  We know each other as well as your brother, Dan, was married to my mother (Michelle's mother as well).  You even taught me simple things on your mothers piano ;)  You also know my brother, Charles (Charlie). 


I'm a bit troubled, however, because I never knew the stories about Charles & Evelyn that you mentioned.  As many meals as we had with them, how could this type of evilness be hidden that well?  At the time, I was only 14-15 but definitely cognizant of situations.... or so I thought.  Even many years later (way after my mother was last part of that family), my brother and I had dinner there one evening.  I still never sensed what you describe. This bothers me because I don't see how I could not have known this.  It also bothers me because there is a lot of hidden information in my family as well that is similar to yours.


I learned about Dan's death, long after I had last seen or ever talked to him but it was Michelle that called me one day in tears after learning that both her father and grandfather had died within the span of one week.  Obviously she wasn't in constant contact with either of them but she did love her father.


I am also grateful to Dan for the time he spent as my step-father while married to my mother.  I can truly attest a good part of my musical tastes and fascinations to him.  Everything from recording radio on reel-2-reel to playing Billy Joe's "Glass Houses" album are clear memories.  I also know that he was the peacemaker in that marriage to my mother.  I feel that time for him must have been like torture.  That relationship, I was keenly aware of its' problems unlike the problems you described with your parents.


..and apparently, there is a 2,000 character limit to posts!..grrr..... 


At 9:06am on February 19, 2011, Edler Sterling Broussard said…
No, I don't know anyone from Opelousas. Have fun in Panama City. Ed
At 10:35am on January 29, 2011, Edler Sterling Broussard said…

Hi Barbara, sorry too hear about all your misfortunes. You had more than your share! My wife, Jean, was "Chippawa" native american from "Turtle Mountain Reservation", Belcout, Noth Dakota. She was 58 when she died. She had chronic liver disease which she had a transplant in 2003. Along with this she has diabetes, kidney diease, and heart disease. Hopitals got to be her second home.

In Dec 2003 she received a liver transplant and got to where she retained fluid to the point where she couldn't breath in early 2009. After tests her Drs informed us that she had a bad mitral valve in her heart and it will have to be replaced and there was no other options. They did give her a high risk for this surgery but if left alone she would die in a matter of months. With this information she reluctantly agreed to this surgery which was performed on July 2, 2009. Her surgeon did inform me of some complications during the surgery and that he was worried about her. After 8 days she did come awake and she did improve a little but then declined and after about 5 weeks later on Aug. 13th 2009 at 10:04 am she passed away.

We had been married for about 30 years and yes I did love her so. She was everything in a wife that I wanted and was proud to be her husband. My life too is upside down and I've been keeping to myself not going anywhere or being socialable. I'm getting a little better but I still have my moments. I don't think I'll ever get over her and I don't want to. I always knew that this could happen and I thought that I was strong enough to deal with it but little did I know. Reality is shocking! Hopefully we can recover to a point to where we can have a near normal life and try to enjoy the rest of our lives without forgetting our loved ones. Barbara you are in my prayers and I do hope that you can find some happiness. A big hug, Ed


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