Friday, September 02, 2005

My son Jeffrey died August 16th 2005


(far left Jeffrey, Shyla and Brian)

My son, Jeffrey, died of an overdose on his 28th birthday, August 16th 2005.

Jeffrey was 4 years old when I met his he was technically my step-son. But I raised him for the 8 years before my arrest, and he was "MY SON" in every sense of the word.
I was the one who watched him leave for his first day in school. I was the one who took him fishing, camping and swimming......who built a tree house for him in the woods behind our house. I was the one he called "DAD".
I remember reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to him before bed. I remember him crawling into bed with his mother and me in the middle of the night. I even remember the night he fell asleep on the love seat, and sleepwalking as he was sitting up and eating something that didn't exist. It was the first time I had ever seen anything like that, and it tickled the hell out of me.
When Jeffrey's little brother and sister arrived, he was a little man who took responsibility to help out.
Jeffrey was 12 years old when his uncle (my brother in law) and I were arrested and tried for murder. My last memory of him, while in the free world, was his uncle and I driving him around at 5.30am on his paper route.
Jeffrey left home at 16. He was kicked out of school and doing drugs. Finally, he took his G.E.D, and got a job repairing utility lines. (yes the guys you see on the utility poles)
While other kids his age were still in high school, Jeffrey was making making almost 20 dollars an hour, a man's wages at a man's job.
But, Jeffrey wasn't a man.....he still had the head and emotions of a 16 year old. Anyone, who once used drugs, and is now sober, would tell you that drugs keep you from maturing emotionally. You cannot learn to DEAL with reality until you EXPERIENCE reality.
Jeffrey grew up with feelings of abandonment. His biological father, me, his uncle and even his mother, because she had to work and her attention went to the younger two children. She figured he was old enough to take care of himself......but, he wanted and needed her attention and love too!!
I talked to Jeffrey in 2001 through 2002 about his drug use. He was depressed and felt like he was alone. I tried to explain to him how much easier it is to deal with life when you are sober. I explained that all that self pity does go away once you take control of your life.
I tried to get him to get sober and join the military. Jeffrey's IQ was very high, and he would've gotten a very good job in the service. I told him to go into the Air Force or Navy. (Jeffrey was kicked out of school for drugs, not because of his grades...he got straight A's, until he started drugs and skipping school). He had the math and mechanical skills to be an engineer.
The prison phone system, and especially the visiting regulations required to visit, hamper communications between inmates and their loved ones. Visiting for Ohio death row inmates is too much of a hassle, and visitors (once they request a visit, "In writing only" and receive a confirmation slip) have to see the inmate through bars AND Bullet proof glass, use the phone to talk to them, and watch their loved one (inmate) try to hold the phone in their ear with a 4 or 5 inch reach between the handcuff and the belly chain it is attached to. They see the marks left on the wrist from the cuff being pressed into the flesh, just to hold the phone to their ear. What they DON'T see is the shackles on the inmates feet.
I was the only one who even got through to Jeffrey. I was the only one who he believed when I told him there was a better way to live. But, the system prevented me from having adequate access to communicate in a meaningful manner. Jeffery needed my love and guidance, and I failed him because of the frustrating policies separating us.
Jeffrey leaves behind a little girl Ashlyn, and his fiancee Jennifer; Ashlyn's mother. They had just ordered their rings.
Jen's life was already turned upside when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She had just left Jeffrey to go see her mother, having to leave North Carolina and go to Kansas. Jeffrey died in his sleep that very night............alone.....still aching for love.
Jeffrey was MY son, in every sense of the word. I grieve as his FATHER, in every sense of the word!!

Sit tight, and rest my son
I'll be there very soon
I miss you with all of my heart
where, for you there'll always be room
"I do not like green eggs and ham
I do not like them Sam I am"
Dr Suesse
Nite Jeffrey, Sleep with angels!
Loving you


Blogger Shawna said...

I dont know who are and I can't say I understand what you have been through. I would like to say, however, that I respect you. Although you are an inmate and the world may look upon you as a disgrace, I believe, that you are a blessing to this world. The things that you have been through have made you an extraordinary person. You understand the true meaning of suffering and the TRUE symbol of tears. I feel like to you, tears aren't just expression, they are a need and a regret deep down inside of you and you can't help the need to change the regret so the only way to give yourself a small peice of light is by crying. I know this has nothing to do with what you said, but this is how I am led to express myself from reading your stories. I have a request for you. I don't know if you are living or not, but if you are I beg you.. My brother is just in County Jail. I know that's nothing at all compared to Death Row. Nonetheless, I believe that you are the person that has the words that will change his life. You lost your son to drugs. My brother does drugs. He is in jail for possession of 99% pure cocaine and an ounce of marijuana. I am afraid that one day he will take hard drugs and possibly OD. You lost your son.... please help me to not lose my brother. I ask you to write a letter or something and email it to me at I honestly believe that you can change this young boy's life. He's 19.. but that's young. I honor you. Not because you are in Prison, but because you learned from your mistakes and you opened your eyes to see a part of life that very few people can see. You understand.. and I need you to convince my brother that it's not worth it. That it's not worth it.... Please.. His name.. is Brandon.

4:24 PM  

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