Ray was my oldest child. I had him when I was just 17. My Mom had died two years prior so I was basically on my own. Everyone always told us that we would grow up together
and that we did.
Ray was a riot. He was so funny and sweet. He had a heart of Gold. I don't know how many animals we nursed to health because of him.
He never did forgive me when I made him let his hamsters go. They were totally out of control and he just felt so sorry for them. Ray felt sorry for everyone and everything!!!
Raymond started having problems in school around the first grade. He needed to be held back and that was when he started getting picked on. He had a sister who was 13 months younger than him and a brother who was 2 1/2 years younger than him and I would ask them why? And they would say, they really didn't know why. Ray was just always getting beat up. I was up at that school at least once a week. It really bothered him and it really bothered me.
Finally in his 6'th grade of school we were at an Open House and my daughter said, "Mom, there is one of the boys who always hits and bothers Ray."
I said, "You've got to be kidding." He was this little shrimp of a kid. But he was in the popular crowd.
I went home and told Ray, "Look, I don't want you to fight. But I don't want you to get beat up either. The next time that Davey hits you I want you to put your fist in a real tight ball and hit him straight in the nose."
Ray listened good because the next time that Davey bothered him, Ray plowed him in the nose. It was all over school for weeks. And those boys never bothered Ray again. Ray wasn't one to start trouble, but after that he did learn how to take care of himself.
Ray always fought with low self esteem. He just never felt he was quite good enough. I would try to build him up, but I could see the look on his face like he honestly didn't believe me. School was never easy for him. He just couldn't catch on to a lot of things. As he got older he found he was good at other things, but school was never one of his favorites.
Ray's dad died when he was three. He died by a gunshot wound to the head (Suicide). He had a drug and alcohol addiction and just gave up at a very young age. He was only 23 when he died. Ray got close to my Dad, his Grandpa. They bonded early and Ray spent most of his childhood with him. That was his favorite thing to do. He would beg me to go to his house. He called it, "The Ranch." Because he lived on property and had horses.
Ray started experimenting with Meth at 15.He got into it bad. He was in and out of our house, his friends' houses, and my dad's house. It was hard to live with him when he was using.
At age 22 Ray got married and had two children. But drugs were still a part of his life. He finally went to jail and rehab. It changed him. He realized that he didn't want that kind of life. He hated jail and felt that he was different from a lot of the people there. He wanted more.
He discovered that he loved to fish. He got a job at a Plumbing Place that was promising if he stuck with it. Every chance he got he would take his step son Kyle and go fishing on Sundays. That was his only day off.
Him and his wife had some problems. I don't think anything that couldn't have been worked out. But they were having to deal with a lot of stresses. Money was an issue and they had three small children. The DA was after Ray for money they said his wife collected while he was in jail. It was 4 times what she had collected and he had no way of paying it back. They took his well needed tax check from him.
He had an old broken down truck that he was driving to and from work. Plus they were making him pay for all of his drug classes they made him take. Which would of been fine, but he was barely making it as it was. When I would talk to him I would hear the frustration in his voice. He was trying so hard, but it seemed everything was continually going wrong.
This last year I got closer to Ray than I had since he had started using drugs. He would call me and we would talk about everything. He was so funny. He had the best sense of humor.
Ray had been clean close to one year. It was the longest he had been off of drugs since he started. But things just seemed to be getting worse and worse. There was never enough money and all of the stresses of life were starting to wear on Him.
He finally did what he knew to do and that was to turn back to drugs. He was using only a small amount. But enough that he felt extremely guilty. He wanted more than a life of drugs, but just couldn't seem to get it.
On the afternoon of July 8, 2001, Ray got into an argument with his wife and left the house. We know he went to his dad's Mom's house and was there until about 7:00 P.M.. After that we don't know until about 2:00 A.M..
His wife got up to make the baby a bottle and figured Ray would be coming back in to go to bed. She saw his truck outside, but went back to bed and fell asleep. She woke up to the alarm about 6:00 A.M.. She looked for Ray and couldn't find him. She looked out into the backyard and saw him sitting in the gazebo.
She went out to get him up for work and saw a rope hanging from his neck. She started screaming and ran in the house. Her brother and Mom took him down while she called 911. The Paramedics tried to do shock treatment, etc., on him, but it was all too late.
They found a note in his pocket that read, "I can't take it anymore. I can't stop doing these evil drugs." He had tried for so long to stay off of that stuff. He felt like such a failure.
We were in Florida when we heard the news. We had left on Sat. and Ray died on Monday. We called home on Monday night to make sure that everything was okay. My daughter (24) wouldn't talk to me and kept saying to put Tim on the phone
(My husband of 10 yrs.).
Finally I did and the color just drained out of his face. I heard him say, "How did he do it?" And I knew something horrible had happened to one of my kids. I started screaming, "What happened"? And he looked at me so serious and said," Linda, Raymond hung himself."
I lost my mind. All I remember doing is screaming hysterically in this parking lot with all these people just stopping and staring at us. The phone was just dangling and we were running back and forth to talk to my daughter and find out what had happened. I just couldn't believe it. Ray had never in a million years ever said anything about suicide. I just had so much guilt.
Finally my husband gathered us all up and we got back home the next day. What a nightmare to come home too. My poor son was gone. I prayed there would be a message on the machine from him, but there was none. I was not home when he needed me the most. I was at Disneyworld when he was in that dark gazebo tying a noose to slip around his neck. I will never until I take my last breath live these feelings down.
We miss Ray so much. Every single minute I think of him and how much I wish he were here. His kids miss him also. His little girl, Reana says she is going to Heaven to bring her daddy back home. I wish she could. Instead she goes with her Mommy and puts flowers on his grave. I honestly believe my son would be here today if he wasn't addicted to Meth. He tried so hard to get off of that stuff. It just owned him and eventually finished him off.