We lost our precious Scotty, 21, 4 years ago to suicide.
We havent yet really come to grips that he is gone, of course some days it is real, others we pray are just a nightmare.
Scotty was our middle child, oldest is Chris, youngest is Lindsay. Scott was the “connector” he was the one who made it a point to get us together. He always had a joke or his incredibly deep, loud, infectious laugh. You could not possibly remain in a sour mood if Scott was around. His friends describe him as a magnet, someone that you wanted to be around. He had the uncanny ability to make you feel better about yourself when he was around.
Scott was in college, art school, his dream, he was living the life…had tons of friends, a good family, a fun job, and a relationship. His relationship wasnt simple for sure, she was a bit older, wanted different things in life. Really, she just didn’t want to be in love…she had told him that, and then told him, that it was his fault that she fell in love with him. Scott was proud of that. He thought that love would make all things right. He loved being in love. He had quite a few girlfriends, since 6th grade, always remaining friends even after the breakups.
He asked his girlfriend to marry him, so that she wouldn’t have to return to Australia ( her visa was up) she said no…he thought that he could convince her, even showing her pictures of how their kids might look, she stopped him, saying she didn’t want kids. He responded, if you truly love me, you’ll want what I want, and that’s a family. He couldn’t believe what was happening, he was so sad, and he didn’t like being sad, he got mad and put a hole in the wall. He didn’t like being mad either, he prided himself on being even-tempered, all the time. Never letting his emotions get the best of him.
They decided to talk more about this in the morning, and his girlfriend went home. It was already 2:30 a.m. He had a dentist appt up at home , he drove an hour and a half, went to the dentist. He came home,I was just getting ready for my day, a day of cleaning out closets, I was happy to see him, although I had just seen him 3 days before, but you see we talked all the time. Just like normal he stuck his head in the fridge. Then decided he couldn’t really taste anything, he was numb from the dentist. He seemed alright, he seemed tired, but one thing we shared, we aren’t really morning people, so I chalked it up to that. We talked a bit, he said he was gonna stick around and watch his little sister play a volleyball playoff game later. I was thrilled. I asked him if he had school or work, he said no. About 15 mins later he said he had school. I was confused, but again chalked it up to morning time. I got a phone call. He went upstairs, he went to his old room, where Chris was sleeping, having worked until 4 am. Scotty was looking for something, Chris briefly woke up, and asked him what he was looking for, Scott said he was looking for his tie. Chris rolled over. Scott came down the stairs, I said “did you find it?” He responded, “no worries, Mom”.
I didn’t know that he had Chris’ service gun in his pocket. He hugged me , in a strange way, he usually hugged me really tight, wrapping his long arms around me. He would always say “hug me in the middle” he was 6 ft 4 and lanky, so it made sense. I followed him out to his car, I sensed something was off, a change in plans, and a strange hug. He said, I’m ok, Mom.
At 9:10 a.m. he drove the opposite way out of our tract. He parked up the street, where there aren’t any houses, and while his car was still running, he shot himself.
We lost him, that bleak day , November 1st, 2007. Our world was shattered. We are broken. The grief was so huge. I am sure, I thought it would just take me, I didn’t think I would survive it.
We have survived, it has been 4 years. Some days it seems like yesterday, some days it seems he has been gone forever.
That day there were like 300 people in our small house. I just sat on the couch, I sat with his friends, I sat with my friends, I hugged his friends, and cried with his friends. It was chaos. I liked the chaos, because I felt like if the chaos left, I would be alone with my thoughts, that scared me. I never wanted to be alone again.
Even as I write this, I get a little short of breath. Could this really be our reality? My husband is a pastor, I worked at the church, we had normal family, even a blessed family. Scotty himself used to say, we were only “mildly dysfunctional”.
Suicide? That was for people who had obvious problems, child abuse, broken homes, fractured relationships, right? People that didn’t have anyone to count on, to talk to. People that struggled with life?
No, it happened to us.We were the victims.
Quickly everyone wanted to label him. Well, you must have known, he must have gotten into real trouble, he must have been defiant, or struggling with his sexuality…rumours started. He wasn’t afraid to tell his friends that he loved them, that lead people to think there was something else going on. It wasn’t true.
I remember wanting to set everyone straight, but realized that I couldn’t.
There were over 1700 people at his memorial service. I remember thinking I just need to hold it together till then. It was gonna be all about what Scotty loved,it was the only party I would ever get to throw for him. Not a college graduation party, but a funeral.
It has been all his amazing friends that have held us together. Our church. Our foundation. We started LoveLife Scott Peters Foundation 10 months after Scotty died. We bring a program of awareness and prevention into the high schools and colleges, designed to break the myths, that surround depression and suicide.
We’ve had huge ups and downs. Been through counseling, family counseling, and marriage counseling. It has affected every area of our existence. Emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual and relational.
I sit here today, after a trying day of going through Scotts things, we have lost our home, we are now downsizing, and have to get rid of things. This is so hard. I want to hold onto everything. Life goes on, we know, we will survive this too. The last year was fraught with loss of jobs, and huge health challenges for my husband. He suffered an aortic aneurism, nearly lost him, too.
We try to laugh, and talk of the funny things Scott would say and do, and are constantly reminded what an impact he had on those around us.