Steven's Story

On Dec 5 2006 our son Steven hung himself in his bedroom closet. He was 13 years old. Bullies had tormented him for months, culminating in a bathroom attack they videoed for the web. My wife found him when she went to tell him to wash up for dinner. The police picked me up at work and took me to the hospital. Steven never had an enemy before Jr high; he had lots of friends. A happy kid. We were about to take him out of school when he died. We had complained to the school, the school board, filed complaints with the police. Steven had given his most recent statement to them about a week before we lost him. No charges were ever laid, ( the Crown Attorney refused to lay them ), the school board just moved the offenders to another school....

  My alarm went off too early that morning. It always seems too early during the winter months, when the sun hides until a more civilized hour. Groaning, I rolled out of bed and had a shower.  Our daughter Tasha was already up, Steven was more like me; he liked his down time. Pam still snoozed in bed, enjoying a few more minutes rest.

     After toweling dry and getting dressed I went upstairs to the kitchen to make coffee, pausing at the top landing to give Tasha a good morning hug. Hugs were big in our home, Pam trained us all well, and the tradition stuck. Once the coffee maker was gurgling away, and the aroma of Colombian dark began to fill the room, I started packing a small cooler I used for a lunch box. Everything else that morning went along as expected, Tasha grabbed a bowl of cereal, Pam came upstairs yawning her "good mornings", and Steven stubbornly refused to let the day begin just yet. That was OK, I got up earlier than he needed to, anyway.

     Finally when I was ready to leave, another round of hugs was in order. Tasha and Mom got theirs, and Steven finally decided to emerge.  He stumbled down the hall like a zombie, still sleepy, and mumbled, "G'bye Dad...Have a good day". Overly dramatic as always, he wrapped his bony little arms around my waist and squeezed for all he was worth.

       "Good-bye buddy", I answered, and kissed the top of his head. I loaded up the car with work boots, lunch and coffee, and headed of to work.

       Later that day, I was gradually winding down towards dinner time.  The truck traffic had slowed, and I was just getting out something to eat when my office phone rang. The call was from a co-worker in the front plant, nearer to the street.  Steve was a great guy, and a champion power lifter. Steven always called him "Big Steve", and took a certain vicarious pride in sharing the first name with such a massively powerful guy.

 "Hey man, you better hide, the cops are up here looking for you", he laughed, "I sent themback your way, so make it quick!". I chuckled at the joke, thanked him, hung up the phone, and went out the door to find a police car already waiting for me. It was completely dark by then, so I went closer to ask what was up. The officer introduced himself and told me I was needed at the hospital. Thinking one of the kids must have had an accident, I asked what it was all about. "I really don't know, sir. I was just asked to bring you as quickly as possible", he answered.

        Asking him to wait for a moment, I went quickly back inside and phoned another employee working in the control room. I explained the situation, and arranged for him to replace me for the last couple of hours remaining in my shift. Not bothering to change out of my uniform, I jumped into the back of the police car. I couldn't fit my size 13 boots between the front and back seats, so I had to ride to the hospital reclining on the seat. Clambering out at the emergency department, I went inside with the cop following. He explained who I was, and left me to the care of a worried looking triage nurse. She led me into the next room, and showed me into smaller private room.

         I instantly felt my blood run cold. Pam was seated in the middle of the room with another cop standing by the wall, and two older people I didn't know. There was a doctor squatting in front of Pam talking quietly to her when I walked in. Pam was hysterical. Crying convulsively, she repeatedly shook her head violently, as if to refuse what her ears were hearing.

        "What the hell is going on?", I demanded. The doctor stood up and turned towards me.
        "I'm sorry Mister Urry, but your son has passed away".

     I nearly collapsed.  The policeman was discreetly observing the scene. I dropped to my knees beside Pam, a torrent of barely coherent questions pouring out of me.  Pam managed to choke out the basic story between sobs and we both broke down in each others arms.

     Hands touched my shoulder, voices spoke quietly. I remember only patches of the rest of that night; most of what was happening flowed over us like a tidal wave of panic and pain. Our boy had taken his own life. He had hung himself in his bedroom closet just before dinner.  My son was gone.  Our beautiful little boy was just ... gone.  I could still feel his arms wrapped around me.