Ronnie's Story


Remembrance Day, 2004. None of us will ever truly know all the events of that evening. Of what we do know replays over and over and you grasp for any meaning to any of it. Only Devon holds the answers. It’s funny how after the fact, it doesn’t even really matter. Knowing the answers will not reverse what has happened.

Just an ordinary day like any other.

After work Doug and I had plans to go out for supper with our oldest daughter Jamie and her husband Ryan. We went to Brewster’s on South Albert and had a wonderful time. After supper we went over to their house. Jamie had spent the last 5 days with her 15 year old brother Devon at her house. It was a good course of action to take in helping Devon to get off drugs. He needed to be away from his friends and influences and needed to be with his sister who he knew could help him do this. Jamie explained that it all went well, Devon dealt with the withdrawal not too bad, and on the 5th day Devon told her he was ok and he could do this now, and was ready to go home.

8:10 p.m. We are talking and we’re laughing. The phone rings. I can hear Jamie say “hello” “hello” “hello”. Three times. Is there no one there? Then I hear her say, “calm down, calm down so I can understand you!” My heart skips a bit. I think of my grandchildren. I was always a paranoid mother, and it doubled when the grandchildren came. I watch Jamie’s face for some clue. She turns white. She drops the phone on the floor. I instantly scoop up the phone. “Jen, Jen!” I yell. It’s not Jen. It’s Jodi. Screaming screaming screaming. My heart stops. “Devon hung himself” I too, drop the phone in shock. Doug dives for it.

Doug drove like a bat out of hell. We reached our Bay within minutes. You cant believe this is happening to you. You cant believe what you are seeing. There is a state of shock that comes over you where you don’t really even feel alive. Like it is just a dream or a movie. Lights everywhere. Police cars, fire trucks, EMS, Ambulance…. People standing all around. We bolted from the car as fast as we could. I remember running through people and over people. I instantly ran for the downstairs. I don’t think I made it more than 6 stairs or so when a couple of police officers grab me and starting pulling me up the stairs. I just kept calling for my son. I never saw her, but all of a sudden I heard Jodi yelling to me, “He’s gone mom! He’s gone!”. The words ripped through me like a gunshot. There was nothing to me. No feeling, nothing. I fell to the floor. I grabbed for Doug who had also fallen with grief. We lay there on the floor crying and screaming in pain. The worse pain you will ever feel in your life. Everything just falls apart right there. Approximately 30 seconds later one of the EMS people ran up the stairs and came right over to me, put her arm around me and said, “we have a pulse, we found a pulse!” And then she was gone.

The police had kept Jodi in the other room when we first arrived. My heart was aching for my little girl. After a few minutes they let her out and she ran to me and we fell into each other hugging and crying and screaming. Oh what hell had come onto my daughter. 

There were a lot of people around. The police made Doug and I stay in the living room while they took Devon out in the stretcher.  They didn’t allow us to see him. This was very hard to deal with. There was Mobile Crisis Centre people coming at us, another person asking for Devon’s hospitalization card, people running in and out of the house. It was chaos. All we wanted was to get to the hospital. As soon as possible! One of the Paramedics came into the living room. “It is your choice” he said. “You can go to the hospital if you want, but you don’t have to”. What a way to tell you he is sure Devon is dead. I just wanted everybody to go away and I wanted to hold my son.

When we arrived at the hospital we were instantly taken aside by a police officer I had seen at the house. Then a doctor and a social worker came out. They began to lead us down a hallway explaining that we need to go to a private room. I knew the room.  I knew what that room was for. I had been here 20 years before when my dad had died. I knew they took you in that room to tell you news that would crush you. I was floating down that hallway. I couldn’t make my feet move. No, please, not to that room.