Because He Didn’t Like The Color Green

Jesse! Knock it off! This isn’t funny! “Ma’am does he have a pulse?” Asked the dispatcher. “No, he is discolored and not responding. I don’t feel anything.” My world went silent despite the fact I was screaming at the father of my children, my husband to wake up and just knock it off. No amount of begging and pleading was going to wake Jesse up; he was dead.

The process began, the law arrived, EMS pronounced his death and the coroner came in and treated my husband as a body. He was no longer a person, he was a body, remains. He no longer breathed the air I did, nor would he ever feel the warmth of his children’s hugs. He didn’t get to nitpick my cooking or tell me how to park the car in the driveway properly. He lost the ability to guide his children through life and make a positive impact on this world in the capacity of a deputy sheriff. His loss will forever hurt, his absence will always be felt and bring our children to the edge of tears when they realize all over again that Dad is dead.

Jesse was a deputy sheriff for around 11 years. He wasn’t one to go out with any of the deputies after work hours; he was a family man. His blue family at the sheriff’s office had been there for us over the years.  In 2011 we lost our home to a fire; the Sheriff’s Office rallied together and helped us get back on our feet. They were the epitome of the “Thin Blue Line.” I thought that loss was the greatest I would ever feel and yet we found comfort in that we had such wonderful and loving support system.

Then, Jesse completed suicide.

I contacted Jesse’s employer and informed them of Jesse’s passing. They began doing what they needed/wanted to do on their end and were seemingly supportive and empathetic to our situation. The Sheriff did everything she could to honor Jesse and assist me in navigating the insurance and legal aspects of the employment side. I am grateful for the time she took and compassion she displayed. At the funeral, deputies approached my children and comforted them with comments like, “You will always have Dad’s in all of us here at the Sheriff’s Office.” It was so nice to know we would be supported.

The “Thin Blue Line” was gone.

Once the casket was closed the love and support disappeared. Finger pointing and whispering became more obvious. They blamed me; the wife, the mother of the children, I drove Jesse to kill himself. In a phone conversation the morning following Jesse’s death, a friend asked, “What did you say to Jesse to cause him to do this because he loved those kids.” He then followed up with, “Can I have some of his ashes?”

I was still in shock during this phone call, it had been mere hours since my life as I knew it stopped. — Can I have some of his ashes? What did you say to make him do this? Who asks a widow these questions? Who treats people like this? Everyone in the office knew Jesse was accurate; he was an excellent deputy and even better Sergeant. He was everyone’s favorite, mainly because he made their jobs easier as he was a walking book of all things law. He knew just about everything and was always willing to help another deputy. He was calm, compassionate and decisive. He embodied what a deputy/peace officer should be, peaceful. This was the Jesse they knew, they respected and cherished.

Too many people have seemed to forget that behind closed doors, life is infinitely dissimilar. Within our home, Jesse was comfortable to be who he was, mentally ill. I refuse to disclose every bit of the demons Jesse possessed but I will say, he was harassed with the thoughts in his own brain. In the last few years of his life Jesse began to shake tremendously; his hands could barely hold a pen at times. I can only assume this was in part due to the fact he was fighting the mental illness and the energy required to hold back the symptoms was incredibly draining; his highly intelligent mind knew he was engaging a demon.

Yes, Jesse loved his children; Yes, Jesse loved me; Yes, Jesse loved life but mental illness destroyed his ability to thrive on this earth. Shaming me, boycotting the children and spreading disgusting lies will not bring Jesse back. It won’t even brighten your day, it will hurt the legacy of this man and dishonor his children.

There isn’t a single member of Jesse’s family, nor a deputy at that office or surrounding agencies that have right to cast judgement on what transpired in my home. He was an employee, not a possession of the sheriff’s office or his family. Some departments are riddled with affairs, violence and alcohol abuse. To pretend there aren’t issues within the SO would be to display pure ignorance. We all have a chapter or two in our life books we don’t want to read aloud; yet mine apparently became public desire because Jesse completed suicide.

The disgusting and heart wrenching fact is, this will happen again. Other agencies or even this one will more than likely experience another suicide and hopefully when it happens, hopefully, the family is lifted and gossip is left for the birds. If you have helped my family and left the rumors alone, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are what community is supposes to be. If you are one who has sought comfort in blaming me for a suicide, I am sorry for you. So many people have asked me, “Why did he do this?” There is no reasonable answer, so my answer is, “He didn’t like the color green.”

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