Jerry - Taken Too Soon

Jackie Christopherson

It's been 6 1/2 years since my brother died but I remember it like it was yesterday. When I think about the years that have passed, it's unreal to me.

I'll never forget the day I got the phone call. I was at my shop bustling around trying to get things ready. I was going on a trip the next day and I didn't want to forget anything. The phone rang and I answered it. It was my husband trying to tell me that Jerry was dead. I say trying because my brain went into immediate shut down. I could not understand what he was saying. When it finally got through to me I just screamed. My husband slammed the phone down and came to me.

What a nightmare. The thoughts that went through my head. When did it happen, how did it happen, who did it, and did it really happen? Of course I wanted to believe that it was someone else they had found lying in the deserted parking lot at 4 AM beaten to death. Not Jerry, not my brother--my baby brother. It wasn't going to be. It was him, robbed and beaten for a leather jacket and twenty dollars in his pocket.

They caught the guy who did this within four hours after it happened. He was a transient passing through our town. They caught him in a transient camp by the river. (I didn't even know there were such things.) He was just sitting there in his blood-covered clothes. He didn't even try to hide.

First we were trying to absorb the shock of Jerry's death and the way it happened. Then we were trying to plan a funeral not knowing when his body would be released. On top of that I was trying to keep tabs on what was happening to the murderer. I wanted to make sure I was there for every appearance he made in court. I wanted him to see my face. I wanted him to know that he chose to take a person's life who was loved. I wanted answers. What gave him the right to take another's life? Why didn't he quit hitting when he had gotten what he wanted? What made him take the last few blows crossing the line between assault and murder?

Of course, I never got my answers. He didn't break down in remorse the minute he saw my face. He didn't say he was sorry. He was convicted of 2nd degree murder. In my state that carries an 18 - 24 year sentence. 6 1/2 years later I imagine he is probably out by now. I'm afraid to call and find out. I don't want to know the answer to this one.

Jerry was 28 when he died. He wasn't married and had no children which makes me feel we missed out on a lot. What type of girl would he have married? What would his children have been like? What would Jerry be like today?

As you can see I have many unanswered questions. I miss Jerry very much. I resent the person that took his life. The feelings I have will be with me the rest of my days.

If anyone has been through this experience and would like to talk, please write to me.

Jackie Christopherson

You can send email to Jackie at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date 09-11-91
date of post 02-16-98

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW