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On July 15, 2015, Our 44 Year Old Son, Evan Peterson, Took His Own Life by Shotgun

Suicide is one of those subjects few care to discuss. What’s done is done. Right? If questions and psychological pain remain, however, is a subject, like family member suicide, really done? Is there something more we can learn from it? In a world largely built on beliefs in right and wrong, good and evil, guilt and punishment, is anyone who is closely associated with someone who commits suicide, able to avoid thinking that, somehow, he or she has some blame in the matter?

There is only one way to find out; and, that is to talk about it. With that thought in mind, here are the reasons Evan gave for leaving us and the world. There is really much more to his decision than this. I’m working on it now in another post.

By seeking greater understanding, can we serve a higher good? Can we find peace? I think so. – Roger, Evan’s dad.

Letter Number One Evan Wrote to His Wife:

The Cigna Disability decision (they ruled against continuing payments) did not change anything except my timetable. I was going to leave no matter what, for I had zero interest remaining in regards to life on this planet. Even a miraculous recovery from all that ailed me would not have changed my mind.

You know that this is not how I scripted things for us. And I am sorry to leave you holding the bag. I tried everything I could before I departed to leave you financially secure, but I guess it wasn’t in the cards. I will always love and appreciate all the time and experiences we shared together.

Goodbye for now, Evan

Letter Number Two Evan Wrote to His Wife:

You know I tried real hard to provide unlimited financial security for you before I left, but it is what it is. I guess winning a pile of money just wasn’t in the cards for us. And sticking around would not have been fair to you. I literally had zero desire to continue on in human form. Nothing on Earth interested me anymore; actually, everything only reminded me of how ridiculous human life and society really is. I had to go; whether to just shut off the noise or to create a situation worth taking part in, I do not know at this time. I simply could not soil my soul any further. I love myself too much for that. I was never satisfied with life on planet earth, so I chose to leave.

I choose to be cremated. Scatter my ashes wherever you deem appropriate.

Again, I apologize for any and all discomfort my passing has caused you, but I would have died soon anyway. I could feel it coming. This way cost far less though, I imagine. And I ended things on my own terms, which feels good to me because you know that I have always disagreed with the way things are on Earth. Be well, I will always hold open a special place in my heart for you.

*****

Text Message from Evan to Family Members:

Hi peeps, I no longer walk among you and I cannot honestly say that it has been grand. But rejoice for me, for I am finally free. Please call 911 and report my death. My carcass lies on the side of the house near the horseshoe pit. Maybe we will meet again sometime on the other side.

The former Evan A. Peterson

*****

After receiving Evan’s text message on our cell phones between 7 and 7:30 AM, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, we all raced to his home in hopes of stopping him. His wife had left for work before he acted and returned home as soon as she received his group text message. We were too late.

Ron, our daughter Crystal’s husband and retired firefighter, immediately called police and fire for assistance. Since Ron and Crystal lived closest to Evan’s house, Ron arrived first. Having been a firefighter, he took it upon himself to look for Evan’s body in the back yard. For that we are forever indebted to him. He loved Evan as much as anyone in our family and I can’t imagine how awful if must have felt for him to see Evan lying dead on the ground from a shotgun blast. Thank you, Ron. We love you!

Sandra’s Memories about Our First Annual Trip to the Redwoods Where Evan’s Ashes were Scattered:

July 23, 2016, our trip to Armstrong Woods and Frog Pond Hollow above the park for the one-year anniversary of Evan’s passing:

Jesenia carved a heart on the picnic table and put J and J inside. Roger took a picture of it and said he would show it at their wedding.

Samira brought chocolate chip/peanut butter cookies and blueberry cake. Those cookies were Evan’s favorite.

Ron pretended to fall off the mountain.

Throwing rocks over the hillsides.

Roger wandered off down the trail of one of the low mountains to stand at the top and gaze upon the valley. I felt he was communicating with his son.

Taking pictures on the road above the picnic area, waiting for the sun to set for more pictures. As the sun set, the swiftly changing light made the sky look eerie in many different ways.

Lots of hugs….

Justina, Evan’s daughter, said “Bye Daddy” as we were leaving in the car.

*****

Sandra’s Memories of Visits from Evan:

Rog and I had purchased an 8-inch oval rock imprinted with a butterfly on it. For a long time I couldn’t get inspired to paint it; couldn’t decide what kind of butterfly I wanted. Then I remembered when a butterfly got trapped in our greenhouse in the backyard and Rog had to help it get out. He was deep chocolate brown with blue spots and a yellow stripe around the wings. When I shared that story with everyone, Laney Butler, our niece, said it sounded like a Mourning Cloak Butterfly. Then the thoughts I’d been having that it was a visit from Evan became so very real.

A few weeks later Rog and I and Crystal were hiking at Spring Lake Park and mourning cloak butterflies were flying around everywhere!

I’ve had feelings of Evan’s presence in the backyard with me several times, just as I did of my mother after she died. We had a small group of tulips, which, when they started blooming in spring, always produced a yellow one first. Yellow was her favorite color. I’ve seen my mother in dreams, in full color, in our home in Windham, Maine, where I grew up.

 

Sandra’s Miscellaneous Memories:

Our daughter, Crystal’s, anger over her brother’s decision to leave us instead of trying to heal physically and spiritually.

Several people saying they were so surprised that he would do this that he was often the life of the party during our gatherings. He could be very entertaining; often singing and dancing.

During the time when Roger and I knew Evan wasn’t feeling good about his health and life in general, we tried to spend a lot of time with him. He had a huge vegetable and fruit garden and when the produce was overwhelming he would do a lot of cooking and we went to his house for dinner often, sometimes when he and Samira were both home and other times when Samira was traveling.

We took a couple trips to Bodega Bay for picnics with him during this time. I remember on one of those trips that Evan talked about how disappointed he was with life on this planet and that he was going to leave to find a place where he could make life better “on his terms”. It was a difficult day for me.

July 25, 2015: Shortly after Evan’s death Samira spent the night with us and the next day, so we had a good talk. We knew she felt like her world had turned upside down. She has a lot of family support though. One day a group of her relatives and friends showed up here unannounced with lots of food. It was overwhelming, at least to Crystal and I, but heart-warming at the same time and much appreciated.

Evan tried to plan things in a considerate way to diminish the shock for us. But the end of an email to me couldn’t help but be shocking for a mother: “You’ll find my carcass in the backyard near the horseshoe pit.” It made me mad at first – that he would write that to me. But Roger’s take on it was that he did it for us – he was saying that it’s just my body; it’s not me. Thinking about that it seemed logical – that’s our Evan. He could be very blunt and straightforward at times!

For reference, read: Seth on Dying and Life After Death

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