Crisis, Grief, and Healing => Child Loss => Topic started by: owensmom on July 09, 2007, 06:24:58 PM

Title: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 09, 2007, 06:24:58 PM
My son, Owen, would have been 21 on June 13, 2007.  He passed away under mysterious circumstances somewhere between May 30 and June 2, 2007.  He was looking forward to his 21st birthday, and had so many plans for his future.  My husband, Dave, my ex-husband, Michael (Owen's father), his brother, Nat, and our extended families are hoping to find the answer(s) to what happened to Owen. 

He was found dead in the Petaluma River on June 2, after missing for four days.  I had filed a missing person's report on the evening of May 30, when he failed to show up at work.  I was working out of town that day, and had received a phone call from his cell phone at 9:43 a.m. (Wednesday), and knew something was wrong.  Owen worked mostly nights at our local movie theater, and was rarely awake at that time of morning for just a chat.  I could tell someone was on the line, but couldn't hear a voice, so said I'd call him back.  Whoever had his phone at that time (this is still being debated), turned it off then, and over the next few hours/days, our family kept leaving messages until the inbox was full.  I stopped by the theater on my way back into town that evening to make sure he was okay, knowing the moment before I turned the corner, that something had gone terribly wrong.  He had not shown up, and it was 15 minutes after his start time.  I went home and called the police. 

Our local police department didn't want to take the report at first, saying, that since he was 20 and a guy, he was probably just out partying with friends, or had met some girl.  I explained that although he did like girls and liked to party with friends, he would never be a "no show" at work.  The officer came up with reason after reason why there was no need for a missing person's report.  I kept coming back with every reason to believe something bad had happened.  When the officer finally took all the information, he ended our phone call with, "Don't worry, he'll show up.  99% of them do."  I was half crazy at the end of that call, because Owen and I had a pact about knowing where each other was at any given time.  We had been through some rough times a few years back, and were very close.  What 20-year-old guy calls his mom on his 10-minute breaks at work?  Owen did.  And, that's probably the only reason the officer bothered to take my report.

For the next three days, our family and friends launched our own "missing person" campaign by questioning kids and managers at the theater, kids and adults on the streets, and by posting flyers all over town.  I rented an airplane and pilot on Friday, to take me up to search by air and took digital pictures of areas I thought might be of interest, and we organized our own search parties in two different areas.  I went to the local fire department on Friday evening and asked if they could help or had any suggestions, since the police department's response seemed sluggish.  Jeff, the firefighter I spoke with, said to simply go around the police department and call Search and Rescue directly the following morning, as they would not be answering calls in the evening.  I called them at 8:10 Saturday morning, and after 2 hours, they agreed to send up "Henry 1" our county's rescue helicopter, but that this was "political now" since they were agreeing to help with a search from a private citizen's request, rather than the police department -- so they could not fly over the Petaluma River, nor any other city airspace.  I said fine, we were out in the county areas at that time on the suggestion of a couple of Owen's "friends", and with thousands of acres to search, had less than 20 people in our search parties. 

No one seemed to take our missing person's report seriously, until it was too late.  As soon as Search and Rescue agreed to send up the air search, I called our friends and coworkers in the ground search, and told them to go home, that I would let them know how the air search went.  I came home where my ex-husband was manning the phones, and soon others from the search parties showed up.  My husband, whose mother has stage 4 cancer, had driven up to her house to stay overnight while her brother was out of town, and was driving back at this time. 

There were some kids in town who had been helping us by giving us hints, tips, and suggestions.  There is little doubt now, that our search in the hills west of town that Saturday morning was intentionally meant to keep us away from the river.  Once everyone had left our house to go into town to continue looking, I got a phone call from a sheriff's deputy, stating he'd like to come talk with me.  I knew at that moment that they'd found Owen, and that he was dead.

When the deputy and a police detective showed up, I was home alone.  I pointed to the flyer on the door and said, "This is my kid.  Is he dead?"  What happened next was so unbelievable, and straight out of a movie.  They told me that someone had seen a body floating in the river at about 1:20 that afternoon, and that the fire department's boat was dispatched.  They had identified the body as my son. 

Over the next few days, the news reporting was a disaster, with misquotes from several people, things taken out of context, and simple misinformation.  The coroner's office gave preliminary findings of Owen's death to the news wires before they gave the information to me, his next of kin.  Everything was such a nightmare.  It was as though someone had written a really bad screenplay and we were all characters suffering through our awful lines, wishing we could have the curtain come down and go home. 

Because of all the difficulties with poor coordination between our county's authorities/agencies, and the fact that all of Owen's belongings (that we know he had with him) are still missing, I've felt compelled to continue doing much of the work of the investigation myself.  I don't know how many letters I've written, how many law enforcement officers I've spoken with, nor how many sleepless nights I've spent imagining the different scenarios of Owen's demise.  Our police captain told me two weeks ago that Owen's death was likely to become an "urban legend" since there are so many versions of what happened, no evidence, and no "credible" witnesses. 

I only know that while I certainly felt the pain of losing him from that first night I went to the theater, that all the things we had to do on our own have delayed this deep grief...and that now it's hitting me so hard I can hardly breathe. 

The story continues, unfortunately.  The details are too unfathomable.  We still have no actual cause of death, nor date of death.  Six weeks ago today was the last time I saw my son, my Owen.  I still can't imagine my life without him, and am afraid that I'll wear out the rest of my family and friends with how I'm getting through this.  It's true that if you haven't lost a child, you can't imagine it.  I've lost so many other loved ones, and this pain is different.   

His brother, my older son, Nat Riley, is an EMT and entering paramedic school soon.  While he cannot adequately define his pain over losing Owen, his best friend, he can define his need to help others diminish their own pain, hopefully, before their loved ones pass on.  He is suffering in such a horrifying way, trying to be strong for me and the rest of the family.  We talk a lot, and help each other cry.

My husband and I spend time talking and crying, remembering the years we had with Owen, and the funny, quirky things he did and said.  He was brilliant, talented, and had a very sad and awkward view of the world.   As his godmother said at his memorial service: "He tried on this physical world like it was a size 12 shoe.  But, Owen wore a 13, and the world did not always fit him comfortably."  We hope his new world is a fit. 
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: lainie on July 09, 2007, 07:00:11 PM
Dear Owen's Mom,
I am so saddened after reading your tragic story.  I am glad that you have found this place to communicate.  There are wonderful people here who will understand this awful pain.  My 12 year old daughter Brynn was killed, hit by a truck in January, 2007.  I live this agony, too.  It is so hard to have so many unanswered questions.  I hope that some peace comes your way and this horrific tale will unravel, because of course, as parents,  we just feel we must know.  You are in my thoughts, I am sending hugs your way.  Please write more when you can.  We are happy to share stories of Owen's life.
Truly,  Elaine
(Brynnie's mom, Dec./94 - Jan./07)
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 09, 2007, 08:05:17 PM
Hi Lainie,

Thanks for reading my post about Owen.  It simply can't be told in a short-cut. Long posts usually scare people away. 

I'm sorry you live this pain everyday.  I'll be thinking of you and Brynn and the rest of your family, as we all grow in different ways now.

Owen's mom

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Debh on July 09, 2007, 09:00:55 PM
Linda I am so sorry for the loss of your son Owen.

What you went through with the police department and all those first days should be unheard of but unfortunately we parents who have lost a child hear this alot. We are left trying to find the answers to what happened and why on top of the sorrow and grief of our loss. A child who has so much life left to live taken so soon becomes a nightmare to live through but we do moment by moment... I see we do find our way through this horrible sadness and grief of the loss of our child. I hope the answers are found to what happened to Owen.

Long posts don't scare people away here Linda. When I came to this board I think I was known for the long post queen and so thankful for all those that stayed with me through my hardest times. I am just so sorry and wished no parent had to experience this pain and wish children couldn't die. Its all so wrong.

I will keep you, Owen and your family in my thoughts.


Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: luckyladyb on July 09, 2007, 09:52:53 PM
Oh sweetie, I am so sorry for your loss and all that you've had to endure the last few weeks. 
I lost my only son April 28th. Sudden death due to a genetic heart disease that we never knew he had.
It's hard to find understanding after the "newness" wears off so to speak. This forum will be so much comfort to you.
Pour your heart out ........ I read the whole post and didn't consider it too long. Do what you need to do. We're here for you.
Blessings your way ....
Jason's Mom, Bonnie
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Lonnie on July 09, 2007, 10:42:52 PM
Hi Owen's Mom: You have surely landed in a safe place to share your heart, your pain, your sorrow, and your good memories too! These are the most wonderful people on the boards, filled with love and compassion for each other. I am Lonnie from the Main Board, and I just wanted to say that I was filled with rage while reading of how the police didn't want to file the report. This makes me so angry because we all know (from watching tv) that the first 48 hours are the most crucial. Why they hesitate doesn't make sense, because sometimes they might be able to save a life if they would immediately start searching and investigating. I don't know if that was true in the case of your son, but you did a wonderful job organizing your own investigation and search. When you say some of his friends gave you hints-do you think they know what happened or have some idea? Have you been able to find out who he was with before he went missing? I am so sorry for all that you have had to endure, and it sounds like you are still in shock, with some of it starting to wear off now. You have been so busy just trying to do what needed to be done.  Please let us know if you find out anything more, and I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I hope you find the answers you need and deserve. Hugs-Lonnie (Main Board)
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensdad on July 09, 2007, 11:27:53 PM
I am Owen's dad, actually step-dad, but I was with him for 16 of the 20 plus years he blessed those around him with his presence.  I feel blessed that I had even one day to call him my friend.  Linda and I have, had, 5 children.  2 fabulous sons and 3 beautiful daughters.  We all went through some very difficult and trying times as Linda and I grappled with the difficulties of raising 5 kids from 2 blended families, with biological father and mother still very much in the mix.  This combination of personalities made for some very interesting and volatile, how should I say, encounters.  Through all this, the children who had all matured and grown to be absolutely the most wonderful and understanding adults you would ever want to be associated with, loved us and all the blended siblings as if they were all blood related.The loss of our, Linda and my, youngest child is a tragedy the masters will never be able to duplicate.  I can't talk about the sadness I feel for fear that the next second I will not be able to function in this or any world.  The anger I feel over the ineptness of the authorities "handling" this case I have no problem talking about.  The problem is that the sadness is going to be with me for the rest of my life.  The anger will go away.  My question is " How do I get to tomorrow"?Linda is the love of my life and I see her as my strength.  The problem here is that I am known as the strong one.  She is crumbling!!!Our children need for us to be there for them to love.  To call.  To send pictures of the new grandson.  To call when the car breaks down, which means a down for the next one.  To just say HI.  How do we get to the next page?Thank you for being there,David
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: CRCmom on July 10, 2007, 03:53:05 AM
To Owen's mom and dad,

I am so so sorry for the tradegy of losing Owent and all the complications that came with it.  I lost my almost 16 year old son Christian in 2005 to a sudden pulmmonary embolism.  One minute here, the next minute gone.  Devastating.  I struggle every day.  The jouney is made easier because of everyone here on the board that have walked through this journey with me.  I hateit when new people come to the board, but am grateful  that you have found us for support, love, understanding and what little comfort can be given.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: JenKellisMom on July 10, 2007, 05:20:37 AM
Although I hate why you're here, I'm happy you and your husband have found us.  I look forward to hearing more about Owen.  He sounds like an exceptional young man.

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Jeanneb on July 10, 2007, 06:18:32 AM
Dear Linda and David.

I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your precious son, Owen.  The nightmare your family has been through is just overwhelming.  I will keep all of you in my prayers.

This journey is the most difficult life has thrown my way.  It will be 4 years on the 21st that I lost my youngest child, my son, Philip at age 17 to a MVA.  You take one minute at a time, one baby step at a time.  Deal with each day as it comes because much more than that can be so very overwhelming.

You will be there for your surviving children it is just going to be different.  Nothing will ever be the same again, you have a hole in your heart where nothing can fill it.  Keep talking to each other, holding each other and remember we each grieve in different ways.  Give each other space when needed and arms to hold each other when needed.  This is a life journey, there is no timetable on your grief and don't let anyone make you think there is.  Please keep posting, you have found a safe place to vent, no judgement just love from those who walk this journey beside you.  I don't know what I would have done without this board to listen and to know that everyone here truly understands.

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Karen Paul on July 10, 2007, 06:37:11 AM
Linda and David,

I am so saddened by your tragic story. And so so sorry for your loss of your precious son Owen. I hope you find the answers you so desparately seek.. and I hope you will both find this place a safe haven to express yourselves.. when all the rest of the world seems to be moving on.. we are here..

I lost my nephew Christopher to a hit and run driver in 2003. Chris is the only child of my brother Brian and his ex-wife Amy.. both Brian and Amy had remarried and Chris had a step-dad an step-mom and brother and sister (step-dad's kids) who all loved him very much.. Chris, like your kids, always knew he was loved and grew into a wonderful young man.. just three weeks shy of his 17th birthday when he was killed.

My heart aches for you and your family.. please be gentle with yourselves and take one day at a time.. keep talking even when it gets hard.. and do remember that each person's grief is different and you won't necessarily be in sync all of the time.. as Jeanne so wisely says there is no timetable.. and this is a safe place.. filled with understanding people...

luv and hugs, Karen
proud aunt of Christopher

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Marianne on July 10, 2007, 06:54:39 AM
I am so sorry.  Please know that I understand your loss.  I also understand on some level the pain you are going through by not knowing what happened.

Those of us who have lost a child walk a very sad path of grief.  I was once told to think of it as a path with pot holes.  There will be times when the path is covered with them - deep and dark.  Just remember to always keep walking - there will be times when the path smooths out a little bit.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Brenda Taylors Mom on July 10, 2007, 12:37:36 PM
Linda and David, I am so deeply sorry for the tragic loss of your son Owen. .. there is no greater pain. we are all here for you.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Dena on July 10, 2007, 03:09:40 PM
((((Linda & David))))

I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious son, Owen.  I understand a lot of the frustration and anger you feel for the authorities.  There are no words.

Next month, it will be 8 years since I lost my son, Joshua (14) in a boating/drowning "accident".  For the longest time, I was bitter, resentful & extremely angry with the authorities in our area. We went through grief counseling and will the anger resurfaces from time to time, I have come to a place where I can understand and deal with it.  In time, you will be able to as well.

Please keep coming here. Post when you want to and read.  This is a place of great support and understanding and growth.

Thinking of you,

Dena, Josh's Mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Wadesmom on July 10, 2007, 03:41:57 PM
I am also sorry for the loss of your son, Owen.  My thoughts and prayers are with you and  your family.
I'm sad you are here, yet glad that you have found us. The ongoing support here is comforting, it's been a source of strength for me the past several months. 
My 15 year old son died from injuries he sustained from a MVA in August of 2006. Our lives have been forever changed- and I still can't believe what has occured.  The individuals here are patient, can sadly relate, they are encouraging and they understand the pain of what you are going through. For me, this is a support like no other.  Please post whenever  you need or want to. 

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 10, 2007, 03:50:26 PM
Thank you all so much for replying to my post yesterday.  I'm so sorry we have to meet this way, but so thankful you're all there, and our children are connected in this strange and beautiful way.

I heard from my sister-in-law, Lyn, this morning.  She ran into a woman she used to work with over the weekend.  The woman told her about her daughter, who is 13 or 14, and having some problems right now, and there was this really nice guy that had been mentoring her on keeping journals, and how important is was to write stuff down when you can't figure something out, or when you feel sad or lonely.  Then she said how awful it was that he died recently, and that her daughter is devastated.  Lyn asked if the guy's name was Owen, and she said yes.  Lyn told her Owen was her nephew, and that he had been keeping journals for years, and she was so glad he shared his experience with others.  So am I.

It was good to hear that he helped others.  This is the stuff we don't always get to know about our kids -- what happens when they're out in the world.  If we're very lucky, we sometimes hear these stories, and think, okay, we were all working our way toward a better day tomorrow.

I talked with a coworker of his last week, who said Owen was responsible for him still being alive, as he was thinking about committing suicide last year.  He said that Owen had told him life was too short and asked him how would he know what was coming next, if he didn't stick around to see.  He said Owen stayed with him each time he got into that dark place, and talked him through it.  

Just like with many teenagers, Owen's teen years were hard, and his behavior scared me sometimes.  It scared him, too, but he kept saying that whatever's gonna happen, is gonna happen, Mom.  Love is not about worrying.  The last two years had been so much better for all of us, and he was working hard to stay positive, so these stories from others really help.  In the last few weeks, he had started hanging out with some street kids that seemed harmless to him, but reminded me of those from the tough years.  We talked about it, and he was sure they were just regular kids who were confused about life, just like he was, but that they were okay.  We feel they were not okay, and yes, we know they know what happened to Owen.  Those hints I talked about in my original post -- all of them came to pass in the four days Owen was missing.  

And, yes, there was so much to do in the beginning, that our grief was delayed, and therefore this past week has been the toughest yet.  Dave and my son, Nat, have gone back to work, but I can't face it yet.  My job is to help people fix their problems all day, and right now, there's only one problem I want fixed, and it's mine.  Since that's not going to happen, I have no patience for much of anything.  I freak out when I can't get a milk carton open.  I'm lucky, though, because my company is laying low, and giving me as much time as I need (they can't mean the rest of my life, can they?).

Again, thank you all for being there.  I don't know all your stories of loss yet, but have a feeling I'll be checking in a good bit.  Thanks for sharing, and for your thoughts and prayers.  Dave and I know they will be helpful in the coming months/years, as we can't know what to expect.


Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: MelissaCharliesMom on July 10, 2007, 05:00:46 PM
I am so sorry for the loss of your precious son. I too lost a son on June 26 of 2004. Charlie was 10 years old, our first born. A spectacular ray of sunshine and the best big brother my other kiddos could ever ask for. A man who happened to be a NY State Correction/Parole caused the accident that killed my precious boy. It took us 3 years of legal battles and writing to State Congressmen and local officials but finally his license was suspended on June 1 of this year 25 days before the 3rd anniversary of Charlies death. Losing a child has left me and my husband older, sad and broken. We are held together only by our love for our children, for each other and the love given to us by those (few)we choose to keep around us. I understand your frustration with the "system" so to speak and am so very, very sorry that you had to deal with such thoughtless, unprofessional "people".
Please know this is a safe place, you can cry, scream, vent....whatever you need to do. I dont have any answers for you as far as getting to the next page, next day or even the next minute.
We just hit the 3 year mark and it has become NO easier..different yes, but easier no and I dont ever see it becoming something that I can come to terms with. I miss him every second of every day, I cry, I get angry and I keep wishing it was so very, very different.
All I can say is you have found a place that has helped me to survive somehow through the last 3 years. I surely wish you had no reason to be here, but am very glad you found us.
Sending strength and peace....
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: John-Danielle Marie's Daddy on July 11, 2007, 05:10:25 AM
(((Owen’s Mom & Family))),
             I am SO SORRY to read of your beloved young, handsome and loving son, Owen’s mysterious demise and his sad death. As I read about your struggle to find your son, I am furious at the lack of support and compassion that you received from the so called professionals in your town. The law enforcement officers, media reporters and the coroner ALL need to have some training on how to handle such a case in the future. I know the pain, anguish and devastation you all feel as you continue to ask…”WHY”. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, as you travel along this horrible journey. You are ALWAYS welcome here among us. The death of a child is the most devastating event of a parent’s life. The road of grief is a LONG and DIFFICULT journey; we as bereaved parents and our families need to live “one breath at a time”.
My wife Bernice and I are the parents of a beautiful, loving, heavenly Angel Danielle Marie. On February 20th, 2006 at 11 years 1 month and 17 days old, our beautiful, precious and life-loving, young daughter, Danielle Marie died at 10:59am in an automobile collision in Sturbridge, MA (USA). She died of a massive traumatic head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene. We also have a wonderful, handsome 15 year old son, Jonathan.
Take Care & May God give you & your loving family the strength and courage to guide you all along this terrible, emotional and relentless journey.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 11, 2007, 08:13:38 PM
Thanks for being there, everyone.  These last two days have been the darkest.  I have fallen into the pit and can't climb my way out.  Owen has been gone 6 weeks today, and I can't imagine the next minute without him.  It makes me want to drive to town and stand on the bridge where his body was retreived from the river, and scream at all those young punks who know what happened to him. 

I can't stop crying.  I can't stop shaking.  My body hurts at the molecular level all the way through to about 6 feet beyond my skin.  I've eaten so little in the past 6 weeks, that I'm feeling like I'm starving myself.  The grief counselor I've seen twice, said she sees this in mothers mostly, but other family members sometimes do it, too.  She calls it "one foot in the grave", and said there's a part of us that wants to go with our children or other loved ones.  This made so much sense to me.  She asked if I can eat when my older son is around, and I said, yes, no problem if he's there.  So, she suggested I spend more time with him.  That's hard, too, though, because we're so consumed with pain at this early stage, I feel like I'm taking him down with me whenever we see each other and talk on the phone.  He lives about a half hour away.  He's suffering, too, and I don't want this to be harder on him than it already is.  I don't want him to take on the parent role.

I called my ex-husband, Michael, today (Owen's and Nat's father; not Owen's and Nat's dad, Dave, (my husband) who you've met here).  We talked for about 2 hours.  He never remarried and does not have a girlfriend, so is home alone most of the time.  He doesn't work, so is going down this path in a consuming way, too.  He and Owen had spent the least time together of all our family members, and he feels so guilty, having felt the time would come soon enough, for them to be closer.  We talk whenever there is news from the police, or when we can't stand the pain, and no one else is available.  We have plenty of shared memories from when the boys were young that are full of love and good times, so this also makes sense for us.  And, we share our extended families, so we have plenty of Owen stories, and Michael CAN TALK forever.  So, it was a good way to climb part way out of the pit.

Because the police have so many versions of what happened, we get to grieve in a 4-fold fashion.  Here are our choices: homicide, accident, suspicious, and suicide.  While suicide is not a focus for the police, simply by the fact that Owen didn't exhibit suicidal behavior, the fact that those kids won't tell us or the police what happened, it stays part of the possibilities.  I know in my heart that he would not intentionally hurt himself, but occasionally, the thought sneaks in - what if something was going on that I didn't know about?  There's so much more that I can't talk about because this is still an active investigation, and it's enough to make us all lose our minds.  We get to keep seeing our own personal visions, dozens of them, of how Owen ended up in the river.

When I imagine the different possibilities, the panic attacks are like nothing I've ever experienced.  The first thing I say to myself each day when I wake up is, "Owen is not going to walk in the door, and today will be better than yesterday."  And, then it all comes crashing in - the visions of the possibilities, and I'm gone again, agony.

I know this wouldn't be any easier if we knew what happened, but maybe there would be moments when I could walk from the living room to the kitchen, and I wouldn't feel so sick.  Or, maybe a night where I could actually sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time.  The sleep deprivation is not making it any easier, either.

Since we still don't have a date or actual cause of death yet, Michael, Nat, Dave, and I have simply agreed on a date for our own purposes, based on the different stories the kids have told, and what we felt in our hearts in the days Owen was missing.  Until we're told differently by the final coroner's report, we're agreeing Owen passed on May 30, 2007, between just after midnight and somewhere around noon.  This way, we can, for the moment, try to cut out those 12 hours of our lives that are torturing us, and try to stay focused on the memories, and the regular missing our kid stuff.

Owen's first true love, Carla, called me today.  We had been trying to find her, and finally someone connected with her today.  She was destroyed, and I went right back into the pit while we talked for an hour and a half.  Then, she, being the kind of woman that she is, told me about the first night she met Owen.  It was such a sweet story, and one that showed him at his kindest.  She told me a few other stories, all of which were either funny or showed his gentle side.  This was a real gift, and one that was very hard for her, I'm sure.  I am so thankful for these stories, as they come in.  And, for a moment or two, I can look at pictures of him and not feel quite as broken.

This is what we know today.  And, the pit is waiting for me with each breath.

I've been reading some of your stories, and I am so sorry for all of you, too.  It all feels like such a terrible violation of who our families were before, and certainly after.

Thank you all for sticking with us in these early days.  I'm bound to ramble...

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Debh on July 11, 2007, 10:50:30 PM
Linda if you need help posting Owen's photo I will be glad to help you. I noticed your post above tonight. Send me a email at [email protected] and I will help you through this.

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: maddiesmom on July 13, 2007, 10:56:12 AM
Dear Owen's Mom- I am so so sorry for your loss- my heart goes out to you and your family.  You will be remembered in my prayers. I will pray that oyu get answers. I cannot imagine the not knowing. My little Maddie died from cancer at the age of seven 2 1/2 months ago. My husband and I hurt every single day. You are so in my thoughts   Much Love, Maddie's Mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 13, 2007, 03:37:57 PM
The first day my husband and I drove down Petaluma Blvd., the main street in our town, one block from the river, I saw a young man just stepping into the crosswalk.  His build, his hair, and the way he walked...he looked too much like Owen, and I cracked.  I still gasp when I see these kids that remind me of him, and on certain days, I feel if I see another one, I won't be able to go on.  It's very hard for me to stay in my body while driving, so whenever I can, I have someone else do it.  That's not always possible.

Yesterday, I went to the post office to send off a condolence card to my sister-in-law, whose mom passed away a few weeks after Owen.  Two of the kids who used to stay at our house with Owen walked past my car, and I wanted to turn the car on, and run them over.  I was on the phone with my brother at the time, and he said, well, at least it would give a new meaning to "going postal" and for a few minutes I was just seething, but also laughing at the way my mind works now -- that it never did before.  I'm the rational, reasonable, analytical one in the family, and this is very strange.

About ten minutes later, continuing to run errands (the first time I've been able to do this by myself), I called my best friend, Owen's godmother, Lea, and told her it was like a switch had been flipped from the deep pit I had been in for the past week, to this new enraged monster that reminded me of all the stories of revenge I'd ever heard.  We talked through it, because it's been happening with her, too, and I came out the other side.  (She's known Owen since birth and lived with us for 3 months recently in a period of transition. She had just moved out 2 weeks before Owen went missing.  They had spent so much time together over the years, and were so close.  She's feeling a lot of the child-loss along with us.)

I'm feeling this defiant side of me that's new, too.  I've never been an activist of any kind, but feel I have a new mission in life because of the way Owen's death has been handled (mishandled) by the authorities and papers.  So, I finished my errands, got a coffee, and drove to Water Street, where these kids hang out.  I parked my car, and walked over to the benches along the river, and there were a few kids that I recognized.

One was a girl that was walking by the post office earlier and I keep running into her (not over her).  She looked at me, started crying (she does every time we see each other), and came to sit with me.  She put her arm around me, and we cried.  Her boyfriend had quite a different reaction, "This is so f*****" put his head in his hands and didn't seem to come up for air for quite some time.  By the time he did, there were at least 20 kids down there -- they seem to collect right after 5:30 in the evenings, when it starts to cool down.  Several who had stayed at our house over the last few weeks of Owen's life came over to talk with me.  Pretty soon, the word had spread that I was Owen's mom, and still more kids started to gather. 

It's so strange what I see in their eyes.  For some of them, it's pain.  For others, it's shame.  For others, its fear.  And, I know they all know what happened, and they're watching each other to see if anyone gets "weak" and might tell. 

I stayed for an hour and 35 minutes, during which time a mid-20s guy walked right down the sidewalk with a case of beer, and those who felt comfortable, went over and grabbed a couple each.  They opened them right there on the street, drinking like it was legal and acceptable, then threw their bottles in the river, and I kept seeing them throwing Owen in, that late night in May.  The only way I can imagine I was able to continue sitting there watching this, is that I had gone back into the shock stage. 

Not one single police officer, or another adult walked or drove by during this time.  It was so easy to see how this behavior continues and is growing by the minute.  I kept imagining Owen being a part of this crowd, and it just didn't fit, even though we knew he liked to drink beer and play hacky sack with other young people.  He had gotten a ticket for having 2 beers in his possession and being underage about a year ago, and we thought he was done with that kind of thoughtlessness and carelessness.  Though, the last 3 weeks of his life, I had talked with him about drinking and how it can grab hold and not let go for some people, (we've had this conversation in our house over the years due to family history).  After he passed away, one of the kids told me that a certain other person was buying Owen beer, then stealing from him.  That certain other person was the other kid by the post office. 

My anger is so volatile right now, and there are many times when I'm afraid to leave the house.  But, this defiant thing keeps happening, where we go to the bridge where he was found to throw in flowers, never knowing who we might run into.  It's upstream from the River Walk area, and there would be no way to get help if something happened.  Just like with Owen. 

Today is Friday the 13th, and Owen was born on a Friday the 13th in June of 1986.  He always looked forward to these occasional reasons to celebrate his life in this dramatic, symbolic way.  I think I'm going to have to go to the bridge with flowers this afternoon.  My brother-in-law should be here soon, so I'll take him as my bodyguard.  I hope he agrees, since Dave's at work.

I must be freaking crazy. 

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  We are doing the same for all of you, and learning about your children, and how much you miss them, too.  That is the only way we'll get through this, well, and the crying, screaming, beating our fists on the bed, sleepless nights, starvation, and swimming our way through the jaws of change.

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Lonnie on July 13, 2007, 04:42:49 PM
Owen's mom: It is almost like watching a mystery, except that it is far too real. I understand your need to know what happened, and to be near where it happened. Perhaps one day, one of the teens will tell what they know. The ones who might consider it are probably very afraid. Are the police giving any attention to Owen's murder at all? That is so tragic about the place where the kids hang out without supervision, and the beer is brought in. I also understand your rage. How could you not feel that way? Hang on, and follow your gut. I really believe one day you will find out the answers you need. Many prayers and thoughts of you, Lonnie (Main Board)
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Donnys Dad on July 14, 2007, 07:42:49 AM
Owens Mom, I am so glad you found this site.  Although sorry you had to join our group we are glad to have you here.  You will find this group to be full of wonderful caring people.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 14, 2007, 10:24:39 PM
My brother-in-law did go with me to the "pipebridge" yesterday evening, Friday the 13th.  We took 13 sunflowers with us, as they float beautifully in the ebbing and flowing tides of the River (not actually a river, but a slough from the San Pablo Bay north of San Francisco). 

There were a bunch of people gathered under the tree near the pipebridge, all drinking beer.  I looked over, as Ken and I approached, and said, "It's Friday the 13th.  If you want to throw flowers into the river with us, come on over."  Only two people came over, out of the dozen or so.  One is a guy in his mid-30's, I think he's homeless, but he always smiles or nods at me when our eyes meet.  I said, "Owen was born on a Friday the 13th", and he said, "I'll take a flower."  He was the first to take one and walk on the very dangerous bridge (no handrails and lots of gaps, as this is a bundle of pipes that carry some type of gas from one side of the bridge to the other) and sat down for a few minutes, only about 8 feet out.  I could hear him talking, but not his words.  Then, another, younger man came over, and this one was hard for me, because others have told me he didn't much like Owen, that Owen challenged him on subjects of life and truth.  He, too, sat with the older guy, and they exchanged a few words. 

Ken and I threw in flowers, one by one, with our private thoughts, from about 2 feet across the bridge.  The tide was low, but still around 3 feet, so the flowers floated beautifully back downstream.  Ken hugged me, and I cried.  Both of the guys walked back then, and went to rejoin the others under the tree.

There were four flowers left, and I said, "Let's go up to the next bridge, and throw these in there."  That bridge, which is an old wooden trestle, is where Owen's body was retrieved by the fire department rescue boat on June 2. 

Nearing the trestle, I told Ken that there's a guy who lives up there in a tent, that's seriously not in his right mind, and that he's quite scary.  Ken said not to worry (years in the military, he wasn't as nervous as I was, and said, "As we say in airports now, I've got your "6").  Sure enough, the guy was sitting near the entrance to the trestle, playing music on a boombox, quietly, and said nothing.  I ran into him in the early days of our search, and he was downright hostile because I had disturbed his territory.

We walked past, and onto the trestle, and looked back downstream at the pipebridge, and could barely hear the muffled chatter of the lost drinkers under the tree.  We noticed then, that the two men who had taken flowers had not thrown them into the river, but had stuck them in the bridge where they sat.  It occurred to me, then, that that's where Owen was either pushed or fell into the river.  I can't know, but it was a strong "knowing" and I'll never get that vision out of my mind.

Ken and I threw in the last four flowers, and with the last one, I shouted, "Number 13", as this was Owen's birthdate, and one of his favorite numbers, the other one being 31, for Halloween, his favorite holiday. 

I think some people come into this world too sensitive for the cruelties of earthly life.  Owen was one.  I will say this for the rest of my life, for it's the truth for me, as his mother.  He trusted everyone.  His filters didn't discriminate, based on a person's behavior, even when he questioned their motives.  He made decisions because of, and in spite of, his observations.  He worried for young girls on the street, because he knew how easily they were taken advantage of, and sought out ways to help them whenever he could.  We know this because of the calls we've received from their parents over the years.

I'm home alone this weekend.  My brother-in-law, Ken, who was kind enough to go on this memorial excursion with me, and Dave, my husband, and Owen's dad, went to visit their mom this morning.  She is dying of cancer, and they have that sorrow to face in the near future.

Nat, my older son, has not answered my last two phone calls.  I think he's simply shredded, and the sound of my voice is more torture than comfort.  I miss him, too, and hope that I won't lose him in this sadness.  Owen would have hated that.

Thanks for being there.  I know you know our pain.

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: tysmama on July 15, 2007, 11:50:21 AM
Linda, Dave, and Family,

I am so sorry to hear of this tragedy. I wish there was more I could do then give words. Shaking some people would make me feel good right now. I had just the opposite experience hear when our son went missing in the nearby lake. Our guys in uniform were great and did everything they said they would. Please know that you have a great base hear and we will all listen and help as much as possible. Wishing you some peace and ease with all of the GOOD memories.

Keeping you and yours close,
Ty's Mama
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Lonnie on July 15, 2007, 12:20:36 PM
Linda: I just got shivers when I read what you said about the 2 guys leaving their flowers on the pipebridge. Your keen observation is probably correct. You said that the pipebridge was very dangerous. That may have been what happened to Owen. But I know that you wish one of the people there would just let you know if he fell or was pushed into the water. I am going to pray that someone will have the guts to come forward and tell you the truth. It was very kind of Ken to be there for you, and I am so sorry to hear that their mom is dying of cancer. I know that must be so painful to watch. Many hugs and prayers are coming your way. Please continue to let us know what you discover. Love, Lonnie (Main Board)
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 15, 2007, 02:19:55 PM
I woke up today, and for some reason, the first thing I asked myself was, "What's your favorite day of the week?"  I realized, I no longer have one.  It used to be Sunday because that's when our family got to spend the most time together.  Even if Owen was going to work, I got to spend part of the day with him.  Even if Nat had something else to do, often, this was the day we got together.  Today is Sunday, and I'll be spending it by myself.

Dave and his brother are visiting their mom this weekend, and I couldn't pull myself together to go with them.  They're dealing with her end-of-life issues, and I can't be helpful at this point, so thought I should stay home.  This is a very lonely place right now, and I'm surrounded by all of Owen's stuff and all of my memories of what our family used to be.

People say that although there is a different life waiting for us out there, I care so little about anything but our small circle, and keep wondering what we'll be like a year from now.  That's the only reason I even bother getting out of bed. 

With no one around, and nothing to do, my days are filled with staring into space, remembering the good times, and then crumbling into that dark pit of questions and no answers.  There are so many people to blame for losing Owen.  They get to walk around, looking for their next laugh, or their next friend, or their next love.  I've never felt this kind of rage.

Those kids stole our future.  The future that is to come now, is full of more of this.  The rest of my family, extended family, and friends are dealing with Owen's death on their own terms.  I hope they are doing it better than my experience - forcing myself into the day.

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Lonnie on July 17, 2007, 01:12:50 PM
Linda: Thinking of you and sending you a warm hug.   :'( Just take one moment at a time, as a day is too long. Know that we are here for you anytime you need to talk. Many prayers, Lonnie
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 18, 2007, 01:05:53 AM
Some hard days in the last two weeks.  More than I could ever have imagined, and wish you didn't have them, too.

Dave went with me this afternoon to see my counselor, Gretchen.  He was really having a hard time with the changes in me, but understood he couldn't experience Owen's death in the same way as me, but equally as hard.

We had a good talk, tears, at least one laugh (that's all I ask for now), and some understanding of how different it is, to lose a child than any other person in your life.  The way Gretchen explained it to me on my first visit was:  When you give birth to a child, you make a contract with him/her, that you will take care of him/her, and prevent all harm, protect, and conquer all.  It's a promise.  And, we don't go back on our promises.

Then, they grow up, and you do everything you can to keep them safe, and offer your experience as evidence that some things really work better than others.  They take that information out into the world, and make choices on their own.  And, then, we can't control some of the things that happen, and some of the choices they make.

Dave has been worried about me since Owen's death, and I'm so glad he loves me enough to worry.  I can't explain why I do the things I do now.  I only know that when they are right for the moment, they are right.

Often, I stay up until the wee hours of the night, early morning, on the computer, doing what I always do when I don't understand something - research and commune with others.  This is what Owen did in the late night hours, too.  For years, he was on a different timetable than most of his peers and family. 

Sometimes, I would wake up around 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, go to the kitchen for a glass of milk or water, and he would be at the computer, searching.  Always searching for information.  We had an understanding early on, that there was nothing we could do to change this.  He was simply wired that way.  So, I sometimes asked him what he was looking up, or found interesting, and he would share music or data with me, that he found compelling.

When Dave and I left Gretchen's office this evening, he caught my hand as we walked down the sidewalk toward the car.  I immediately felt Owen walking directly behind us, between us, towering over us, with his long arms wrapped around our shoulders, and saying, "Okay, you guys are gonna make it through this."  It was the most "present" I have felt him since he died.  I told Dave about it as he opened the car door for me, and I felt peace.  Owen was there, and gathered us into his arms, to say he's okay.

My evening has been hard, but good.  I haven't been able to listen to Owen's music for the last few days, because I kept going to such depths of despair, that I couldn't climb out of the pit.  But, tonight, when I decided it was okay to listen again, I felt, again, peace.

"There's nothing to fear, and nothing to doubt..."  Radiohead, Pyramid Song

Thanks, Owen, for visiting this evening.  From what I hear, you were all over the place today.  Thank you for helping Lea with her painting this morning, "River Where Beauty Sleeps."  A busy day for all...

Owen's Mom

...and hugs to all of you who are reading and staying with us through this strange and tormenting journey. 
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Marianne on July 18, 2007, 08:03:13 AM
How wonderful that you felt your Owen all around you!  There are times when my Alek seems to be rubbing my shoulders - urging me to keep on going.

I pray the Owen's love surrounds you.

Hugs and Support!
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Lonnie on July 18, 2007, 09:43:31 AM
Owen's Mom: I am so glad that you and Dave went to the counselor together, and that you felt peace, even for awhile. I am also like Owen. Ever since my dad died, and I have the care of my mom, my sleep schedule has gotten even crazier. I was always a night owl, but through the stress of it all, took to staying up all night at times. I am desperate to change this as I know it is not good for my health. I am working on this in counseling, but I am also wired differently. It is very difficult to reverse. Of course, grief interferes with sleep also for quite some time. It seems my problems have become almost pathological, and I am trying to change my schedule. But it is a challenge. Thinking of you today, Lonnie (Main Board)
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 19, 2007, 12:07:47 AM
Thanks, Lonnie.  Your message was important to me.  I feel like I'm losing my mind sometimes.  I go through those numb periods where I can function in a somewhat capable way for moments.  Then, the crash happens again.  God, I pray this will stop, but fear this is a lifetime sentence. 

I went to work for 1.5 hours today.  First time I've walked through those doors since Owen's death, and I didn't know if I could do it.  I just talked with Owen the whole way there (about a half hour from home), and when I got there, I could only look at the ground, until I was safely in my office.  That was all I had.  And, even that was tough.  I just had to fix some things that only I had authority to do, and then I was out of there.

My friend, and colleague, has a son with a similar personality to Owen's, so we shared some of our previous proud moments, and challenges, and that made it a little easier to face the mundane parts of work.

I'm trying to ease my way back into the day-to-day life, and am fortunate that my company will allow this.  I can't even imagine how people go back to work in the typical "bereavement leave" periods, after the loss of a child.  I work in Human Resources, so am often the person charged with monitoring bereavement leaves, and thank goodness, have lost enough family and friends over the years, to be flexible.  But, NOTHING, can compare with the loss of a child, and I have a new understanding of what it takes to come back to work and have any sense of meaning in the tasks at hand.  How do people keep their minds on work, when their children have just been taken away in such cruel ways?

I just felt that Owen was with me, and since I was able to share stories about him, it was, I think easier for me, than for people who have to return to work, and dig right back in where they left off. 

Thanks, Owen, for standing next to me, as you so often did on those evenings on the phone when I worked late.

Thanks everyone, for sticking with us, as we move through this.

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Dottie (Tammie's Mom) on July 19, 2007, 06:01:06 AM
Hi, Owen's Mom,

I am so sorry about the tragic loss of your son's life. You have found a safe comforting group of parents here.

My heart aches for you,
Dottie Tammie's Mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on July 27, 2007, 01:41:29 AM
Hey everyone,

We're still here, just quiet for the last few days.  We still have no date or cause of death for Owen, so the questions and his missing days are making this mystery unthinkable in so many ways. 

I still go down to the River to sit, and write in my journal.  I stay in the very open, public areas, and sometimes I run into people who knew him.  Most of those who know what happened, still can't look me in the eyes, and our conversations are short and difficult.  They're young and hiding, so I get it.  I just don't want to.  There's one young lady who sits with me for extended periods, depending on who else is around.  She hints at things that might or might not mean anything, and while it drives me crazy, it also gives me hope that someday, someone might share what they know. 

Last Saturday, two of Owen's friends from the movie theater asked me to meet them for coffee.  We had such a great, though sad time, sitting at the River, with our coffees and Owen stories.  They had such sweet things to share, and I felt so blessed to be his mother.  They had ordered bracelets that say, "In loving memory of Owen Riley" and are colored in orange and black swirls, as Halloween was Owen's favorite holiday.  They gave me some for family, and said they would order as many as I wanted.  I took one for Nat, Owen's brother, and one for Owen's room. 

They had a birthday party for him on June 13, though he was unable to attend, his body having been found on June 2.  They decorated their house with Halloween stuff, and baked a cake that flopped dramatically.  They ate it anyway, and laughed about funny things he'd shared with them, and talked about gifts he brought to people.  He, apparently, was quite the character at work, as he was at home.  It was really good for me to hear their stories.  I shared some of our funny family stories with them, and they seemed very grateful.  I took them some pictures of him, as they had none.  Both of these young ladies attended his memorial service, and just felt like they needed to know more about this guy who they'd only known for a few months, but who had impacted their lives in such a big way.  I was glad to share, and I think they were, too.

That's all I have for now.  I pray you are all doing as well as each day will allow, and that you are finding the peace that is currently betraying our family.  I'm certain that someday, we will be able to be more supportive to all of you.  Today, though, we are fairly empty.

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on August 12, 2007, 11:37:26 PM
Hey again,

Although it seems self-indulgent to reply to my own post, I can't help myself.  Just wanted to let you all know that we still know nothing - 11 weeks tomorrow since I last saw my Owen.

I called the coroner's office on Friday, and they said to expect it to take another 2 -4 weeks for the final autopsy report.  The civil-servant-red-tape thing is larger, longer, than I would have ever imagined.  How dare the propaganda machine of television make us believe this should be different. 

I left messages with the detective on Owen's case, and at the coroner's office.  No replies, duh.  So, we sit with our constant questions, and our constant misery in missing Owen.  Yet, we have our joyful memories to support us through this agony.  They are important in this purgatory (no, we're not Catholic, but totally get the concept of purgatory now - not for the dead, but for the living).  Forgive me, if these words offend anyone's faith.  They don't come from my faith, they come from my grief.

My faith tells me that Owen is happier now than he was in this life.  My older son, Nat, and his stepdaughter, Ruby visited this evening for dinner.  He is so tortured, absorbed in guilt, and our conversations take hours to come to a place of momentary acceptance of what has happened.  I am so concerned about losing him in the mystery.   He doesn't have the life skills to deal with this kind of obscurity - who does?  He is doing his best, and thank God, he has Anna and Ruby to give him a sense of "life going on" for I don't believe he would care, otherwise.

Today was one of my darker days.  Don't know why, don't care.  Just know.  I stayed in bed most of the day, watching the PGA tournament from my bed - the television being in the living room and visible from my prone position, however, I didn't bother to put on my glasses.  Sometimes, we don't really want to see, just want to escape.  Is that true for you?

So, when it got close to the time when Nat and Ruby were to arrive, Dave and I rushed to the store for dinner ingredients.  When we got home, I felt this overwhelming need to spruce up the house, make it look like someone here still cares about things like dust and cobwebs.  Dave and I kicked into high gear, to get the place cleaned up, and waited for them to arrive. 

When they pulled into the driveway, I was again, in bed.  Sick, physically, sick.  Once I heard Nat's car driving over the gravel, I snapped to.  I played with Ruby (she's four), and she loves my stuffed bear collection.  After they ate (I couldn't), she wanted to go upstairs to Owen's room.  She loves visiting his room.  She talks about him openly, remembering Owen stories, and it's amazing to me, that at her young age, she remembers him, and talks about him in such an innocent way.  I watched and listened to Nat talk with her about his brother, the uncle she will probably not remember in the years ahead.  And, Nat was awesome.  I am so thankful he can grab hold of this life in these moments, and truly get how dear his current relationships are, and welcome them into his life.

For now, we wait.  For eleven weeks, we've waited.  And, for a lifetime, we may never truly know what happened to Owen, except that he died at 20, and was working so hard at finding a balance in life.  Balance.  What a gift.  We may never feel it again.  I can't know.  I can only hope. 

I love you all for being here.  I can't imagine not having a place to put these feelings.  Counseling is great, but it's not here in these late hours.  You are.  Thank you.  Thank you, Tom Golden, for having this amazing place to write, and read, and grieve with others who know our pain.

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Lonnie on August 13, 2007, 12:20:21 AM
Linda: Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting! I have been wondering if you have heard anything more concerning Owen, and not wanting to bother you with asking questions. Wow-that is so looooonnnnnggg to wait for the autopsy report, and then it will probably just tell you WHAT he died from, and of course, not HOW he died. ??? I pray all the time that someone will come forward and tell you what they know. You write so wonderfully, and though I am very sad for the reason that you are here, I enjoy reading your posts.  You have a way of painting pictures with your words. Little Ruby sounds like a bright spot in all this. I'm so glad that she is there for you. And Nat is suffering terribly of course, but I know it does him good to talk about his brother and her uncle. Bless your heart on leaving messages with the Coroner's office and the detective. Not exactly like Court TV, huh? Sounds like red tape and more red tape. >:( I am just so sorry that the mystery lingers on, but let's believe that you will get some answers.  I am glad that you are resting on the days that you need to. It is still so early in your grief.  Even just resting helps a lot with the fatigue of grief, since none of us seem to be getting much sleep these days.  :( I also was glad that you had coffee with the friends from the movie theater. You must have a wonderful way with young people, as I can tell they all gravitate towards you. Please post and let us all know what you find out. And take care of your sweet self, and know that there are so many people here who care. Big Hugs-Lonnie
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: sandy2 on August 19, 2007, 11:38:44 AM
LINDA,first of all i dont have a way with words as you do but, hold on to that sliver of hope !i konw its so hard to keep trying to be so strong when our body is so weak, try to get some rest. know what ya mean about your job , i had been a club manager at a moose lodge for 24 years. i quit my job the second i received my phone call, i knew in my heart i couldnt never walk thru those doors again. believe it hurts real bad finacially, but it wouldve hurt worse to go back . i hope for your sake & your family you do fine some peace soon. what a terrible journey we all had to go too !!!! im so glad you can feel owen & know hes there, hold on tight to that . lov & a great biiiigggg HUG , SANDY SHANES MOM
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: AllysonD on August 20, 2007, 03:18:16 PM
I'm still reading Linda. Hold on. It will get easier with time. And one day you may have to resolve that you may not get all the answers you seek. My prayers are with you......
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on August 20, 2007, 11:30:10 PM
Hey all,

I have set up a new blog at: http://mysteryoriley.wordpress.com

When I can't come here, because I get so overwhelmed with our stories, I now write on this blog.  Yes, it helps.  Part of blogging, if you're familiar with it, is that every time you reply, our community gets larger, faster.  The point is, that our family wants to be a resource to families who are dealing with ADULT missing persons...who, as you know, are not a priority for most law enforcement agencies.  Our family is a case in point.  Owen did not deserve the disinterest of our local police department. 

And, he's gone, and we can't get him back, and they could have helped prevent his loss.  You will know, in time, what all transpired.  I can't tell you everything now, because they SAY that the investigation is still ongoing.  I don't believe much of what they say now, so I'm telling stories of our lives together on the blog.

There a few more hopeful pieces to the police investigation, but we have little belief in their efforts.  Duh...****ing duh, given our experience.

Stay with us, if you can.  If not, we get it.

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Lonnie on August 21, 2007, 03:34:36 AM
Linda: Thank you for keeping us updated. Owen's story has captured my heart, and I pray that you will get the answers you need. Apparently, you do know some things that you have been unable to share with us, and I am glad that you have a little more information anyway. Please continue to post about the things that you can share. I will also be reading your blog, as I love the way you express yourself. Stay with it, and never give up, as you have a right to know the facts. I think of you often and your handsome Owen, and pray for more revelation as to what really happened. Many hugs-Lonnie
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: MelissaCharliesMom on August 21, 2007, 10:18:47 AM
Everything you have said, everything you write is so personal and yet feelings that are shared by so very many of us.We know how Charlie died, an auto accident caused closed head trauma that killed our 10 year old son instantly. A life so full of love, smiles, promise for the future was taken instantly...10 years of love and time and joy gone from this earth in an instant.
What we dont know is exactly how the accident occured though we know the man responsible admittted at the scene to arguing with his wife and not paying attention. His story has changed 20 times since that day and his only punishment was a $250 fine and a 3 month suspension of his license.
I ask why all the time. I wonder what if? I should have known, should have done something, should have kept him home safe. The reality for me is there is no answer in this world that would suffice. Nothing anyone can say, no magic words to give me any peace in the fact that my son at 10 years old was killed at the hands of some careless stranger. Yet even though I know that nothing would ease my mind, nothing would bring peace I continue to search, hoping beyond hope that somehow an answer will be given that will finally give ease my pain.
I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious Owen. Not knowing is the hardest thing imaginable and our circumstances differ greatly so I can only imagine and dont pretend to understand.
Know I am sending strength and peace and hoping for some truth and justice for you and your son.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on August 23, 2007, 11:56:33 PM
Dear Melissa,

I am so very sorry for your loss of Charlie.  Ten years old is...well, such an unimaginable time to say goodbye.  Owen had twice that amount of time here with us, and I can't know if that makes it easier.  Certainly, not twice as hard, as we love our children ultimately, each and every day.

Thank you for your kind words.  No, knowing the answers won't make it easier to grieve, just easier to comprehend those tangible things such as HOW?  Never, never, never, why.

Answers are what we seek.  But, answers won't bring him back.  We just have to love our son in his new space in time, and in our memories of him. 

Thanks for your reply.  I know how hard it is to write, when all we want to do is join our children in their new world, all the while feeling our need to stay here and make a difference.

Owen's mom

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: AllysonD on August 26, 2007, 02:17:20 PM
I'm here Owen's Mom. Your story is captivating and heartbreaking. I'm still reading and wishing you peace and the answers you so desire.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on August 29, 2007, 09:19:38 PM
Hello, my webhealing friends,

I hope you know how important it is to have this space to write the things I can't write in my more public posts.  I consider this site a "cone of safety" so to speak.  This is where I know people who have same/similar thoughts and feelings come to gather (and come together), and I trust that what I say here stays here.  Sort of like Las Vegas, but not really.   And, since I work in the technology world, I know that anything I say here is open to the scutiny of the greater cyberworld, at any point in time.

13 weeks, and counting.  No coroner's report, no police report, no answers. 

We have reconnected with many of Owen's friends through other sites/blogs, and while that is comforting in so many ways, it is also another reminder, that they are still physically with their families, and Owen is with us in spirit.  Which brings me to the point of this post.

I think Owen always walked on the fence between this world and the next - always trying to find balance on that slim beam between here and there.  I don't think he feared death.  I think he even challenged life, and looked it straight in the eye, and said, "What?  Huh? What are you gonna do about it?"  I don't think he asked for an early end, but I know he played with fire.  He was in awe of fire, and we have plenty of July 4th memories to prove it.

Owen's bedrooms upstairs (one was for sleeping, the other for relaxing), are a study in his search for the answers to those unknowable truths that are such a part of a young man's life.  His collections: videos, music (CDs and LPs), miniature animals, string (yes, string), bracelets, comic books, safety pins (of various colors), pens (of various colors), movie posters (he worked in movie theaters), books....ah, the books, and his journals, are all evidence that he was searching the universe for those truths.

We hope he found his truth, and is living the ultimate truth in his afterlife.  We see his messages in our everyday lives, and question our own sense of reality and fantasy.  He didn't actually care whether one of his answers was based in reality or fantasy...it just was.

Thank you, still, for sticking with us.  You may not believe in the same things we do, and that's just what Owen would expect.  Ultimately, he expected us all, all of humankind, to ask better questions.  He did.

Owen's mom 

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Lonnie on August 30, 2007, 03:17:43 AM
Linda: I'm having another sleepless night, even though I'm exhausted to the max. I was with my mom all day today. I'm her caregiver, since my dad died about 2 years ago. She is in bad shape, still trying to live independently by her own wishes. Today, as so many other days, she went low (an insulin dependent diabetic), and I sprung into action to once again save her life. It took 2 1/2 glasses of OJ, and 2 honey buns to bring her back around. (Glucose tablets and gel don't even phase her.) That is why my nervous system is so whacked. I think all my nerves are exposed. Sometimes I think I lost my life when my dad lost his. It is so very difficult, and yet I have become so close to her. This is a gift, as we have always had our differences. But when you care for someone day in and day out, you will always grow to love them more.  But I am learning that I can't give her immortality. At first I thought it was up to me to keep her alive, but only God can do that. I lost 2 dads very close together in time-my bio dad and then not longer after, my stepfather (who raised me from age 7.) My mother has so many health problems, and is unsteady on her feet, but refuses to use her walker. I don't think she realizes that one bad fall would change her life (and mine) forever. And the beat goes on...
At any rate, I just wanted you to know how much I am enjoying your blog!  And also going to your MySpace was so enjoyable. We are close to the same age, and all of the music from the past brought back so many memories-Neil Young, The Beatles, etc.  And how fascinating that Owen loved a lot of that music as well. He was a very handsome, interesting young man, and the dreadlocks were totally cool!  LOL! He was such a deep thinker. It must have been such a joy to have discussions with him. He truly was a "Mystery Man". I am totally captivated by his story. Yes, we may be different to some extent, but not all that much. We are all searching for truth and answers, and we can learn so much from each other. You write so well-another thing that I am drawn to. All my life I have wanted to write, and when I can no longer handle all that is happening in my world, I turn to pen and paper to speak the language of my heart. I am so very blessed to have met you. I look forward to reading your daily thoughts, as I am sure others do also.  Keep us posted when you can.  Many thoughts of you my friend, Lonnie
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on September 19, 2007, 07:55:47 PM
Hey everyone!!!  Guess what!  We still don't know anything!!!

The good news: I talked with the coroner's detective assigned to Owen's autopsy report (I know, most people don't want to actually read these things), and she said the pathologist will have the report completed by sometime next week.  While that was certainly encouraging in some ways, it was also disturbing to find out the reason for the last 4 weeks' delay, was that our oh-so-efficient police department, had failed to provide their photos, from the day Owen's body was found, which was two days before the pathologist was able to take her own photos.  No, the doctors contracted with the coroner's office don't work weekends in our county.  So, the report is likely to hold little hope of accurate information for many reasons - too unimaginable to write here or anywhere at this still early stage.  I've done a lot of research in the last few weeks...no one wants to know all the clinical aspects of what I've discovered.

Thank you to those of you who have been following along with our story on http://mysteryoriley.wordpress.com.  Like I said in an earlier post here, I can't talk about much of the details surrounding the investigation in that blog, due to it being publicly accessible.  But, it does include parts of our lives before and after Owen's death, that just in the writing of them, are healing.

Thank you Lonnie, for your continually encouraging comments, and for laughing with us about the old days, and remembering when life was much sweeter.  I'm so glad to have found your friendship through this board, and pray for your strength in these days of taking care of your mom...and the house flooding incident.

Owen's mom

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: MelissaCharliesMom on September 20, 2007, 05:42:16 PM
Please know I am sitting here hoping against all hope that you will be provided with some of the answers that you so desperately seek. It is amazing the ways in which our "Justice" and "Law Enforcement" systems work is it not???I too have been let down, disgusted and disappointed with anything even remotely tied into the law enforcement/ court system.
I havent posted much as of late, but I do keep up with your beloved Owens story. Please know I am thinking of you. Sending strength and peace.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on September 22, 2007, 12:30:26 PM
Just stopping by to say hi to everyone, and let you know I'm thinking of all of you, and knowing that if you're further down this path than us, you will continue to be a source of hope.  The openness with which I was able to write here for so long is gone now.  A couple of posts ago, I said I considered this site a "cone of safety" even though I knew at some point in time it would all be open to the scrutiny of anyone looking on the internet.  That time has come.  My posts here on webhealing are all easily found on the internet, and that cone of safety has been lifted, erased.  I knew the day would come.  Thank goodness I had those early weeks with you all, when you were all so kind and loving in your replies.   

Thank you for hanging out with me in the darkest days.  They still hit me unexpectedly, and I'm never prepared, just like that Saturday.  My posts here will now be nothing more than the stuff that I write elsewhere, but hopefully I can still read your messages and know we're all in this together. 

Thanks, Tom Golden, for the respite.  Maybe the administrators and moderators could have a discussion about setting up "privacy" settings, or "members only" status, so that only those you want to see your posts, can.  I know this might feel like it defeats the purpose of having an open forum, and it would cost something to set that up, but it's a thought...
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: sandy2 on September 23, 2007, 06:27:40 AM
i have the same feelings about being so open & i do feel your pain , but i also know there will be a day certain people are going to use it agaist , too bad we cant share pain without knowing someone is going to turn it around . just know im thinking about you & really feel your thoughts . itll happen to me too. LOV & A GREAT BIG HUG SHANES MOM
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: luckyladyb on September 23, 2007, 08:24:59 AM
This made me sad. How did this happen?  Are we all in danger of this happening to us?  I also post feelings I thought I was sharing only with my dear new grieving friends.
Anyway,  I have a personal email and you're more than welcome to use it.  You need a place that's safe and you need to express yourself to folks who understand and care.  I'm here .......
Jason's Mom, Bonnie
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: LaVonne on September 23, 2007, 05:11:04 PM
I am so sorry for the way your son case was handled. The authorities not wanting to file a report. Everything is so wrong and the mystery of how he died is just not right. I am holding you and your husband close to my heart and sending my love with lots of hugs. I do hope the answers come and that you get some closure on how this happened. Please keep us updated and know I care. LaVonne
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on September 29, 2007, 03:06:27 PM
Hey webhealers,

The final coroner's report on Owen came out yesterday.  The cause of his death is listed as "undetermined" and "probable drowning".  The details are insiginificant in terms of finding out how he died, but we knew that would be the case.  From what?  We held out hope until yesterday, that there would be a more definitive answer.  Reading the report was not that hard.  But, the aftermath is similar to losing him all over again. 

Lonnie posted a very sweet comment on my blog that really hit home.  She talked about seeing her dad's death certificate for the first time, and what that felt like. 

There are still a few things we have to deal with in the real-world part of losing Owen, like the final report from the police department.  I'm sure reading it, will leave us feeling much like yesterday and today - empty.

We're making every effort to focus on Owen's life and not on his death.  Does this work for anyone with all these unanswered questions?  When the house is quiet, I can still hear his voice.  I hope I always can.

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: quint906 on September 29, 2007, 03:16:09 PM

I can understand what you feel after getting the reports.  I also ordered the coroners report and the police report.  I was looking for answers to help me understand "how this could happen".

I try to focus on the "now" and not the "whys".

I hope to hear Cory's voice until the end of my time.  I've just started to bring out the videos just to keep him fresh in my mind.  Sometimes it's painful but sometimes something will make me laugh.  Especially when I go back in time and recall that day.

I pray someday, you have your answers.  Like in my case, sometimes things happen and no matter how much we want to know, the answers might not be there.

Owen is with all our children and like I've said before, I feel they all brought us together so that we can support eachother.

You and Owen will always be in my thoughts and prayers.

Jo (Cory's Mom)
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on November 04, 2007, 08:47:12 PM
Hey everyone,

Halloween was Owen's favorite holiday.  Our family made an honest effort to celebrate and make something fun out of it.  Nat, Anna, and Ruby all dressed up and went trick-or-treating.  Dave and I met them at Michael's (Owen's and Nat's father), and took pictures and gave them their first treats.  When Nat and I hugged before they took off to meet up with friends, we both fell apart.  Owen should have been there with them.  That's all we could think.   Dave and I went to the River then, and threw flowers in - 12 orange blossoms and one purple one, for Owen's favorite number, 13.  We stood on the River Walk for a while in the evening light, watched and listened to all the kids, and came home. 
I see from other people's posts that the holidays are here, and we seem to be fairly miserable together.  Holidays without our kids.  How messed up is that?  We're working out our "new" plans for how to spend them this year.  We did okay with Halloween, so I'm hopeful we can muster up enough courage for the rest of them.  Really, I'd rather just lay in bed for the next year or so, maybe 12.  That's not going to happen, so we march on, with each step seeming more painful than the last.  As each layer of grief comes off, it seems to expose new, raw skin, much too tender to deal with regular old daily life.

I had another unpleasant conversation with the detective the morning of Halloween.  It took me calling the Chief's office the day before to get him to respond to my five voicemails in the weeks since the coroner's report came out.  More on that later.  What I'd like to say isn't fit for polite company, so I'll stop here.

I've met some marvelous people through our loss of Owen.  Talk about weird, but I'm so thankful.  Thank you all for being here in this amazing space called webhealing.  I'm thinking of you all as we move toward the holidays and winter.

Owen's mom

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: sandy2 on November 05, 2007, 06:53:27 AM
LINDA,im so glad to hear from you again.missed you . wow your holloween sounds like mine, that was SHANES,favorite holiday too. yes still at 29 he had to dress up totally awsome & take his kids out trick or treating . i had my moments & went on as we are supposed to do . and like you i guess well get thru the holidays & winter i guess. somehow we go , but what a lonly journey uh :'( :'(SHANEalways played santa clause at the moose christmas party too , so its really a struggle. i would love to just curl up in bed also , but really how long would we be there  :-\.i do have his 9 yr old son hes such a joy & such his father .weve had 4 pretrail hearing not sure how long hell be here , were certainly hoping & praying forever, but WHO knows .thats just another bridge well cross when we get there . the other 2 children live right her we had all the time but their mother had a man the day of the acc. , now since aug., has denied us visitation they have a new daddy , new 140.00 house, and of course shes sporting a hugh diamond . all on what my son worked so hard for !!!!! evil people sure come out of the world in our grieving process uh ! i hope you get some answers on your wonderful OWEN SOON  >:(sure have thought of YOU & OWEN ALOT. email me if you would like. hugs thoughts strenth god only knows we need lots of that. i have to do this for AUSTY &YOU FOR YOUR OTHER CHILDREN SO LETS BE STRONG TOGETHER . :( ??? :-*LOV SANDY SHANES MOM . OWEN OWEN OWEN
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Dawson on November 21, 2007, 09:40:27 AM
Hi Owensmom. I read you first post. The one of Owen missing and being found. I am  so sorry for your loss. If you were to read my first post of my daughter being killed, you will find that we are both hurt beyond understanding of all people except those on this forum. I will pray for you and all of Owen's family and friends. I picture Owen in the group of youngsters in Heaven, next to my girl, singing songs to Jesus. I believe He reserves the close up seating for our babies. I will keep you and Owen in my thoughts. God bless you.
Dawson Moyers - Macy's Daddy
Spring, Texas
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on December 31, 2007, 01:37:10 AM
Hey everyone,

Here I am again, hoping to find something tangible that can explain how miserable I am, but knowing you all know, and can't possibly make me understand.  We just know.  Our kids have gone on, and we have not.  Well, quite frankly, that just sucks.

If you read my blog (http://mysteryoriley.com), you know where I've been.  And, if you haven't, you know anyway.  You communicate here instead, and that's wonderful.  For here, on webhealing, all of us find comfort.  I also find comfort in an additional community, and it's okay.  I come here on occasion, because this is a community specifically dedicated to those of us who have lost loved ones.  The greater blogosphere is not this place.  I meet people there, often, by accident.  It works, in its own way.

I miss the old days (how old can they be, given Owen only died a mere 7 or so months ago?), and it seems like a lifetime.  Oh, that's right, for some people, 7 months is a lifetime.  I can't imagine what it's like to lose a baby, an infant of 7 months, more or less.  I can only talk about what it's like to lose a son of 20 years and 50 weeks, because that's how old Owen was when he left us.  WAAAAHHHHHH.

Those sounds that visit me when I'm in my car alone, those primal screams...do you know them?  I read about them back in the 70s, but in a very different context.  Now, I know them as a part of my everyday life.  I miss Owen in a verbal way, in a screaming way, in an I-want-to-crawl-out-of-my-skin way.  And, it hurts like burning in hell.  Or, at least, that's my only way to explain it.  How about you?  What do you feel?

It may seem odd that I look forward to 2008, yet I do.  I look forward to finding answers, to finding peace.  I hope you find peace, too. 

I know our children are all holding hands in heaven.  Dancing, even.  Picking flowers and singing songs.  For this is the vision I hold.  I hold this vision like it is oxygen.  Without it, I am lost.  Find me, babies.  Find me, and bring me into the fold, like I'm a lost lamb.  For, surely, a lost parent is a lost lamb looking for peace.

Happy New Year, webhealers.  2008 has to be better, yes?

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: DantesDad on December 31, 2007, 07:56:45 AM
You are right owensmom, and so not alone.  My Dante passed away 8 1/2 months ago - some days it feels like a lifetime ago, some days it feels like yesterday.

I too have the same vision - the same "oxygen" as you.  The only thing that keeps me going is the thought of seeing Dante again.  I have to believe it.  I have no other choice.

Peace to you - and us all - in 2008.

Marty - Dante's Dad
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Karen Paul on December 31, 2007, 08:19:34 AM
Linda - there is a family in our area whose 21 yr old son went missing about a week ago and their heartbreaking story has brought you and your sweet Owen to mind.. I do pray they have a good outcome... but think of you so often and the unanswered questions that surround your sweet son's death..

We are at the beginning of our 5th year without my nephew Chris and even as I write that I cannot believe it is true.. how could he possibly have been gone for so long and how could we all have possibly made it through all those days and nights since he left us??? !! Yet the truth is there - he was almost 17 when he died, killed by a hit and run driver while riding his bike home to his mom's house - and now he would be / should be 21 yrs old, a junior in college -

While I welcome the New Year for it's possibilities and hope - it also puts me one year farther away from Christopher (or one yr closer depending on point of view I guess) - but farther from the last time I heard his laugh or saw him smile or hugged him - seems like another life time some times - of course I'm just an aunt, not a parent - so it is very different I'm sure - I remember his mom Amy saying just a week after his death that it was the longest she had ever gone without talking to him - I can't imagine how hard that has been as years go by.. the missing, the longing.. it is physical, mental and spiritual...

I do hope you will find that peace ... I know the journey is not a linear one, but filled with hills and valleys.. but if we all keep moving forward... perhaps we will find some peace... and our loves will be closer to us than every before..

hugs, Karen
Chris' aunt
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on January 01, 2008, 11:49:04 PM
Dear Karen Paul and Dante's Dad...and any others reading here:

Thank you for your kind thoughts.  Today is the first day of 2008.  And, today is nothing more than Tuesday

Today's post at http://mysteryoriley.com is one I want to take into the New Year.  I want to send this message out to everyone who has lost a child, a brother, a sister, a niece, a nephew, a grandson, a granddaughter, a parent, a grandparent...a friend.  Our losses are not measured by their ascendency, or their degrees of separation.  They are measured by our intimacy with the one.  The one who has gone before us.

It's time for a cultural revolution.  The time has actually passed.  But, here we are.  Read on.  Cry when you cry.  Shake, quake, feel sick to your stomach, and allow concentration to go where it goes when our babies cross over before us.  Follow your memories in your dreams.  Follow in your conscious thoughts, as time and obligations allow.  But, go, when they call you.  Owen calls me often.

Happy New Year, and Happy Tuesday,
Owen's and Nat's Mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Debh on January 02, 2008, 05:06:25 AM
"Our losses are not measured by their ascendency, or their degrees of separation.  They are measured by our intimacy with the one. "

So true.

thinking of you and Owen

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on January 07, 2008, 10:30:46 PM
Dear Karen Paul,

You wrote recently that a local family had lost track of their 21-year-old son.  It's less than two weeks later.  What do they know?  Have they found him?

These kids stay on my mind, and I grieve along with their parents.  The missing days are something no one can imagine.  Yes, I'm going to say it...as horrible as the death of a child is for us, a missing child is both more terrible and more hopeful. 

I hope and pray the outcome for your local family was good, and that the young man has returned safely to his family's arms.  I hope and pray that the missing days will not be repeated.  I hope and pray that everyone learned how much they love each other.

If my hopes and prayers have been answered with a great big, "NO, that's not how it turned out" then I hope and pray that the family is managing their way through each 24-hour day with a modicum of understanding...and that they know what happened to their beloved son. 

Please let me know.  I keep thinking about him, this nameless young man, in this nameless town.

I hope my message finds you having a Happy New Year, and that you are moving along your lifeline with landmarks of wondrous surprises and love.

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Karen Paul on January 08, 2008, 06:18:48 AM
Linda - I wish I had better news but this young man has not been found yet - his name is Joshua "Josh" Szostak, he is 21 yrs old - he was caught on a surveillance tape leaving a local restaurant the evening he disappeared, but has not been seen since and the police seem to have exhausted most of the initial leads they received - the family has held a vigil (New Years eve) and has offered a reward for information - they have also been in contact with another local family who has been missing their daughter for 10 yrs with no answers - I cannot imagine that..

Thank you for your concern - I will certainly keep you posted on the case - and I'm praying for a good conclusion - but it sure sounds like something must have happened to him..

luv and hugs, Karen
Chris' aunt
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Brenda Taylors Mom on January 10, 2008, 01:15:36 AM
(((((((((Linda Linda Linda))))))))) Nothing here but a huge hug and loving you sweetheart, I am sooo sorry omg soooo sorry
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on January 11, 2008, 02:29:42 AM
Dear Karen Paul,

As horrifying as it was the day the coroner's deputy and the local detective showed up at my doorstep to tell me Owen's body was found in the river, I cannot imagine the next deepest nightmare - that of not knowing if he was alive or dead. 

For Josh's family, I will pray in the only way I know how.  I will play music that might have meant something to a 21-year-old man in somewhere America, and light candles for his family - and continue to pray for his safe return to their home.  I believe in miracles, for we had one.  Someone found Owen's body in the Petaluma River, and that doesn't happen often.

If there is any way I can help, please feel free to give my profile information to Josh's family.  I have little in the way of tangible rescue assistance in a town of an undisclosed location, but I can share my experience, and my hope.  We did not give up hope of finding Owen, even after I could no longer feel his presence.  There was that glimmer...

The missing...there are so few avenues for help with finding young adults.  Law enforcement rarely takes their disappearances seriously, and this is a devastating flaw in our local agencies.  We expect more.  We shouldn't have to beg for help, yet we do, and we find the agencies lacking.  No one can imagine the desperation of knowing your kid is out there somewhere, and gaining no access to the advanced technology of our times.  I was fortunate to have enough money to rent a plane and pilot to help me survey the locations we thought might render some evidence of Owen's disappearance.  All to no avail, but there was a time when we feel that flight might have revealed something that could help us find Owen.  I'm sure Josh's family is feeling that same desperation, and, given Josh's age and gender, they are probably finding little help.

Please let me know if you find out anything.  I will keep Josh and his family in my prayers - no matter the outcome.

Owen's and Nat's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on January 11, 2008, 02:33:57 AM

Thank you for your thoughts.  I know you know.  I wish I could help ease your pain.  I can only offer you my thoughts and prayers for better days ahead - for days when your memories of your sweet son in your presence, are more prevalent than the memories of his loss.  He has such a sweet face, and I'm sure he brought you joy in ways only you can know.

Owen's and Nat's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on February 03, 2008, 08:41:01 PM
Regarding the post by "brl" and the many replies:

We've had enough loss.  I hope the main board doesn't lose Lonnie as a moderator.  I think her heart was in the right place in sending brl to the child-loss board, as she thought we were people who could point this woman in a direction that might fit her needs.  I'm guessing that she never imagined people would react with such vehemence.  I thought some of the comments were, indeed, harsh.  For some reason, there seems to be an overall tone on that trail, that there is a "value" placed on the many different kinds of loss.  The only person who can do that, is the person experiencing the loss - of any kind.

I know losing Owen is the hardest thing I've ever experienced, but I hope it doesn't rob me of my ability to recognize and honor other types of loss, and to offer kindly my last bit of energy to another person in pain, no matter what type.  I have learned a lot through our family's many deaths - so many things I would rather not know.  I hope I have learned to listen, respond thoughtfully, and if I have any resources I think might be of help, then I hope I have the energy to send them along.  Some people responding to brl did just that, and others did the same but seemed to think it necessary to make sure she knew she was excluded here.  There seemed to be a lot of "my loss is worse than your loss" comments.  While I would never argue, being a mother who lost her son, I don't know that those sentiments were of any help to this woman who came here looking for help.     

Along with losing Owen, I lost parts of my living family because of the ways we have all changed through our grief.  When I talk about that here, I don't see the kinds of exchanges I saw on that other post.  I see people responding with respect. 

I hope Tom continues to find a way through the miscommunications, misinterpretations, and acute sensitivities of the people who responded on that post.  He is, after all, a therapist. 

Maybe Lonnie's resignation will turn out to be the best thing for her.  However, after two years as a moderator, I'm sure she will grieve the loss of her work here.  Another kind of pain.  I want her to know how much her words have meant to me.  She sometimes kept me connected, when I was on the verge of retreating completely from the world.  If she goes, I will miss her terribly, and it will add yet another layer of losing Owen.

Sometimes, quiet reflection, before responding to posts is useful.  I know there are times when I write a reply, and have to reread it several times, before posting it.  Why?  Because my first impulse is sometimes TOO severe, and a bit of editing can help me more clearly and thoughtfully respond.  Maybe it's worth a try, yes?
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Landons Mom Shelly on February 03, 2008, 10:32:51 PM
Linda . . . I couldn't have said it better myself, thank you.

Landon's Mom forever,

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on February 05, 2008, 01:08:30 AM
And, so, here were are still, with posts about this issue, started under other post names, titled something/anything other than that original post from the woman, "brl", who simply thought we were thinking, feeling people who understood...loss.

Tom, pony up.  I am forever grateful that you started this venue for those of us with unbelievable grief.  But, there is a part of me, that part of me that recognizes who I was before our family lost Owen, that screams out, "hold us here, all suffering loss!"  And, I find myself...wanting.  And, I plead for your engagement in a way that can assuage some of the angst voiced in anger and bitterness.  Of all the people who have posted in the months I have visited this site, Tom, you have been the most silent.  Why is that?  Are you, perhaps, too distant from this thing you started, but have no time to monitor?

Perhaps, those of you who want to have a territorial boundary around child loss, as something "more than" can't allow emotional death into your territory.  For you, I am sorry.  And, here's why.

I lost a friendship in 2003, a friend who meant the world to me for 38 years.  She did not die a physical death, nor did I.  I did, however, lose her in an emotional death.  I could not then, nor can I now, describe the pain her loss caused me. 

Her husband continually expressed his abhorrence of my stature (at the time, I was 5'7" tall, and weighed around 215 pounds).  This did not fit his image of friends he thought his wife should engage, as physical beauty meant something different to him, than friendship did, for my friend and me.  He forgot that she and I had spent the previous 38 years sharing life (long before they met).  When our friendship ended (Owen was still alive, and thought this loss was devastating - he watched his mother (me) lose a friendship that was very close to sisterhood), our entire family was devastated.  Cheryl was a part of our family.  And, we lost her due to a lack of "acceptance" on the part of her husband.

As I read through these recent posts (not here, but elsewhere on webhealing, all pertaining to "brl" and her quest for help), I am saddened by what I perceive as a group of people with EXTREME loss, trying (or not even aware) of "cornering the market" on pain. 

Parents of child loss do not hold the reigns of loss.  WE only hold the reigns of child loss.  It's different.  It's excruciating.  It's unbelievably hard.  AND, there's a whole world out there, that suffers loss in different manifestations. 

Part of my training, a large part of my career, is teaching people about difference.  Something I say over and over is this: You cannot imagine what your friends, family, and coworkers experience in this life.  If you think you can place a value on it, you are limiting your ability to engage in the remainder of YOUR life.  Bitterness is unlikely to ever serve you or those you love. 

When I first read (many months ago) of your difficulties with many phrases that are a part of our American vernacular, out of "common usage" I almost left this site in search of a more "accepting" venue for my grief.  How can I stop using phrases like, "I'm drowning in sorrow"?  Because my son was found dead in a river?  NO.  I AM DROWNING IN SORROW.  But, feeling that, does not mean that I can't acknowledge that my son's body was found in a river, lost forever, except for my exceptional memories of his life.  Words can hurt, and I feel many words here in these recent days, have hurt more than necessary.  I feel some of the words I've read have come from a place of bitterness and anger, that couldn't possibly help anyone.

I may or may not check in here again.  Curiosity killed the cat, though (and if your child was killed by a cat, I hope you can forgive me, but my everyday language uses this phrase as a way to express a certain sentiment), so I may come back, just to see how everyone is getting along...or not. 

Yes, I'm mad right now.  I'm mad that a place I thought of as "safe" is now a place where people choose to quantify the loss of a loved one.  I'm open to befriending someone who has the chance of regaining a lost relationship.  Why aren't you?  We can't get our kids back, but brl has a chance.  Why can't we honor her hope with love and admiration for her loss, and her search for resources to recover her relationships?  Why would anyone want to make her feel she's an outsider?

Loss is loss.  It hurts.  I hurt.  You hurt.  All of you who have responded to our story, hurt.  brl hurts.  Offer her something/anything.  Offer her your thoughts, feelings, prayers.  She has a chance to build relationships with her stepchildren (or former stepchildren, as the case may be).  It seems that some of you think her short time with them is in some way measurable and comparable.  THERE IS NO COMPARISON.  STOP TRYING TO MAKE THIS ABOUT COMPARISONS.  This woman, brl, simply...hurts.  Have you forgotten the hopes you had for your children before they died? 

Pissed off, AND, hoping we all see the light,
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: MelissaCharliesMom on February 05, 2008, 11:39:35 AM
With all due respect, I cannot fathom how anyone can compare an emotional loss with the actual physical loss of a child. I would surely give anything to know my son was in some far away place, LIVING a happy, healthy, succesful life rather then know what it is that I know...that he is gone, buried in the ground, never again to walk this earth with me.
I experienced the emotional loss of a 15+ year friendship less then a week after Charlie died. She was my best friend. My husband and I took her in when she had no place to go, we paid her bills, bought her childs carseat when she found out she was pregnant, helped raise her son phsyically, emotionally and financially for the first year of his life. We helped her get back on her feet, get a place of her own. We took her on vacation with us and helped her in any way we possibly could. She couldnt handle my grief and walked out of my life. So I know emotional loss.
A year after losing Charlie I watched my previously healthy 66 year old Grandmother who was an integral part of my life die a slow, painful death from a very agressive form of brain cancer. I helped care for her, bathed her and watched her suffer when she lost her ability to speak, walk and control her bodily functions...that loss as horrendous as it was doesnt even compare to the loss of my son. Nothing will!!!!
We are all entitled to our own opinions and I respect yours, however while I think some of the comments made were probably a bit harsh I think they were all truthful and honest. Societies concern with being politically correct and telling people what they want to hear has gotten out of control and it is one of the reasons those of us who are hurting and grieving dont always reach out when we need to. The cliches fly, "It will get better, time will heal, life will go on, you need to get over it." All societies way of trying to make something ok...it will never be ok again.
I am sorry, but we will have to agree to disagree on this subject. There is NO loss greater then that of a child.
Sending strength and peace.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Karen Paul on February 05, 2008, 12:04:42 PM
Linda - here is a link to a YouTube video about the missing young man - he is missing from Albany, NY

hugs, Karen
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Karen Paul on February 05, 2008, 12:05:18 PM
AK = forgot the link  :P


Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Tom on February 05, 2008, 12:27:31 PM
Tom, pony up.  I am forever grateful that you started this venue for those of us with unbelievable grief.  But, there is a part of me, that part of me that recognizes who I was before our family lost Owen, that screams out, "hold us here, all suffering loss!"  And, I find myself...wanting.  And, I plead for your engagement in a way that can assuage some of the angst voiced in anger and bitterness.  Of all the people who have posted in the months I have visited this site, Tom, you have been the most silent.  Why is that?  Are you, perhaps, too distant from this thing you started, but have no time to monitor?

Linda - A number of years ago I turned over the primary administration of these boards to moderators.  If the mods have troubles they know they can contact me to step in and help out if needed.  Having Dena and Lonnie has facilitated smooth sailing for these boards for some time.  We have had some troubles recently but I think that things will work themselves out in time.  Everyone is more vulnerable due to their grief and it is hard enough already.  If you have some specific suggestions for actions you think might be helpful I would be interested in hearing from you.

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on February 06, 2008, 12:21:18 AM
Dear Melissa,

I'm afraid you missed my point.  My point was, and is...I cannot possibly COMPARE my loss of Owen with anyone else's loss.  I don't want to.  I want only this: to bring anyone suffering loss OF ANY KIND into the fold of the suffering, and offer hope.  Can we not, as a group of suffering parents, DO THAT???

I know some of us get "stuck" in our grief, and I am at this early stage, too raw to be rational at times.  MY POINT, was to offer some hope for reconciliation to this woman who sought us out. 

I'm asking only this, AGAIN: quit comparing your unbelievable loss, with someone who still has a modicum of hope.  Wouldn't you want that for yourself, your family...your child?

It seems so simple to me.  I want only to offer my loss, as a lesson, to others who still have a chance.

I send you hope, my search for beauty, and my prayers,
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on February 06, 2008, 12:34:54 AM
Dear Karen Paul,

Thank you for the link.  As I watched it, I dissolved into those dark days when Owen was missing, and I remembered that tiny light in those nights, that called out to me, "I'm okay now.  If I can find a way, I'll let you know whether to keep looking, or stop, because I'm gone."  Owen was gone, and as hard as it is to type these words, I'm grateful we found his body.  We know he's gone from this life.  Josh's family and friends are living in the void.  There is no greater agony.  And, WITH that knowledge, it does not limit my wish to help others.

Thank you for continuing to communicate with me, about that which is unthinkable.  If you can, please put me in contact with Josh's family.  I have so little to offer, but I know the agony.  Sometimes, that's a part of the healing.

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on February 06, 2008, 12:37:25 AM
Dear Tom,

Thank you for writing.  Yes, I do have suggestions.  They are not, however, appropriate for posting on the Internet.

You have access to my profile.  Please email me, if you are interested.

Kindly, thoughtfully, thinking of all of us here at webhealing,
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on February 13, 2008, 02:42:16 AM
Dear Tom,

I find it interesting, and distressing, that you have not contacted me, considering my last post offered suggestions.  I work in the world of "digital content" and though it does not help in my family's grief, I do have a modicum of knowledge about online posting and boards.  Granted, my suggestions were offered "offline" because I thought continuing this discussion here in view of vulnerable parents would not benefit any of us.  I am one of those vulnerable parents, and would have liked a bit of interest on your part, but I have yet to see it. 

Perhaps, you're just "over it" and feel it's time to move on.  I get that.  I would like to incorporate that into my grief over losing my son.  It's not going to happen in short order, but it's a nice thought, yes?

Instead, I await your reply, these 6 days later, with not a word from you.  This is unacceptable, considering this is a site you began with the best of intentions. I would think you might want to find ways (other than just replacing Lonnie at your earliest convenience) of moving into the future, with the intention of resolving an issue that came up here.  It appears that's not the case. 

From what I've read, this is not the first time the issue of "emotional loss" or loss-other-than-death has arisen.  While I am cognizant that the purpose of this site is to offer a sounding board for people with the loss of a loved one through death, I'm concerned that there doesn't appear to be a thoughtful/feeling avenue for redirecting people who show up here with other types of loss.

My suggestions would have been to simply find other resources, or create some of our own to help people with loss due to life situations that did not include physical death.  I have several thoughts on the matter, and would have offered them to you (and the board at large) had you bothered to contact me.  Perhaps your schedule has just not allowed contact at this early date. 

Working through our mysterious loss of Owen has given us plenty of opportunity to investigate outside resources for answers.  Attorneys with schedules that were quite limited, have reached out to our family, with no requests for retainers or fee agreements.  They have responded in only a few days', sometimes just a few hours' time, knowing they would realize no monetary gain, nor any visible recognition of their efforts.  They did it, because they thought it was the right thing to do.

Something I learned a long time ago:  The difference between managers and leaders is: managers know how to do things right; leaders know how to do the right thing.

I'm asking you to do the right thing, and respond.  I am not the ultimate answer to the "brl" situation.  I'm strictly a concerned participant of webhealing.  This has been a place of healing for me, and I would hope it could continue and GROW, for the benefit of others suffering loss OF ANY KIND.  I understand you may not want that.  I would, however, have expected that you might have availed yourself of the opportunity to investigate options. 

If you are still interested in reading my suggestions, please do contact me.  Again, you know how to find my profile, and therefore my personal email address.  If you are not interested, please, at the very least, let me know, so I can find other venues to share my child-loss grieving with creators of boards for parents of a like-mind.  The child-loss parents I found here were gracious in the beginning.  It wasn't until "brl" showed up, that I found a form of prejudice that reminded me of pre-Civil Rights days.  Yes, you read that right.  Webhealing does not have the protection, nor the responsibility to something as far-reaching as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but it did purport to offer a place of comfort and "inclusion". 

I'm patient, to a point.  As I'm sure you're aware, grief does not often include "patience" as a symptom.

Just so we're clear, Lonnie, although she was quite helpful and supportive in our early days of grieving, is not my main motivation in writing this post to you.  My main purpose is a more universal quest.  My son would have expected nothing less from me.

Owen's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: MelissaCharliesMom on February 13, 2008, 05:07:07 PM
Im sorry I just cant stand idly by.....Owens Mom if you look at the main page of the board you will see that a group for those suffering from losses for reason other then death HAS been established. I just dont get it, when I searched for a support group online after Charlies death I didnt search for a support group for emotional loss. Instead I typed in loss of a child. Common sense (well at least my common sense) told me that going to a board where someone is discussing emotional loss is going to provide me very little comfort...I am not going to touch the Civil Rights comment. Sometimes, some things are just better left unsaid. Again I mean no disrespect, but it seems to me that logic would tell you a child loss board is no place to search for solace when your child or a child who's life you were involved in is still ALIVE and LIVING happpily, just as I certainly wouldnt seek out a board for divorce, emotional loss or parent loss. It REALLY IS that simple.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on February 13, 2008, 07:09:53 PM
Again, Melissa, I'm sorry to say, you missed my point.  I was quite upset that Tom did not respond, after asking for my suggestions.  And yes, I saw the additional section on the main board.  I'm done with this topic.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on March 03, 2008, 12:32:24 AM
I received a personal message from Melissa, Charlie's mom, and am uncertain of her intent, as it was a picture of Charlie, and nothing more.  I have responded to her, with what I hope will clear the air.  If not, then I have nothing more to offer.  I am wrung dry of trying to communicate about "inclusion". 

I hope all of you at webhealing are finding your way through the awful losses you are living.  We are doing our best, and every day is filled with more conflicting news about Owen's death.  Some of you have documentation about actual causes associated with your children's deaths - things like car accidents, illnesses, and falls.  We have nothing more than questions, and an autopsy report that tells us the forensic pathologist will never be able to tell us exactly what killed our son.  Educated guesses, and only that.  What we hear on the street, is a variety of stories and now, in these months later, what has become variations on a theme - mostly myths that serve the needs of the storytellers.

We grieve in many manifestations of death - accident, murder, "suspicious", and suicide.  While most of the stories we hear are of a particular accident, and a variety of murders, we may never know, so we envision all forms of grief, and live them every day.  To think that we are somehow limited in our understanding of death versus other forms of parent loss, is abominable to us.  I invite you into our shoes.  Our shoes are filled with unrelenting questions.  We live with a huge gaping hole in our hearts - not just the void left behind with Owen's absence, but the fact that we don't even know how he left this world. 

Don't try to imagine it.  You don't want to share this additional layer of grief.  Just like I don't want to limit my understanding of what it's like to have loved stepchildren, adopted children, or birth children who have chosen to abandon my love.  Owen never abandoned my love by his own choice.  I am grateful for that.

Love in our collective losses,
Owen's and Nat's mom
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: Debh on March 03, 2008, 04:57:18 AM
Linda I can only think if you got a email it was intended to communicate off the board and I would hope if I did this it would be kept off the board.

I am sorry you may never know the answers to Owens death. You are not alone, I believe my boys were intentionally pushed off the road that killed them, to me that is murder, nearly 12 years have passed and I accept today I will never know. 

"We live with a huge gaping hole in our hearts - not just the void left behind with Owen's absence, but the fact that we don't even know how he left this world." my guess everyone here or that has lost a child feels the same not knowing why our child left this world, I wonder each and every day and imagine it will be forever and part of my life now. Knowing so many answers will never come and I can say it was a relief when I stopped looking for answers I would never find, yet the sadness to why remains I just stopped searching but always wonder, I imagine most of us are the same no matter how our child has died. What I do believe today is all of our children had no choice on their deaths, even to suicide as many think suicide is a choice I think it is a medical problem that is unknown to all that is taking our child.

We are all in this together and not alone, I will forever feel sorry for each child that has died and all parents that have to live each day without and wondering why and can't fix it.

Keeping everyone in my thoughts and continue to hope for better days and some peace for us all. This is one heck of hard journey we live but together we do survive and find some healing and peace, hope this for you also and thinking of you and Owen.

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: MelissaCharliesMom on March 03, 2008, 11:48:16 AM
Owens Mom - Actually that e mail was mistakenly sent to you. I replied to another member here or was trying to and accidently sent it to you. The other board member was trying to help me set it up so Charlies photo appeared at the bottom of my posts and replys. It was really that simple. Im not quite sure what you thought my intentions were or why you felt the need to post about the photo, but that is not my concern. Just letting you know why you got that e mail. It was simply a mistake. Wishing you peace on your journey.
Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: owensmom on March 04, 2008, 02:25:48 AM
Dear Melissa,

Mistake or not, it is a beautiful photo of Charlie.  By the way, I don't believe in mistakes...

Title: Re: Owen, our beloved mystery man
Post by: MelissaCharliesMom on March 04, 2008, 12:50:13 PM
Thanks for the compliment, but trust me if I had other intentions you wouldnt have to question what they were. I am honest to a fault and hold my tongue for no one. Im glad you like the picture, as you can see it is attached to each post and reply I make now.
Wishing you peace on your journey