Jennifer Chambers
Tree Coordinator for Lawrenceville, Georgia

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In Memory of my beloved father, Eddie.
May 19, 1953 – August 1, 1997

My Story
I am the oldest child of two. My brother is five years younger than I. I have wonderful memories of time I spent with my father. I moved to Georgia when I was 20 years old. Unfortunately, my father was not happy to see me go. We did speak to one another over the telephone at least once a week. I was a full-time student and worked a part-time job so there was not a lot of time to talk on the phone, however, I did go home for holidays. My dad also helped me with my rent.

The month of April was one of the last times I saw my father and he looked very tired. We continued to talked over the telephone throughout the summer months. He had not been drinking those final months and he started to see me as an adult, but all of that abruptly ended when I received a phone call on Sunday, August 3, 1997. I still remember this as if it was yesterday. There was a family emergency and I was to call home—I knew it was about my father. I had been trying to call him over the phone for two weeks and he never answered. Just the night before I tried to call him and he still did not answer. When I hung up the phone I asked myself "What if your daddy is dead?" It was so eerie.

I called my mother she asked if I was sitting down. I said, "Yes." She said, "Your daddy is dead." With desparity and disbelief I collapsed to the floor, threw the phone, screamed, and thrashed with hysteria. Malik, my husbund, somberly picked up the phone to give back to me. My mom said, "He shot himself in the head." I stayed awake throughout the night and cried for days. I worked for Airtran airlines at the time and I was able to get a flight to Kentucky. My mom, grandmother, uncle, and aunt picked me up from the airport to take me home. That is when I learned that my daddy shot himself in the chest and that he did not die instantly—He suffered in the end. It is so painful knowing this . . .

My paternal grandparents were the ones who found him. Though my grandmother deeply grieved the loss of her son . . . her baby, she bravely helped me get through this initial pain. This also happened nine days before my 22nd Birthday. This was the worst time in my life.

I also learned how some people can behave after the funeral process. It got very ugly. Some people were cruel and heartless enough to falsely accuse my loving brother and me for daddy's death. I was 21 and my brother was 16 years old. This was a nightmare that neither of us could understand nor want to ever be exposed to again. I learned that I was pregnant one month after the funeral. My sweet daughter was born two days before my daddy's Birthday. Though I am doing better, losing daddy still hurts especially because my children do not have a grandfather. My mother tries to make up for that, they will never know what it feels like to be loved, teased, tickled, and spoiled by a grandfather.

I would like to help anyone that I can so that no one goes through what I went through. I am giving a clean version of what happened because things became very nasty. I hope and pray that people will learn from my experience.

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