In Loving Memory

Our Son

Dennis Ralph Yarbrough Jr.
March 11th, 1976 - February 11th, 1997

Life Is A Journey

Life is but a stopping place,
a pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road,
to sweet eternity.

We all have different journeys,
different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
but never meant to stay...

Our destination is a place,
far greater than we know.
For some the journey's quicker,
for some the journey's slow.

And when the journey finally ends,
we'll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
together with the Lord

Author Unknown

Our Story:

It began on March 11th, 1976. Our baby boy was born.
Dennis Ralph Yarbrough Jr. 5 lbs. 15 1/2 oz. - 19 1/2 in. tall.
The most beautiful baby in the world! I know, All mother's think that!
But he was. He looked just like his daddy. I didn't realize how much so until he started getting older.

Dennis Sr. and I was very young when we had little Dennis but we were really proud parents.
I had always loved little babies growing up and wow, he was my very own!
His dad and I still had a lot of growing up to do, he was 20 years old at the time and I was 18.
We had been married for 2 years when little Dennis came along.
Our marriage fell apart, not because of Dennie but I think because of us just being too young.

It wasn't long after we separated, I started having a few problems with Dennie.
He was 2 or 3 years old but some of the things he was doing seemed to be more than just the terrible twos!
He couldn't get along very well with other children.
At first I would make excuses, It can't be only my child, maybe yours did something to him first.
But it seemed like every time Dennis was around other children, there would always be a problem.
As he got older I thought maybe he would out grow it but as he started school the problems followed.
There were always complaints from teachers or phone calls wanting me to come pick him up from school.
I didn't know what to do?
Finally a Special Ed Teacher got involved. I think now, they're called School Counsellors.
She had Dennis tested and found out that he had (ADHD), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
He was put in a special class - that he hated, I might add -
so I thought because he hated it so much he would try to start doing better.
That didn't happen! Instead I think it got worse.
By this time we had started seeing a Child Adult Psychologist at the Mental Health Center.
Don't get me wrong! Dennis was an extremly smart child. We had his IQ tested and he was way above normal.
The teachers and the Psychologist told us that Dennis's case was unusual because most children
with emotional and attention disorders are slow in learning but Dennis was not.
He was way above all the kids in his grade level at school.
His teacher once told me he was a perfectionist. She said he didn't even want eraser marks on his paper,
so he would rip it up and start over. I think he got that from me, I can remember when I use to do the same thing!

Anyway, as time went on, we tried medication (Ritalin-10 mg.) but it turned him into a zombie.
We asked the Doctor to reduce the dosage and he wouldn't, we can't remember why or if he suggested anything else.
Dennis was in counseling at the time, so we took him off the Ritalin.
Dennis had been going with a girl and got her pregant.
Things didn't work out between them and she moved to Dylan, SC with family and hooked-up with her cousin.
Dennis kept getting kicked out of school and was staying in and out of trouble, some of which involved going to jail and then court.
The Judge sent him to a Wilderness Camp. When he was released, he did really good for a while.

He got into some more trouble and the Judge sent him to a Impact Program (Military Camp), by this time, he was 18.
He was ordered to stay there for 6 months.
He hated it! He said, that they try to take away all your dignity.
He wrote me a letter and told me that he would kill him self if he had a gun.
He also said nobody gave a shit but me anyway. He also wrote that he knew it would devastate me if he done something like that.
I could not contact him other than in a letter, they would not allow it until 2 weeks before he was released.
It scared me to death. I prayed and started writing as fast as I could write.
This is the first time I had ever heard him say he wanted to die.
The next day I received another letter from him saying:
Mom, I'm sorry, I know I scared you, I'll get through this. I'm feeling a little better now.
This letter was written within a few hours of the first. He hadn't even got my letter yet.

When I finally got to visit him, he looked so good. All grown up. He had to get permission before he could hug his own mother! That hurt!
He got out a few weeks later and wanted to come and live with me and his step dad.
At first there was some question over whether or not he could stay.
Ronnie, my husband was fed up. He said he had gave him all the chances he was going to get.
I could understand him being mad but I wanted Dennis here with me. So, it happened.
Dennis got a job and we took him shopping for things he needed.
He met a girl named Jan and she thought a lot of him, I didn't realize just how much till after he was gone.
I was so happy and Dennie was doing great! Until, he stole my car and totaled it.
Ronnie told him to get out. I knew things needed to calm down some first.
I was upset to but more because I had such high hopes that this was going to work.

His dad was always a part of his life and he went and lived with him for a while but he was no better there than he was with me.
I always told Dennis that I didn't like what he was doing but I would always love him.
I wonder sometime if he ever truly knew how much I loved him.
I always thought he could do better if he wanted to but now I wonder if he tried and just couldn't.
I feel like we all rejected him a lot because of his behavior.
I wish I knew then, the things I've learned since he's been gone.
Just maybe things could have been different for all of us, but mostly for him....

Dennis broke it off with Jan after about 3 years. He met someone else that also got into trouble.
They knew each other for about a month and announced they were getting married.
I tried to talk him into waiting awhile but no, she wanted to get married now, so he said.
A few days later they were married.
My only child and I didn't even have enough notice to go to the wedding.
They went to Dylan, S.C. to the Justice of the Peace and said their I do's and it was over. No pictures, no video, no nothing!
I'm not just blaming her, he was impulsive too. This was January 24th, 1997.
I'm the type to say water under the bridge and was hoping they could really make a go of it.
Dennis and I was always close and he always came to visit often until he got up with her.
I remember one time calling all over the place trying to get in touch with him.
He always use to let me know what he was up to and where he was living.

My dad was moving to Nakina, N.C. and Dennis was going to ride with me and help him get settled in.
On Saturday morning February 8th, Dennis met me at Bojangles and he left his car there.
When he got into my car he was going to sit in the front seat with me, but I told him he should sit in the back seat with his wife.
Big Mistake!!!!!!!!! I didn't know it would be our last ride together.
We got dad's things in order, cleaned and vaccumed and washed his clothes.
Dennis climbed on his roof and hooked up his tv antenna and when we finished we all went out to eat.
We stayed at my dad's until about 12:00 a.m.
When we got back, after almost 2 & 1/2 hours of driving, it was about 2:30 Sunday morning.
We hugged and kissed and we said we loved each other and drove away...
It's weird now, when I think about it but that morning , I got the strangest feeling when I was pulling away
It was as if I didn't want to let him go. I didn't want our time together to end....
I remember staring at his car until he was out of sight.

The next time I saw my child was 2 days later, in the Morgue...
It's been 8 years and I'm still begging God to wake me up from this horrific nightmare!
I'll never forget the way I felt when I heard those words: Elena, Dennis shot himself, he's dead.
I wanted to run away. I wanted to slap them! I did not hear this, take it back. Why are you telling me such a terrible lie?
No! No! No! Please God No! Let's start all over, let it be me, not him...
I was told that Dennis and his wife got into an argument and he loaded the gun and walked outside to her
and put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.
There were two guys and his wife there and nobody did nothing to stop him.
It even took him a while to find the gun and they knew he was looking for it.
Then they watched as he loaded it, while dropping bullets all over the floor.
No calls to police or 911 or to his Mom, nothing! Until it was to late.
I was the last person to know.
She told her mom and dad and some of her relatives knew, she even took a shower and a nap before I was told.
She's not even the one who told me. This happened at 6:10 Tuesday morning - February 11th, 1997.
I found out at around 9:00 a.m. My child was laying on the cold ground dead and I was sitting at home doing my taxes.

I know in my heart that if someone would have had the sense to call me, he would have talked to me and I could have calmed him down.
Dennis got mad easily but didn't stay mad long. He was quick to get over it.
With nobody there to give a damn, he was on his own and they were adding fuel to the fire.

Dennis, was a kind, fun, goodhearted, loving person.
He never forgot my birthday or Mother's day or any day that was important to us.
He had such a good heart. He would give the shirt off his back, if you needed it.
I miss him so very much.
He was my son, my best friend, my heart, my soul, my one and only.
He use to tell me he would take care of me when I got too old to take care of my self.
I know I'll always have an Angel in Heaven because he was my Angel on earth.
He always closed all his letters with:
I've got to go for now but never forever...
He keeps his promises...

I lost my son, my sister and my daddy all within a year.
(God says he doesn't give us more than we can handle) I have to question that one!
I have heard from all of them. I think they all knew along with God that I was sinking and I needed something to hold on to.
I didn't care any more. I was mad because they were with Dennis and I wasn't.
I wanted nothing more than to be with him again. He needed me, the people here didn't. And oh, how I needed him!
I prayed, I kept journals, I'd go to his grave and sit for hours and hours crying, until I felt like there was nothing left inside me.
I think Dennis knew I wasn't taking No for an answer.
I got up as usual on a Saturday morning but I told myself and God this had to be the day, it was Mother's Day!
I needed so much to hear him say I love you, mama. I'm O.K.
Little things had happened that I really can't explain but it wasn't enough to convince me that the message was from him.
Until I got out of my car at the cemetery and walked up to his grave. I sat down as usual and I lost it.
I cried uncontrollably for what seemed like forever and then I heard a car door shut and looked around.
There was a man walking up to me and I started trying to dry my eyes, nose, and face.
I looked up and smiled when he said hi, even though I thought he was invading my privacy.
He smiled back, told me he was sorry, handed me a blue and white carnation and said Happy Mother's Day.

Well, I know what you're thinking, nothing out of the ordinary, right? WRONG!
Dennis's spray on his casket was arranged with blue and white carnations.
For us to get them that way, they had to dye the tips of the white carnations, blue.
It took me a few minutes to realize what had just happened.
I didn't try to invesigate or ask questions. I took it to mean exactly what Dennis meant for it to mean
A beautiful much needed sign from him!
I watched this stranger walk back to his car and go to other people visiting at the cemetery,
but not once did he give out another carnation. That One was meant for Dennis's Mama.

Thank you, Dennis for all the I love you's and for always making me feel loved.
I love you, my precious child and even though you're gone from this world you will never be gone from my heart.
Forever and Always.......Mama

After Thought:

We're not trying to put the blame on anybody. We don't know what honestly happened that terrible night.
I can't help thinking if the right people had been there, (me, his dad,or Jan), it wouldn't have gone that far, we would have stopped him!
I don't know why our Son chose dying over living.
I wish I did, maybe then we could save another child from suicide and another mom and dad from the worst nightmare of their life.
All I do know is that we loved our son with everything we have inside.
We have regrets and we feel like maybe we didn't do this right or maybe we could have done that differently
but the bottom line is we don't know if we did anything wrong.
When our children are here they won't tell us what's wrong and when they're gone, they can't.
We just keep punishing ourselves with the questions, that are never answered...
God Bless Our Children and God Bless The Parent's That Couldn't Save Them:

My Love, My Life, My Joy, My Precious, Baby Boy:


Music By: Karen Taylor Good/Precious Child

This Site is Owned, Maintained and Updated by Elena (Dennis' Mom)

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