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Overcome: Memoirs of a Suicide

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Loved it! 😍

Heart-wrenching and inspiring tale of surviving unspeakable tragedy. Though the agony never goes away, triumph can find a seat alongside it.

Synopsis

Six foot one at thirteen years old. Dark blond hair and his eyes the clearest chartreuse, like spring water filled with tiny green flowers. Yet it was not those attributes that made him beautiful, it was his love of life, the way he lightened up a room with laughter…and the trail he blazed on a foundation of suicide.
On March 22, 2011, Jason Paul Legere, 13, went upstairs, took out his mom’s gun and shot himself. Shot himself at just before 8 a.m. on a random Tuesday morning, with his mother and three other brothers downstairs.

The aftermath that follows is that of being completely OVERCOME by the loss and stigma of suicide. The wake of darkness it leaves behind as a family, a mother deals with the ever-present question of WHY. This is the story of how one day his mother looked in the mirror and said, “What are you doing? Stop the pity party. CHOOSE. Do you choose to wallow in your sorrows until it completely destroys you? Or do you choose your son, to LIVE and take his light and make a difference, make a stance and be the change?”

When memoir writers limn tragic stories, you get the sense or perhaps hope that transforming thoughts into words is therapeutic and that it provides them some level of comfort. What is distinctive about Kimberly Tocco's memoir is that her story is a pursuit to help others and how, almost as a by-product, this helps her too.


The story begins with the normalcy of a typical family on the frenzied morning of a school day with a mom, Kimberly, trying to get the kids to eat breakfast before school as dad, Pete, needs to rush off to work. The children are Brian, 14, Jason, 13, and two-year-old twins, Joey and Petey. This was the morning Jason shot himself.


The stages-of-grief model are evident in her writing, but the author describes it in a unique way:

Denial and isolation come first, then anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. I felt them all, or sometimes just one, and certainly not in this order. Yet they do show up in these stages and circulate, coming back, fading in and out, until you deal with them and find a way to work through them.


Kimberly opens her wounds to share the aftermath. Some people disconnected because of the stigma of suicide. Close friends inhibited her from airing her feelings when she desperately needed to talk about Jason. At the same time, strangers probed for details. Hurtful rumors spread. Pete was a rock for the family, but at what expense? The children seemed resilient; however, that did not stop Kimberly from feeling guilty about her inability to fully function for them. Honoring Jason's memory was a recurring theme throughout the book, and in the end, that pursuit led to her survival, success and this book.


The author writes in a relatable style, and the book is well-edited. I read it quickly, feeling her pain and rooting for her as she began to jettison discouraging words, financial roadblocks, and the baggage filled with remnants of a painful personal history. When I finished the book, I felt like anything is possible and that you can create good from bad.


I recommend this book to people who have suffered a personal loss, want to understand how life is possible after that and need to know they are not alone.

Reviewed by

Gail has a project management background and specializes in writing marketing material, web pages, blogs, bios and résumés. Favorite genres include memoir, novels, mystery & crime, fiction, legal & medical thrillers, essays, short stories & books about wellness and career building/business success.

Synopsis

Six foot one at thirteen years old. Dark blond hair and his eyes the clearest chartreuse, like spring water filled with tiny green flowers. Yet it was not those attributes that made him beautiful, it was his love of life, the way he lightened up a room with laughter…and the trail he blazed on a foundation of suicide.
On March 22, 2011, Jason Paul Legere, 13, went upstairs, took out his mom’s gun and shot himself. Shot himself at just before 8 a.m. on a random Tuesday morning, with his mother and three other brothers downstairs.

The aftermath that follows is that of being completely OVERCOME by the loss and stigma of suicide. The wake of darkness it leaves behind as a family, a mother deals with the ever-present question of WHY. This is the story of how one day his mother looked in the mirror and said, “What are you doing? Stop the pity party. CHOOSE. Do you choose to wallow in your sorrows until it completely destroys you? Or do you choose your son, to LIVE and take his light and make a difference, make a stance and be the change?”

He Is Dead

Chapter 1: He is Dead

“Boys! Breakfast!”

Every morning I would make breakfast for my two older boys, Brian, 14, and Jason, 13. Those two were only twelve months apart and in the same grade. Almost like twins, really, they were so close. Ironically, I ended up having twins eleven years after Jason was born, pudgy little dudes named Joey and Petey. They were watching cartoons and playing with toys to the side of the kitchen as I finished up cooking.

“Boys!” Jesus, how many times do I need to say that?

Down came Brian, a handsome, dark-haired kid with brilliant hazel eyes. I had made English muffins with egg and cheese, a healthy version of the fast food item. I had been trying to get the boys to eat a better breakfast. Neither of them likes breakfast sandwiches, and Brian rolled his eyes, sat down, and started picking at it.

““Mom, you know I hate these!” Jason whined as I looked up from Brian. Jason was a beautiful young man. Six foot one with dark blond hair and the clearest color of green eyes I have ever seen.

3

Overcome: Memoirs of a Suicide

“I do not want to hear it! We need to hustle. I have been calling you guys, and when you finally get down here you won’t eat. JUST EAT IT!” My temper was getting to me. I was tired and just wanted a “thank you for cooking, Mom.”

Just then, my husband, Pete, came down the stairs. He was dressed for a union meeting, an extra position he took so he could support his fire department.

“Just do as your mother asks, Jason.”

Jason stood up from the table and knocked the chair to the floor. I had never seen him like this. Never. The hair on the back of my neck was raised, everything in the air was charged, and Jason stood face to face with my husband. I could see the two of them exchanging words, but I couldn’t hear it, or I do not recall. I only remember something really off about the entire situation.

“Get upstairs! You are not going to school like this and you need to wait until I get back from these meetings. Brian, finish getting ready and help your mom put the twins in the car and she will take you to school.” Pete walked over, kissed me on the cheek, and said in my ear, “Don’t let him go to school, I will talk to him when I get back.” With that he left out the front door. I sat down at the table, Brian on the floor with the twins, and Jason standing in the hallway between the kitchen and the stairs.

“I hate you!” Jason said to me, and I looked up at him. I didn’t know what to say. I was hurt from trying so hard to cook, then the anger he expressed toward us, and now he tells me he hates me. I felt

4

like I didn’t recognize him. He had such a dark look on his face. “Yeah, well, I hate you too. Just go upstairs and we will talk when Dad gets back,” I frustratingly stated.

“Hello?” My phone was ringing.

“How is he?” It was Pete calling from the car.

“I don’t know. I just sent him upstairs. He told me he hates me . . . Ugh. And I said it back,” I told him, feeling very childish.

“He will be fine. Tell him to pick up his phone, I want to talk to him.”

“Jason, pick up your phone when Dad calls!” I yelled upstairs to him.

A few minutes later my phone rings again. “Hello?”

“What is he doing now?” Pete asked me.

Just then I heard a noise.

“Ah, yeah, sounds like he just threw something. How was he when you spoke with him?”

Jason, being a baseball player, was always throwing things, happy or mad.

“I just tried to explain to him that he does not get to make all his own choices. He just kept asking me why he had to eat something he didn’t want to and why he couldn’t play video games when he wanted

Chapter 1: He is Dead

5

Overcome: Memoirs of a Suicide

and stuff like that. I told him we love him but that’s just not how things work. We are his parents, and it’s our job to raise him, and he has to follow the rules.”

This was a very common discussion in our house. Having two teenage boys, we had a few rules to follow. Video games on weekends only, homework first before friends, pick up your rooms . . . the usual suspects. What was so odd about it on this day was Jason was really having a hard time with it, with the rules. He had always been the one to offer help and go the extra mile. He would complain, of course, but this . . . he was more than angry, he was off.

“He is not picking up his phone and I wasn’t done talking to him. Call him down so he can talk to me on this phone.”

“Jason!” I yelled.

Nothing.

“Jason . . . Oh, never mind, I will bring the phone upstairs with me,” I said as I started for the stairs. “Jason! He isn’t answering, Brian come help me find your brother. Jason!”

I was going from room to room, first his room, not there, Brian’s room, twins’ room. I felt Brian behind me as I headed into my room. My heart was pounding. Something was wrong. “I can’t find him, I can’t . . .”

As soon as I stepped into my closet, I could smell gun powder. 6

“Oh my God! OH MY GOD, I SMELL GUN POWDER . . . I smell it!”

My eyes were dodging rapidly between the couple of rifles and BB gun . . . “JAAASON!! He is not in the closet: where is he, where is he?”

I was panicking.

“The ammunition is in the safe, those are not loaded. Check the ammunition,” Peter said over the phone.

“I found him, Mom! He is over here. MOM!” Brian screamed.

I looked over in the direction he was pointing.

My room was set up in such a way that when you enter the master you are looking at the east wall, which the headboard of my massive bed sat against, and the closet and bath to the south. As you walk out of the master bath, you look toward the north wall, and there on the floor at the foot of the bed you could see Jason’s feet, the rest of him hidden by the bed, my side of the bed, where I had hidden the only loaded gun in the house, a lightweight, hair-trigger Ruger .38 revolver.

“His feet, do you see them?” Brian asked

My head was spinning.

“Grab the twins, take them to their room, do not let them see this. Stay there,” I instructed with a voice stronger than I knew I was at that moment, all while I ran to that side of the bed.

Chapter 1: He is Dead

7

Overcome: Memoirs of a Suicide

Nothing prepares you for something like this. I still had the phone to my ear, my husband I think saying he was turning around . . . and then I saw him.

“HHHEEEE IS DEAD! OH, GOD, NO . . . he . . . he is dead!” I remember screaming into the phone at the same time Pete was screaming to call 911.

I had a landline phone in my hand and I immediately looked back down to hang up and dialed 911.

But what I had seen was branded on my eyes. He was half on his side, half on his back, my gun was there on the floor. His beautiful mouth slightly open, and as my eyes traveled up, I saw the dark hole, his eyes black.

Towel . . . Grab a towel and wrap his head in it, apply pressure. NOW! This was my own voice in my head while I dialed 911. I ran to the bathroom, grabbed a towel, and put the phone on speaker.

“911, what is your emergency?”

I could not tell you if it was a male or female. All I could think was HURRY

“My son, he has shot himself. I need an ambulance now! My address is twenty-nine twenty-one East Pillar Drive. Please hurry!”

“Slow down, ma’am, I can’t understand you. What is your emergency?”

8

“He’s dead, he’s dead, he’s dead . . . please hurry!”

I had wrapped the top of his head as tight as I could with the towel covering his eyes and the wound. I was trying to lay him flat so I could start compressions.

“He is heavy. Oh, GOD, I can’t get him on his back. Please HELP ME!”

Just then his body slid enough so I could put him on his back . . . and I saw his mouth open. He was breathing! I started compressions and mouth to mouth.

“One, two, three. How many do I do again? HOW MANY?” I was screaming to the 911 operator.

I knew it was thirty, but it felt so long to go between breaths into his mouth. I do not know what they replied, I just kept going. I am not sure how many minutes went by, but I knew they were too late.

As I continued, I felt him die.

I pushed my breath into his body, and unlike the first few times, this time my breath came right back out . . . like a balloon deflating.

I felt his body let go. 

About the author

Kimberly Tocco: Took the pain and grief of losing her 13 year old son to suicide and channeled it into a vehicle to change lives. "It is not what you go through, it is how you come through it." Kimberly "Tenacious T" Tocco view profile

Published on March 16, 2020

Published by Jones Media

20000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Inspirational

Reviewed by

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