My son’s story: Joseph Teo (11/10/99-07/06/2019)

My Son’s story 

Joey was born on November 10th, 1999. He was a big baby and so sweet from the minute he entered the world. His full name was Joseph Teo. We were going to name him Cassius (Cachous – I cannot remember the spelling) after his father’s grandfather. I wanted something a bit more modern, so we decided on Joseph. His middle name, Teo, was short for Teofil, Bob’s other grandfather. When Joey was about four or five, he told us he wanted to change his middle name to Teofil,  not our shortened version. He was always a character.  

Joey was brilliant! I am not just saying that because he was my son, he really was. At nine months old I found him standing on the dining room table calling out to me to see how high he had climbed. Arms out, screaming “Ma, Ma”! I tried so carefully to not get over excited and startle him, I did not want him to fall. He was a November birthday so we decided we would wait to start him in Kindergarten until he was turning six, what my parents did with me. It was in Nursery School that we realized we had made a mistake. That winter we started him in Kindergarten, with the assumption he would repeat because he had missed so much. By second grade he was terribly bored and asked if he could be in a different grade. We tried but the school refused to allow it. He was in groups like “Future Problem Solvers” and excelled. 

We moved to a new house and although he was still the same kid things were not as good for him. He was bullied starting in elementary school. He was bullied because he loved to learn. He loved making things and learning things, not running around playing shooting games or farting like little boys do! One time in maybe third grade he was being teased because he was dunking his Oreo in milk during after-school care. Of course, he was taught that this was the proper way to eat an Oreo! The kid would not stop, and I guess after a few comments Joey whipped his soggy Oreo at the kid and watched it slide down his face and neck. Good for Joey!  

In all academics he excelled, with Language Arts being his biggest struggle, since it is so subjective. He was a math kid, black and white, formulas… Bullying continued in Middle school but because it was mostly teasing from “friends” it was never taken seriously. There are a lot of painful memories about this time of his life that currently I am not ready to discuss.  

Anyhow, he went on to high school and did not do well in a traditional classroom. He was anxious and had depression.  I tried to help him in any way possible. He tried to take his own life at least once, if not more. 

Joey went to three different high schools before finding the perfect fit. By that time, he had to repeat his Junior year since he had missed a lot of it and needed the credits.  Although he always maintained almost perfect A’s in all classes his school did not offer credit based on absences. He went to his new school, which was a magnet school situated on the campus of a community college.  Upon entering he tested out of all high school courses so had to start college classes. He was earning college credit along with his high school diploma. He excelled.  

He took his SATs and got 800 on the math. A perfect score! At his memorial service, the college professor who taught a math class called Differentials said that Joey taught her a few things! He applied to a few colleges for Mechanical Engineering and although his most desired was Georgia Tech, he was declined being a five-year high schooler! He applied on his own and got into Florida Institute of Technology. He was really on a new trajectory. He graduated with high honors in June of 2019. At this time his father had been dead only a year. 

After his father had died in June 2018 from a medical complication, Joey was the man of the house. When I met David, who I had no intention of falling in love with but did anyways, we had some tension. He was staying with a friend of his shortly after graduating high school. He was scheduled to leave in August. After his dad died, Joey saved up enough money to buy himself an $8000 motorcycle in cash.  He took all the classes, got his license, and insurance. Some people blame me, I believe, because I did not forbid him from having a motorcycle. He was 18 and there was really nothing I could do. So, I supported him and begged him to be safe.  

He was working as a line cook that July. He was on his way home from work on a Tuesday night. He hit a truck pulling out of a side road and died at the scene. There is obviously more to this chain of events but again too painful to talk about right now.  That was one year and five days ago.  

I lost my son. My daughter lost her brother. He had so many friends, he did not even know it! I am and never will be whole again. I thank God I have my daughter and David.  

60 thoughts on “My son’s story: Joseph Teo (11/10/99-07/06/2019)

  1. The loss of someone we love so much is never easy. Of course you had no blame in this and anyone who says such a thing is just cruel. Mourning and grieving is a process, but more than that, it is also a measurement of love. Sending you warm and loving thoughts from afar.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand. This is my year of trying not to live in grief which I have done for many years, but rather to tell the stories and remember the essence of who they were in my world.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is so hard. One thing my therapist has taught me to do to help is to step out of myself and picture I am going to console a different me. What would I say to that other person? What would I do to try and ease her pain? Then I can apply this to myself. Not sure if it makes sense but it works for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is heartbreaking Stine, and I am really sorry for your loss and pain. One thing that I never understood and still don’t is the bullying culture in schools. It is horrible for the victims and causes so much misery for loved ones too. Why is this the case? Why is bullying so common in our schools, and why aren’t there consequences for the perpetrators? Bullying ruins lives and it makes me sick to my stomach to read stories like this one.
    Again, I am so sorry and thank you for sharing, I doubt it was easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This has been harder than losing both my mom and my husband. I sort of feel bad saying that but it is true. One of the problems with schools and bullying is is that it is such a major problem so if a school admits it is going on that opens a whole new can of worms. The schools try mediation too many times and think it is kids being kids. It is really just bureaucratic bullshit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It shouldn’t be as simple as “kids being kids” because the victims of bullying go through grim scenarios even way after leaving school. It is just so heartbreaking.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. People say loses are a part of our life.. but no… They’re a part of us… They make us…
    Hey.. I lost my only sister.. though she was just a cousin. But…. for me she was much more than that.
    But today.. I don’t believe I have lost her.. I believe she is in me. Just like JOEY is in you.. just open your heart and you will see him!
    After all that’s what he wanted.. to be with his Momma forever!
    And you are lucky that he is in you!
    Love you ma’am.. for the courage you showed to open up.. I am still struggling!

    Aathmana
    Read. Love. Live.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a child. I’m sorry about your losses — first your husband and then your son. My heart goes out to you.

    Like

  5. I am so sorry for the loss of your son; the sadness must feel unbearable at times. It was courageous of you to share your story – keep him alive in your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good for you for having the courage to share your story. Your son sounds like a wonderful young man who will indeed live forever in your heart as others have said. May you find the ability to remember the joy of his life as you mourn his death.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so sorry for your losses. Most of us have lost someone dear, but to lose a child is a suffering like no other. I shall be thinking of you today and will remember you in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing Joey’s story, it is a brave thing to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh god. I’m so sorry. My hearty condolences to you and your daughter. None can fill his space of a son. It’s really a great loss. Slowly time will heal everything. What to do . Don’t worry. God bless you and your daughter. Hopefully you both will become normal soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So very sad, of course it would be harder to lose a child than a parent or spouse, it’s good you have your daughter and David. Thank you for sharing your story about your beautiful son.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so dreadfully sorry for your loss. I can only imagine the grief of losing a son.. I had not had the opportunity to read your blog prior to this… Your son sounds a very gifted and beautiful human… I am so sure he is close to you every single day… thank you for sharing about him.. and sending you many hugs… ❤

    Like

  11. Oh, such heartache! Nothing will ever take the pain away completely but please don’t feel guilty about your mother and husband. The big difference is that they had the chance to explore life as adults, to build on their upbringings, while Joey was just getting there. He sounds like a lovely boy, perhaps somewhat troubled but I’m quite sure your love meant everything to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Not “liked” because the content is sad but “liked” because you’re sharing his story and something of yours–you and your family being yours, that is. This is all so utter and so recent. I’d like to have met him. As a teacher, I always enjoyed, and still enjoy, precocious young people. I can only hope you’ll find good places to keep the pain along with many, many memories. Not that anything difficult will go away; it will simply live in a bearable way along with everything else, including all the good things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. He was so likeable and even though he was quirky he didn’t have anybody who didn’t like him. I miss him so very much. Sharing his story helps to keep his memory alive for me and to honor his life.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for sharing your story – your son sounds like an amazing young man, and I cannot imagine how much pain you must be in (two losses in such a short time). We had a motorcycle before our daughter was born – I understand the love he had for his. To those people who blamed you – mmm. not my page, so I’m not going to say what I want, but “duck em”. It’s called an accident for a reason. The only thing these “friends” should be doing is sharing your grief.

    Liked by 1 person

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