The Last Time I Spoke To You

by Kimberly Ann Mays
(Greenwood, LA)

There's only one way to describe the pain I felt when I lost my son, Nick. He was only 22! It was deep! Deeper than anything I had ever felt before. It hurt like nothing ever has. Empty and lonely is all I knew. Confused and scared all of the time. Who was I now? Who had I become now? Who will I ever be now? I didn't know anything anymore. Something inside had been pulled out of me. I couldn't breathe, feel, nor could I think. Nothing tasted like it once did. Nothing smelled the same. I didn't want to sleep, out of fear that he would come to me and I wouldn't know. I didn't care about anything anymore. My life had been shaken with such a force that everything was scattered, and in pieces. I couldn't reach out to my other two sons because I was scared of getting too close. I didn't want to feel this hurt again. I saw their pain. I felt it! I knew it better than anyone. Why can't everyone just leave me alone? I want to be by myself! Stop calling! Don't tell me to be strong! Did you just lose YOUR child? Stop telling me he's in a better place. He's not with me! Don't say that things are going to be ok. You don't know this! Don't say you know what I feel. You lost your parent, husband or friend. I lost my SON!!  I heard and felt all of these things and more. I grew angry and distant each time someone said these things to me. Nick was my son! He is my son! I carried him under my heart for nine months, and loved him every moment of his life. I knew my child like no one could ever know him. I knew when he was happy and sad. I knew when he was telling me a fib. I knew when he was in trouble. I knew my son's heart and what he believed. I knew things that he didn't say. I could see it on his face. I knew when my son needed help, but wasn't willing to ask. I am his mother. I knew my son! I just didn't know that he was going to leave me so soon. I couldn't see the signs. Everything on that day seemed normal. Nothing was out of place or awkward. I last spoke to Nick around 6:00 pm. He told me that he had taken his baby to the E.R. because she had a rash. He asked that I come by after work and see her. That was the last time I spoke to my son. At 11:05, my husband called my cell phone. This was unusual, but I thought he needed something from the store on my way home. He told me Nick was in some kind of trouble and I should meet him at his house as soon as possible. I raced to get there as quickly as I could, leaving messages on Nick's phone. At first, the phone would ring until it went to voice mail. Then, the last two calls went straight to his voicemail. My husband phoned again, to inform me not to enter the street where Nick lived, but to detour from the street next to it. As I approached the area I could see so many police lights and fire truck lights. I even saw caution tape blocking the street entrance. What has happened? I was scared, but not because I thought something had happened to my son. Suddenly, my husband opened the door and said that we had to go to the hospital. Nick had been shot and had been taken there. A police officer escorted us the entire way. I knew he was ok. If not, I would've felt it. As I approached the reception desk at the hospital a crowd of people stood in my way. I made my way through the crowd and asked the receptionist to direct me to my son's location. This woman turned and said to me, "I think my son shot yours"! I couldn't even think. I just walked through the double doors, following behind the receptionist. I saw a dozen or more police officers standing against the hall wall. Immediately, the mood shifted as I noticed the officers heads go down and all conversations went silent. We stood in a very small area, just outside of the family rooms. All rooms were taken so we had to wait outside in the area where emergency staff enter. Nurses continued to ask if anyone had spoken to us yet. We said, no! Would someone please tell us what's going on. Then, one nurse asked if we had spoken to a chaplain yet. My husband's eyes filled with tears and I asked, is this bad? Does it mean something bad? At this point I still felt no fear that my son was in danger. My husband replied, " it's not good". Finally, we were escorted to a family room made available to us. What happened next was the moment my life changed forever. A small-framed man, the doctor that saw my son asked, "is Joseph Nicholas Taylor your son"? Yes! I said. He then stated that an accident took place tonight and gave the location, and your son and several others were involved in a shooting. These were his final words, "Joseph didn't make it"! I couldn't feel anything around me. I couldn't even cry. I could see everyone in the room, but I couldn't hear them. I demanded to see my son, but the chaplain refused. He told me it was for the best. I didn't believe them and I needed to see for myself. Someone came to my side and asked my husband to go and identify my son's body. My husband cried and said, "no, i can't do this". Then we were asked if Nick had any tattoos. My husband stated that he had one on his arm with his mother's name. My name! I knew by the look on this man's face and how he need not ask anything else that it was him. My son! Gone! That morning, around 2:30 am, we headed home where family had come to gather. I couldn't believe this was real. The next day was spent preparing his service and contacting family and friends. The house filled with people, but I couldn't say who all was there. It was all like a dream. Everything was so distant. It was like my body and mind had become disconnected. My son had the most beautiful service I ever saw. There were over 200 people there. People were lined up outside, because there wasn't room inside. The State Troopers escorted him twenty-five miles out of parish to the cemetery where he now rests. My son was shot twice. Once in the right lung, and second, in the back of his head. He was accused of participating in a home invasion and was shot in self-defense. The man that took his life had a prior criminal history as a felon. He had served a few years for murdering a military officer during a robbery. After a long wait, it was determined that no charges would be filed against this man for the murder of my son. The D.A. and prosecuting attorney felt that there wasn't enough evidence to go before a grand jury and his case went into the closed files. I spent months leading my own investigation and had a former homicide detective assist me. He found many errors and red flags, but no one would reopen the case. They continued to claim that there wasn't enough evidence. They did however, state to me and my family that they believed this man, the shooter was not telling the truth. My son was not capable of such an act and so many people have agreed. Including many in the law enforcement profession. My son didn't receive justice here, but someday, God will bring it all to the light. My family couldn't even grieve in the way we should have, nor did we receive the justice we felt was deserved. Only God, and those that were there that night know the truth to what really took place. My son lost his voice to speak about that night. He took it with him the moment he left. I live today with so much pain and sadness. I miss my child more than anything. It's been a long, and yet, still short time since he went away. My life has come quite a distance from that moment. I've learned to accept his absence, but I don't do it willingly. It's only come by the grace of God. I'm beginning to piece my life back together again,  through tiny steps that I take each day. Sometimes, I walk side-by-side with God, while other times I stand on His feet, as He walks for me. Many days I'm too exhausted to walk, or even stand. God carries me instead. I suppose this will be how I continue to live from now on. I will never try and walk this journey alone again. It's much too difficult. I look back on everything today and I see how much I've grown throughout all of this. It doesn't always seem as though I have, but looking back allows me to remember where I was then. I would never have imagined it being this way. My heart was too damaged to see any possibility of it recovering. Am I the same person that everyone knew before that night? Definitely not! Am I the same mother, wife, daughter, sister or friend? No! That person no longer lives today. I am someone new and different. In many ways I am better. In some, I'm never going to be better. At least, not while here. I'm alive today and this is all I can hope for at this point. So many of my leaves have fallen, but others have remained and continue to grow. My heart is much like the seasons as they change. One day I'm a mild wind that is filled with fresh air. While the next, I could be like a heavy storm shifting me back and forth by this relentless strength. I never know who I'll be one day to the next, but I know doesn't matter. God is patient and loving, and will be right there to pick me up. He'll never let me go. So, if you wonder how it is to feel my pain. Don't try! Unless you've gone through this type of loss you can't begin to feel what I feel. If it angers you that I'm not exactly where you believe I should be. Then ask yourself, are you where you should be? I'm with God, and that's where I belong, but you are completely unaware because you're someplace else. If you pull away from me because I am no longer full of joy. That's ok! I understand, but do you? Are you afraid to say something, anything about my son, because he "died"? Don't be! My son is not dead! In fact, he's very much alive. I want to talk about him. I need to talk about him. Please.....let me tell you about my Nick! You're not hurting me. You're allowing me to heal. If you read this entire story, you've just given me another day to grow. To heal. To live!!!! 
Thank you, for listening! 
Nick's mom, Kim Mays

Comments for The Last Time I Spoke To You

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Jul 02, 2014
Justice for Nick!
by: Kimberly Mays

I'm back to say that after 4 years, my son's murderer has been placed into custody. Although, it was due to other criminal behavior, it's caused the detectives to re-open Nick's case and further investigate. Today, I called to see if I could receive his belongings after all this time. I was told that I could only have his wallet and Drivers License. I asked why, and was told that the other articles might be needed as evidence down the road. This gave me hope. I can't explain it, but I have this need to touch the things he last touched. In a way, I'm glad I can't receive his clothing. My son was shot in the right lung and then the back of his head. I don't know if I'm ready to see that. I don't know if I ever will be. The only thing I know for certain today is this. Life does move forward, but I've remained stuck in a place where someone different once lived. I'm just now getting it together enough to figure out who I'm suppose to be now, without my Nick. I've got a long way to go before I get there. The pain has eased up some, but it's always there. I still cry. I still miss my child tremendously, and I still bounce around from one stage of grief to another. Grief may have stages, but it certainly doesn't go in an order, nor does it stop. I'm not angry with God, nor have I ever been. I'm angry with the situation and what it's done to my life and my family's lives. I know that my beautiful boy is in Heaven, happier than he ever could be here. But, as his mother, I can't help but want and need all of my children with me. Losing Nick has changed everything. Nothing will ever be the same to me again. Not even the smell of rain. I've learned to see things differently now. I take nothing for granted. We all hurt over our children's deaths, and I could never say, I know your pain, because I don't. I only know mine. Sometimes, the pain is what helps me hold on, because letting go of it feels like I'm letting go of him. People tell me to give it to God and He'll remove my hurt. I've already given God everything I'm able to hand over right now. God knows my needs and He knows what I'm going through better than myself. For now, I'm doing this thing with Him. We are doing it together. Thank You, God! For loving my son and taking great care of him. Thank You, for showing me that You are with me and my family forever!

Sep 10, 2012
Victor's Mom
by: Quan Cohen

Unfortunately, I like yourself, became a member on August 12, 2012. I read every single word of your experience and I am grateful to you for honesty and detail. I stay on this site for hours seeking relief, hope, understanding, empathy and a reason to live. I feel like I am dying. My son was 22 years old and I never imagined that this would happen to us. I called him Old Man, and would always tell him that he would be the child to stay with me as I grow old. There was something really special about Victor. I will post what happened when I can think straight if ever. Sorry for your loss...and for mine as well.

Mar 31, 2012
No Words
by: Anonymous

Dear Kim,

There are no words I can say that will heal your broken heart. But I, too, have lost a child. I am a mom who lost her firstborn to suicide so I know the pain of losing a child. We have that in common. The paths that brought us to this point in our lives and those that take us away may differ, but we all must grieve our loss no matter how long. I am so sorry. Your words are deep and raw and real. I relate to many of them, having suffered the same: broken hearts, shattered dreams, changed lives forever. I felt like I was free falling for years, wondering who I would become since the old me died too. God knows what happened and is in this even though it may seem otherwise. He did not take your child, but He knows what it is like to lose a child so He is there to surround you and comfort you.

You write beautifully. Care to journal? I was encouraged to journal my personal pain and it really helped to get "it out" and put it down. Recalling frame by frame hurts and I bawled my head off, but tears are cleansing even if done over and over. God says He stores them in bottles...I must have filled up half of heaven with mine alone :).

Mar 27, 2012
I Understand
by: Compucher

Dear Kimberley,
We are separated by an enormous ocean - the Pacific. You in the USA and me in Australia. But we are bonded by an overwhelming and devestating event - our son's death.
When I read your post and came to the part where they told you your son "didn't make it" and you asked to see him and "they" said it was better if you didn't, I felt such empathy for you. They should have let you see him! He was your son! Irregardless of whether "they" thought it was for the best, they should have given you the privilege - no, the right! to see your son. You saw him at his birth and you should have been able to see him at his death. When my son died suddenly at 44, I lived some 3500kms away from where he and his wife lived. It took me 2 days to get there. Meanwhile the coroner wanted to do an autopsy straight away to determine the cause of death. Fortunately my daughter-in-law understood my overwhelming need to see him before that happened and asked them to wait. I bless her every day of my life for that. I got to say goodbye to my son. I got to kiss him one last time and smell his hair one last time. I got to see him dead so that I could believe it. That was an absolute necessity for me, one I could not even analyse at the time. It was a compulsion.
I cannot say that I have accepted his death any easier by seeing him, nor can I say I feel "better" because I did. I don't think anything can assuage the pain of losing your child, even if they are an adult. Nor can I say that my words may help you in any way. Nobody's did for me. Nor can I say may God heal your heart. He didn't heal mine. All I can say is I understand.

Mar 27, 2012
from Canada
by: Molly

Hi Kim,
I want to thank you for showing your heart, you wrote everything that you are feeling with such truth and honesty and I think that this will be good for you in the end. I too lost my son Quinn it has been 8 months and all the earlier thoughts and feelings that you indicate in your letter I can completely relate to. However for me Quinn was my only child and I was a single mom. Quinn flowed through all my thoughts and dreams he filled my soul with love and compassion. My son was my best friend, the love of my life and my son. I still can't believe that he has gone I really don't know when I can believe this it is so crazy. I was a mother and now I am nothing, each day I pray to God that he take me to my son because there is nothing left here for me. Quinn had so much potential so much to live for and he loved life and living he died at 16 the age where you are just starting to become who you will be. It hurts that my son will never get a chance to become all that he could have and should have been. Life is so unfair. This pain will never end and my longing to be with my son will never go away. When Quinn was here I lived for him now that he is gone I feel useless and empty. Friends are around but it's not the same they can't filled that void and that yearning I have to see that beautiful face once more. Quinn died from a heart arrythmia, he was at camp. imagine we encourge kids to exercise and be active and in some cases it can kill them. My life now is empty, but you still have your boys and I know it is hard but love them and enjoy them don't be afraid to love them they need you even more now. Talk to them about their brother share stories and ask them what they would want to do to honor him. I know there is no answer to getting over this grief but either you live or you die a slow unhappy death in life. Please email me if you want to talk more

Mar 27, 2012
May god heal your broken heart

Hi Kim, I am so sorry for your loss, and nothing i say or do will make you the same person again because a part of you has been torn away from you for ever, how can you go on without one part of your heart, i know how it feels i lost my son Brandon 5 months ago and i still have not got over the shock, he had a massive heart attack i really dont know how, he did not give me a chance to say bye to tell him how much i loved him, how i cannot live without him , my friends ask me what is it are you angry? you dont smile how can one smile when a piece of you is gone away forever. I dont think we will ever be the same again, we live and do all our worldly duties, till the time we can be with them once again.

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