In this case, it was a 51-year-old divorced woman, Judith Elizabeth Williams from Walnut Creek, California. She owned a business that was failing, like so many others in this economy. Her financial situation may have been the tipping point, but it wasn't the only factor that robbed this mom of her ability to see the senselessness of her act, which took place at dusk, on the highest point in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mount Diablo.
Apparently she'd been depressed for years. Perhaps she had never sought the treatment she needed. I guess we'll never know.
He 15-year-old son, Adam, had accompanied her up the mountain. She'd already done away with the family pets, although he may have not known that yet.
Even if he had, would a teen have recognized that act as a symptom of suicidal depression?
Even if he had, would he have known who he could go to?
Would he have known to seek help for her, or would he have been too embarrassed about his mom's issues? As we all know, teens are very sensitive of what others think of them, and of their families.
I cry when I hear of these sorts of incidents. I feel sorry ––no, angry ––that a child's life has been snuffed out for no other reason than selfishness on his parent's part. She may have not seen her place here on this Earth, but obviously he did, and by all accounts (including the article enclosed here, from the San Francisco Chronicle) Adam lived his life to the fullest.
He deserved to live it on his terms, not hers.
That said, I also feel pity and sadness that yet another mother did not have the support she needed to see beyond her emotional pain. To get the medical help she needed.
And the mother in me feels shame. Women, she was one of us. She didn't have our attitude, our faith in ourselves, or our ability to project ourselves beyond our fears.
But she was still one of us.
I wish her peace.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
(07-22) 16:33 PDT WALNUT CREEK
First, Judith Elizabeth Williams took her two cats to the shelter. Then
she brought the family dog to the veterinarian, had it euthanized, and
wrote a suicide note.
Then, investigators say, the 51-year-old Walnut Creek woman got in
the car with her 16-year-old son, Adam Findley Williams, and drove up
Mount Diablo. Near the top of the 3,849-foot peak, at a lookout with
panoramic views of the Bay Area, she shot the teenager to death with a
.357 handgun and turned the gun on herself, authorities said Wednesday.
Judith Williams was having custody disagreements with her
ex-husband, who had remarried, and was having money problems, said
Contra Costa County sheriff's Capt. Dan Terry. Those "were the primary
motivating" reasons behind the murder-suicide Friday, he said.
However, Adam Williams' father, Jim Williams, said custody of their
son wasn't an issue. Although his ex-wife had financial difficulties,
he said, she also suffered from mental problems.
"His mom was such an angry person – she took offense to things very
easily," Jim Williams said. He said he hadn't sought custody of Adam
after his 1996 divorce because "I didn't want to provoke her."
Nevertheless, Judith Williams had never made any threats to harm her
son, who was a student at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, her
"She loved him and wouldn't do him any harm," Jim Williams said. "When this happened, we were absolutely shocked."
Judith Williams clearly planned the murder-suicide, authorities
said. She had disposed of the family pets in the two days before she
died, and left behind a long suicide note in her Blackwood Drive home.
It "implied this was what she was doing and that she was taking her son with her," Terry said.
State Parks police officers found the bodies about 10 p.m. Friday at
a lookout point on Summit Road, which leads to the top of Mount Diablo.
Authorities withheld news of the deaths while they investigated the
Adam Williams' body was found near the edge of the viewing area. His
mother was found a few feet away on a park bench. Their car was in the
Investigators determined that Judith Williams shot her son in the
chest and head before shooting herself in the head, Terry said.
The gun was registered to Judith Williams, authorities said. The
weapon appeared new, but it was not immediately clear when she had
obtained it, Terry said.
Adam Williams would have been a junior in the fall at Las Lomas
High, where he was a member of the track and cross country teams.
"All he ever wanted was for people to accept him and love him and
try to help people as much as he possibly could," his father said. "It
sounds trite, but he was just a great, great kid. He took a lot of
personal pride in his capabilities."
He was "absolutely fearless" and loved to try new things, including tackling a "ropes course" in Lake Tahoe, his father said.
Judith Williams filed for divorce from Jim Williams in 1996, and
issues were litigated until at least 2001, according to Contra Costa
County Superior Court records.
She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 1999, and her debts were discharged, federal court records show.
E-mail Henry K. Lee at email@example.com.