Jon Raymond, 3/14/68-3/29/1991
Jon Raymond, my first child—arrived a month late but otherwise as ordered. Chin to chest, between an embarrassing “V” of spraddled legs, I watched large, latexed-green hands lift a tiny, shimmering newborn to my sight over a full moon of belly. Through the surgical mask, Doctor Preston rumbled, “Congratulations, Mrs. Hughes. You are the proud mother of a fine baby boy,” Still gasping, thrilled at the sight of the world’s newest baby, my first thought hit like a missile: “Here is the One who will teach me all I need to know.”
I always knew parents are supposed to teach their children. But somehow, in this first post-partum sight of Jon, though horizontal, I stood… corrected.
And, boy, did Jon teach. Every day of his too-short twenty-three years alive, Jon just being who he was forced this mother to grow, stretch and become in ways impossible otherwise. His suicide erased me, but in time, seeking out HIS truths began a new learning odyssey. Though long “gone”, by staying open to him and “all I need to know” every day, Jon keeps me evolving.
While he lived, I had no idea (and I’m sure he didn’t, either) that I wasn’t the only one Jon taught. He helped and influenced a huge number of others in the short time he gave himself. Jon didn’t know all he did for and meant to others, but his Mother would find out, too late and the hardest way possible: in his stead. For every step of the way, Jon did nothing wrong and everything right to make his life a true hero’s journey, full of lessons worth learning.
Jon’s suicide is ever an impossible tragedy for me, but more, for everyone alive who really did lose someone who, as others described him, “could have saved the world”.
Yet his life and suicide in time grew to a story-driven instruction manual able to, at every life stage, help others survive what he and we didn’t. For all that cost his life can show and tell others how to ensure a better, saner, fuller experience. Not as he would have had he made it past a panicked, shocking moment—but too late, as his life stories and my field of psychology can put together.
This book is written to honor my son and greatest teacher, and continue his life on earth in ways that will honor, inform, aid and abet everyone else’s lives at every stage of life. Maybe, in this way, Jon still CAN save the world…
All blessings on your own live, miraculous, one of a kind, Hero’s Journey.
It was an Honor to Be Jon’s Mother