Devon at first glimpse was the typical 2 almost 3 year old. He had a "super-hero", he had his "Ki-Ki" everywhere he went, he ran around with his Aunts, Uncles and Cousins acting like unleashed wild animals, he made you laugh with the silly things he would say or silly ways that he would act, he had his favorite family members, he spilled his milk at every meal, he got into mischief, got into make-up and made himself "pretty", he drew on the walls, toilets and furniture, he had a pet ferret that he named "Stinky", he gave you heart attacks when he would swing off canopy beds and furniture in attempt to be the true Spiderman, or get so excited while playing that he would run, trip and fall mouth first onto the hard ground, he had an obsession with balloons, and eating Cheetos. But that was just if you caught a glimpse of who he was. Once you spent any decent amount of time with him you would have discovered that Devon was so much more than just a "typical" child of his age. Devon was so smart, so well mannered, so polite, so mature, loving, caring, affectionate, and full of life.
As I mentioned earlier, Devon had a "Super-Hero" but it didn't stop there. Devon WAS Spiderman in his own eyes. He lived and breathed to be just like him. If he wasn't watching Spiderman, he was playing Spiderman whether it be with his Cousin Andi or with me. We would always play the part of "Mary Jane" and he would always rescue us. One of my favorite "Spiderman" memories of Devon was when he pretended to shoot webs out of his own wrists as he made the sound effects with a grin that went from ear to ear. He was my little Spiderman.
Devon also had what you would call a "security blanket". We all called it what he called it, which was his "Ki-Ki". He never left home without it. His Ki-Ki was his signature item, even above his Spiderman doll that also usually accompanied us wherever we went. I actually still sleep with his Ki-Ki to this very day. It's not the same as having it wrapped around him as he was wrapped in my arms, but I can close my eyes and imagine that he is still wrapped in it, wrapped in my arms.
Along with reenacting Spiderman, he also loved to be a "bear" with his young family members. His Uncle Sam and he would run back and forth from one end of the house to the next chasing the girls while roaring like bears. They all got a kick out of the chase and catch game and we all got a kick out of listening to the hysterically laughing kids running so hard upstairs that it sounded like a herd of elephants on a rampage.
One of everyone's favorite memories of Devon is him spilling his cup of milk at EVERY single meal. It NEVER failed, whether it was at the beginning, middle, or end that milk was getting tipped over! In the beginning it was funny, in the middle it got a little frustrating because we would have to stop our meal to clean up the milk before it got all over everything, but very soon after the frustrating part started it ended. We all grew to expect it, we all began to actually wait for it and once it happened, we would all sit and laugh about it.
Devon was also very infatuated with books and singing. They both coincided at bed time. First we would read a book, and then we would spend about 10 minutes singing songs. There was never really an order in which we sang. Sometimes we would sing all three songs and be done with it, sometimes we would sing each of them several times, but usually we would sing until he felt he had sang enough "Jesus loves me", "The itsy-bitsy Spiderman" and "You are my sunshine" to get him through the night.
One of my uncountable favorite memories of Devon actually occurred at approximately 1:36am April 3rd, 2001. The very minute that Devon was born and laid on my chest. As I laid there staring at this slimy little baby that I just gave birth to after feeling him grow inside of me for the previous 9 months, I quickly became oblivious to the fact of everyone running around me, cutting umbilical cords, sucking stuff out of his nose and mouth, counting toes and fingers and became so overwhelmed with a feeling that I had never felt before, a feeling I never knew existed. I was completely one hundred percent filled with so much love it was and still is to this moment, literally breath taking. I laid in that bed with him on my chest just staring at him, thinking to myself "WOW, I created this perfect little person". I bent my head down, kissed him on his lips and whispered to him "it’s gonna be you and me forever" and from that moment on, that's just how we have been.
In the almost 3 years that followed that morning that I gave birth to him, I not only had the opportunity to watch Devon grow, I had the opportunity to watch myself grow as well. As I taught him the basics of life, he in turn taught me the importance of life and what life could be like when you had someone to love like we loved each other. I needed him as much if not so much more then he needed me. It seemed that no matter what I was going through, it was all going to be ok as long as at the end of the day I would hear "MOMMIES HERE" as Devon would run as fast as his little legs could carry him towards me, throw is arms around my neck and squeeze and would say "Momma, I wova you". That was the perfect ending to every work day.
I no longer have Devon running up to me at the end of the day, but I do have the 2 next best things. I now have 2 more sons. Kodah just turned 2 and Keeghan just turned 1. Since the birth of Keeghan, I have had the privilege of staying home with my boys. As I watch them grow, I am constantly saddened with the fact that my 3 boys will never play together. I will NEVER have the chance to see my sons form an unbreakable brotherly bond. My 2 sons that I have now will NEVER physically know their big brother.
I could go on for almost 3 years about things that I remember about Devon, because I can honestly say that I remember pretty much everything. I can still remember the exact smell of his skin, the way his hair would tickle my cheek while he had his head buried into my neck. The way my heart instantly felt at ease as he would hug me or lay his head on my chest and fall asleep night after night. How my heart would skip a beat every time he would stop what he was doing and out of the blue just say "Momma, I wova you". I remember feeling that I had finally come to life in that moment that Devon was born and laying on my chest, and feeling completely lost, alone and empty the moment the doctor told me "I am sorry, we did all that we could".
In February of 2003 Devon and I moved to Mesa Arizona. I was still a very young and naive mother, so I moved in with my Aunt and Uncle. They took me under their wings and taught me how to raise a perfect little gentleman, while also helping me balance working and going to college so that I could provide a suitable life for the both of us.
One of the biggest "issues" my Aunt and Uncle had with Devon and I was our sleeping habits. They insisted that it was unhealthy for the both of us to still be sleeping together. They thought that it was only Devon who insisted on sleeping with me night after night, but they were wrong. He did insist on sleeping with me, but when I insisted on him sleeping in his own bed, he would sleep without me. That was until I was ready to go to bed. I would go lay in my bed and would honestly try my hardest to sleep, but it never once failed. Either I would go curl up in his little toddler bed with him or I would gently pick him up and carry him to bed with me where he would resume his position with his head on my chest. I would rub his hair for a few minutes, breathe in his smell and eventually fall into a peaceful sleep myself.
Devon loved everyone, but there were a few special ones that I must mention. I am proud to say I was his favorite. The next few are all pretty much tied because each of them had their own special bond with Devon. First there was his Ant Jusy. (Aunt Judy or "AJ") She was the first one he connected with after we moved to Arizona. As she said at his funeral it all began with a "throw your head back and laugh cackle". In the beginning he wouldn't budge at her attempts to be near anyone but his mommy. But after much persistence he gave in, and the bond began.
We always tease AJ about being the "mean" one because when all others had tried to get any of the kids to do what we said, all she would have to do is say their names and instantly they were doing as they were told. But that’s not how the kids, especially Devon view her. She was his friend. She showed him love and friendship that only she could give. He would ask me almost daily after we moved out of their house if we could go to aunt jusy's to say hi, so a phone call and a mile later there we were in the driveway.
At the same time of having the bond with AJ he formed a bond with "Michael Michael" aka Uncle Michael or UM. They had a bond that I cannot even begin to explain. They were the men of the house, and they stuck together. UM was almost like a father to Devon, they needed each other more than either of them knew.
Next to join the wonderful bond of Devon was his Pa-Pa, my daddy. Just like with AJ and UM, Devon had his very own love for pa-pa. I'll always remember visiting pa-pa at work. The second we walked through that door Devon was running over to pa-pa asking for candy. I cannot forget "gamma", my Mom. She was the cookie supplier! She and Devon also had a bond that was so special that I cannot put it into words.
Everyone that knew Devon loved him. All but one. March 10th 2004 was the last night that I ever saw my son alive. The last night I ever felt his arms around me or heard my favorite words, "Momma, I wova you". March 11th 2004 I woke up at 5:57am to an empty house and an open door. At approximately 6:15am the local police pulled my lifeless son from our apartment complex pool. At 7:20am, my son was pronounced dead.
March 12th 2004 the person that took my sons life away from me admitted to taking my son, holding him under water until he stopped moving, going home and going to sleep before awakening later that morning to go to work. A few days later, he did a jail house interview where he made the accusation that I masterminded the whole thing. (He has since admitted to interviewers that it was a lie and that I had no involvement)
I didn't think my world could shatter more than it already had. I was wrong. I was being accused of my own son's murder. My life was over, my reason for life was gone, and he was trying to hurt me even more; and he did.
The trial for my son's murderer finally began August 6th 2007 and ended November 14th, 2007. The jury decided that he will be given the punishment of death. I know some disagree with that punishment but the way I see it, why should he have the chance to live? He didn't give that chance to my son; he didn't give any consideration to me or my family.
I was told when I first lost Devon that it would "get easier". I have since gave up on that hope and came to the realization that life without Devon in it will never get "easier". It has it's up's and it's downs, but has never gotten easier.
I still don't have an answer as to why that in-humane thing decided to take the life of my little Angel, nor why God allowed it to happen. I would like to say that if you too know what it feels like to lose a child I cannot send out enough sympathy to you. I wish I could say something that would take away the pain or even ease it a little, but honestly I don't think that there is anything that I can say that will ease the pain.
If you happen to be someone that still has a child, PLEASE do me this one favor. No matter how young or old they are, take a few minutes and give them a "big squeeze" look deep into their beautiful eyes and let that perfect feeling run through your veins, from the tip of your scalp to the tips of your toes and memorize that feeling, because trust me no matter what you encounter in life, that feeling will always be the best thing that you could ever have.
A letter to Devon...
I still can't believe that you are gone. "Gone", the word still gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes. There hasnt been an hour gone by that you havent been in my thoughts. You know, I still see little boys with dark skin and short hair and I stop and watch them until I am convinced that it's not you. How silly is that? I just can't get myself to believe that you're with Jesus now and not waiting for me to come and get you from school. I am reminded of you almost daily as I watch your little brother grow. He looks just like you. I tell him about you all of the time. I know you would have been so proud of him. I feel so lucky to have such beautiful children. I can't wait until I can hold both of you at the same time! Thank you for being you. Thank you for loving me and making me the most important person in your life. Thank you for making me the luckiest mommy. You are my hero. I found myself in your smiles and in your laugh. If it weren't for you I would have never learned the meaning of true love. I will never forget you, never regret you, and never stop missing you. You are the best thing that will ever happen to me. I can't wait to have your arms around me again... If you ever need someone to kiss away your fears or ya just need your mommy, I will be there without hesitation.
Be a good boy...
I "wova" you bubby.
A special note..
Hello, my name is Monica aka "Gamma" or Kristal's mom... I have several stories about Devon but I would like to mention a few of my favorites:
My first one is the night he was born. I thought that giving birth to my own children was the best thing in the world, but watching my grandson be born was just as exciting. He was so small and he had these huge hands and Kristal's ears. His eyes were huge and bright.
My next one is from when he was almost 2 years old, Kristal had gone out with her Aunt and Uncle and Devon stayed with us. He was not used to mom being gone and didn't want to go to bed without her. He was so tired, but unable to fall asleep in our bed. So, Rick and I were watching a movie and I held him in my arms and rocked him to sleep. I needed this so bad. See, I have a son 5 weeks older then Devon and he didn't want to be held anymore. I got to hold Devon for a long time even long after he had fallen asleep and my arms had no more feeling in them. Thank you Devon.
The last story is from just a week before Devon was taken. We were watching Devon for Kristal while she was in the hospital having surgery. Devon and Sam (my son), were playing zoo. They were running up and down the hall making animal noises. It was noisy but so much fun too watch. I also miss him asking me for a cookie. I love the way he said my name, Gamma. I miss you Devon. Say Hi to Jesus for me.