A family divided and reunited by death

Melinda Moore DeJean wasn’t supposed to be able to have children. So when her son arrived on Aug. 3, 1989, she called him Jeremy because she was told the name means “Gift from God.”

“Jammer,” as he came to be known, was not only Melinda’s miracle baby, he was a birthday present to herself, delivered 25 years to the day after her own birth. It was a difficult labor that Melinda was lucky to survive.

But that blessing became a burden after Jammer died last year at age 24. He had been through a horrific, three-year medical ordeal triggered by massive Grand mal seizures. Forevermore, Aug. 3 would now be a reminder of the greatest loss a mother could ever bear. And as that date again approached last month, Melinda flatly told her husband she didn’t think she could get through it.

“For all those years, it was great that they had a birthday in common,” Michael DeJean said. “But after Jammer passed away, I just knew that Aug. 3 was going to be a bad, bad day.”

Melinda never lived to see it. Two days before, ruined by a year of unweighable grief and her own battle with an insidious form of lupus, Melinda ended her life.

Michael DeJean was wrecked, but not altogether surprised. “For Jammer’s entire life, Melinda would say to me, ‘If anything ever happens to him, I am on the next bus out of here,’ ” Michael said. “And she meant it.”

And in less than 14 months, this loving family of three was now a lonely family of one.