In Memory of James and the McAndrews

Today marks an anniversary, one that also leaves an ache in my heart. Ten years ago today, James’s twin brother murdered James and his parents. The brother was an undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic and his parents were trying to help him, he had an appointment coming up. I don’t know what set off Joe, but he grabbed a sword (Samurai I believe) and attacked his family. He killed all three instantly.

The last time I talked to Jim was about 6 months before he died. I liked him a bit and I liked him when I was a 9th grader. He was nice and quiet, very kind and never made fun of anyone. I was bullied and that was a great thing about him. I remember the last time I talked to him, I was agitated and I stopped talking to him.

I remember when breaking news disrupted the news segment I was watching. I thought I was dreaming. “Family of three murdered inside their home. The suspect is a family member…” I was too stunned to cry. I don’t even want to think about how they must have felt during, it makes me sick to my stomach to imagine and I can only hope it was instant.

Three people lost their lives; one was 23 and was just starting out in life. I can’t argue about mental illness, about gun laws or knife laws, or any laws that are on the book. This probably couldn’t have been prevented, as sad as it was. Schizophrenia is hard, paranoid schizophrenia is even harder. Since most aren’t violent, this couldn’t have been predicted. Bad things happen, unfortunately.

I miss Jim. I didn’t know he had a twin, the twin didn’t go to school with us so there were probably always some issues present. I never met the McAndrews, but they sounded like lovely people.

Today, on this 10th anniversary, I celebrate the lives of Jim and the McAndrews. May their memories be a blessing and never forgotten.

From the Inquirer’s article:

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “In Memory of James and the McAndrews”

  1. This story about your friend Jim and his twin brother Joe murdering their McAndrews family is too horrible for words, Jessica Marie. I remember you mentioning it before. I believe I remarked at the time that the plot seems ripped from the script of a fictional movie. I know you regret that the last words you spoke to Jim were not the most friendly, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Many people regret the last words they spoke to a friend or family member just before they died unexpectedly. The McAndrews tragedy raises the usual questions. Could it have been avoided? Were there warning signs that could have and should have been heeded and steps taken to prevent what happened? We’ll never know. I appreciated the song tributes – the rap song about the loss of a friend and the memorial video of Chester Bennington. They are ideal for this occasion as you mark yet another solemn anniversary in your life.

    I wish you a safe weekend, if not a totally happy one, dear friend JM!


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