WASHINGTON, D.C. —
Margaret Wenger speaks adoringly of her son Curt.
“He was a very beautiful baby and a lovely child, obedient and for a long time he was very happy,” she said as she spoke on the University of Central Oklahoma campus, where she teaches English to international students for another organization.
In California, Curt enjoyed his teachers, school, loved to play soccer and was good enough to be on a team. He found joy in music, especially the classical genre. He mastered the clarinet and the piano, but also found pleasure in listening to music.
Wenger said her son was a well-behaved young man who was jealous of the attention his brother got for being awful. He was good at taking care of his brother.
“Curt was the ideal child,” Wenger said.
In junior high, Curt had a friend who even his mother thought was weird. He and his friend invented their own games. When he entered high school, Curt started losing his joy. He had a rocky relationship with a music instructor and gave up playing the clarinet, but still played the piano.
He had good friends, but he didn’t have a lot of them. He did not want to be “like the fellas,” but he received a lot of positive attention from older female students. He was an excellent mathematician like his father. He hung out with individuals who would be considered social misfits. He wanted to be different.
“He was used to being a nerd and he was comfortable,” Wenger said. “He cultivated that. He tried to be different.”
After Wenger and her husband divorced, Curt spent a lot of time with his father. At one point, when some concerns arose, he was examined by a psychologist who found him to be a normal person.
Curt began to dislike his mother. During a period of several years, he grew darker. His grades were fine when he dropped out of high school; he just didn’t want to go to school anymore. After receiving guidance from his parents, he would later get his GED.
Then Curt became uncommunicative. He would spend hours in his room. And he drew closer to the aforementioned friend from junior high, who became one of his few friends. When Curt was about 18 and not living with his mother, she learned he was drinking.
At one point, Wenger told Curt’s father that she thought they should intervene. After that, Curt began attempting to kill himself. His parents took him everywhere seeking professional help, but she was told they could not keep him since he was not a threat to himself or others.
One day, during an incident at her home, Curt became physical with his mother and was choking her. She was able to call for his stepfather. Curt stopped and left.
“That was the last time I saw him alive,” Wenger said as she vividly recalled the incident.
Wenger was an assistant principal at a California school, located about 53 miles from her home and about 40 miles from her ex-husband’s workplace. One day she went out for yard duty and saw her ex-husband standing there. She knew why he had come.
“I was numb,” she said of hearing that her son had committed suicide. “I didn’t cry. I hollered when he told me.”
Wenger said Curt had stolen a credit card from his father and disappeared. He bought many of his favorite things, rented a swanky hotel in upper-class Los Angeles by the week. He partied and drank. One night, when he had not paid for the week, the hotel manager noticed the door was locked and called the police. He was found dead in the room. Curt was nearing his 21st birthday.
Wenger closed off her emotions. Her mind took over and she started thinking about all the things she had to do before the end of the day. For a long time she focused on the moment: Administrative tasks to finish before she could leave, other tasks to do, planning the funeral, how to tell relatives.
After hearing the news she went home and found eight messages on her phone. She couldn’t bear the idea of answering them and tossed it across the room. Then she grieved.
Curt had saved papers he considered important — diaries, journals, essays — and kept them in a box. Wenger went through every line of every paper and often cried during the experience. What she read gave her insight into his emotional state of mind.
Wenger said when someone asked Curt’s brother how it felt that Curt was in hell (for taking his own life), his brother said, “You don’t understand. He didn’t go to hell, he left hell.”
“And I started to realize that that’s probably true,” Wenger said. “And that took away all the anger. It was his life and it was his private hell. He chose to end it that way. That was OK with me. That was his choice. I can’t say that I’m not gonna grieve, but I can say I’m not mad anymore.”
Wenger, now age 74, said she still is not sure that she has her head back together again. Several times during the interview she paused as emotions welled up inside her.
“Anybody who’s been through this will tell you time does not heal it, and it doesn’t,” she said. “It gives you coping mechanisms. It enables you to cope better with the pain.”
Forgiving her son helped free her from the pain, she said.
Stakeholders offer Feb. 16 suicide prevention workshop
WASHINGTON, D.C. —
Margaret Wenger speaks adoringly of her son Curt.
- Local News
Senate hopefuls meet in first debate
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The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee hosted a debate Wednesday for three of the seven Republicans running for the U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.
Oklahoma City FC invites fans to design club scarf
Oklahoma’s top-tier soccer club, Oklahoma City FC, invites soccer fanatics across Oklahoma to be a part of its future by designing its scarf.
Scarves are a tradition among soccer clubs and are typically a team’s most recognizable accessory. Scarves are a matter of pride for hard-core supporters and feature team colors, logo and inspiring slogans. Scarves are a part of a team’s identity.
Agency clarifies earthquake-related misinformation
A state agency says misinformation related to the debate about the cause of more earthquakes across Central Oklahoma includes oil well types, well numbers and injection pressure.
The Prague sequence of 2011 along the Wilzetta Fault zone included a significant foreshock, a main shock of magnitude 5.7 and numerous aftershocks. It has been suggested that this sequence represents tremors triggered by fluid injection.
More recently, earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Jones, Arcadia Lake, Edmond, Guthrie, Langston and Crescent. Regulators and scientists are working together to better understand what’s causing all the shaking.
Sheriff seeks items for agency history project
If you have historic pictures or artifacts related to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, the agency is asking the public to share them.
“The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is working on a history project. If you, your family, friends or acquaintances have any old photos or artifacts related to the OCSO we would love to have them or a digital copy,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.
Easy on the coconut oil
These days, it seems like coconut oil is soaking up credit for its positive affect on a wide range of health conditions. But, still developing science around the popular oil tells a little different story.
“We know all saturated fats are not created equally, but there’s no evidence that coconut oil is better or healthier than other vegetable oils,” said Janice Hermann, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist.
Moms Club finds Easter fun at Fountains at Canterbury
The Fountains at Canterbury hosted members of the Moms Club of Edmond-West Tuesday morning for a Easter egg hunt and party complete with a special visit from the Easter Bunny. Residents at the Fountains at Canterbury hid several dozen eggs filled with prizes and candy for the children. The Moms Club of Edmond-West is a nonprofit, local chapter of stay-at-home moms who aim to support each other during the day.
City likely to borrow less for PSC due to sky-high tax revenue
During his State of the City Address Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb made a political announcement — he’s planning on running again for the office.
Lamb made the comments in the question-and-answer session of his presentation during an Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Rose Creek Golf Course, 17031 N. May Ave.
Mayor pro tem from 2005-2011, Lamb was elected mayor last year. His long record of service in Edmond includes serving on the City Council from 1993 to 2011.
The question about if he will run again came from the audience. Lamb alluded to his desire to be around when the Public Safety Center is finished, which will be in the fall of 2015; the next mayoral election will be in the spring of 2015.
New study counters pot legalization argument
A new study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences, a researcher says.
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Allergic asthma sufferers should take some precautions when exercising
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And for some, allergies and asthma go hand in hand. More than 50 percent of the 20 million Americans with asthma have allergic asthma, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. Over 2.5 million children under age 18 suffer from allergic asthma.
Dr. Fielding’s variance denied by close vote
Reverse-angle parking will continue at the 13 N. University Drive office of Dr. Brad Fielding. The Edmond City Council rejected a variance request by the local optometrist to end the city’s pilot project in front of his medical facility.
Councilman Nick Massey and Councilwoman Victoria Caldwell supported Fielding’s variance request that was dismissed in a 3-2 vote.
Four parking lines were striped late last year at Fielding’s business after the city opened new bicycle lanes along University. The city cites the safety for bicyclists and motorists who traditionally depart while backing into traffic as the main reasons for introducing reverse-angle parking.
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