“It gives his friends and family a way to connect with him,” he said. “Every now and then to just look back on some of the memories.”
But Debbie said she isn’t a fan of Facebook because of what it does to socially anxious people. She said when kids see parties they aren’t invited to via Facebook, they feel left out.
“Everyone seems to know what everyone’s doing,” Debbie said. “(They) glamorize it.”
Debbie was worried about her children finding out about Kevin jumping from their window via Facebook or text message immediately after it happened.
“It’s good now, but (text messaging) almost circumvents the old-fashion phone call,” she said.
Jennifer plans to keep Kevin’s Facebook page up forever. She compared it to his bedroom, which remains untouched. The family still has Kevin’s clothing, and Jennifer wears his sweatshirts.
“Everything is the same,” Jennifer said.
Thursday marked six months since Kevin jumped from his parent’s second-story window in their home in Centreville, and the reason behind his suicide remains unknown.
“(I have) since talked to other parents that lost children like this,” Debbie said. “It is a very impulsive act. I don’t even know if they know what they are doing.”
But Debbie said Kevin wasn’t an impulsive person, which is why it doesn’t make sense. The sudden nature of Kevin’s death has been hard on Jennifer because she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. She also struggles with the purposefulness of suicide.
“It didn’t have to happen,” she said. “That is the hardest part of it. He chose that.”
But Jennifer said she has become a stronger person because of Kevin’s death. She said she used to be a sensitive person but doesn’t feel anything can go wrong now.
“After you have been through something, you learn to just accept things,” she said. “You definitely get more out of life going though something like that.”
It is difficult for Jennifer to be at Tech — the place she found out about Kevin’s suicide. She said it’s hard to focus on schoolwork, and if she lets her mind go, her emotions are tough to handle. But she said she is a private crier, so not many people other than her boyfriend see her upset.
“My roommates are just like, ‘You’re such a strong person,’” she said. “I’m like, ‘Not really.’”
Debbie said there isn’t a second that goes by that she doesn’t think about Kevin, but she realized her other three children needed their parents back, so life had to go on.
“You never forget it,” she said. “And it is a pit in your stomach, but you have to move forward. You can’t move on. You have to move forward.”
Although the Lawalls live their lives, one question remains: Why did Kevin kill himself? Jennifer said she still wonders if there was something she could have said to her brother.
“You really don’t know what they were thinking at that last moment,” Debbie said. “You really don’t know what different things you should’ve or could’ve done because it’s so hard to understand.”
Jennifer said she thinks her family kept Kevin alive for as long as they could — at some point, Debbie said, they have to accept they cannot change what happened.
“We will never have closure because we will never know why,” Debbie said, “at least not while we are here on earth.”
It — still — doesn’t make sense.