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IT'S A BOY! Dennis Ralph Yarbrough Jr.

    

Dennis was born Thursday, March 11th, 1976 at 6:56 AM at Cape Fear Valley Hospital in Fayetteville, NC; Cumberland County, To Stella Elena Yarbrough and Dennis Ralph Yarbrough. He was named after his daddy. He weighed 5 lbs. 15 1/2 ozs; and was 19 1/2 inches tall. Head 13 inches, Chest 12 1/2 inches, Abdomen 6 1/2 inches. He had sandy brown hair and hazel eyes. His Doctors were McKutchen, Hayes and Hardison.
He was a perfect healthy baby boy!

 
LITTLE DENNIS IS GROWING:

Little Dennis is growing bigger everyday. Learning and trying to get into everything around him. He is such a curious baby! I use to dress him up in little outfits and take pictures of him. This one particular day, I had tried on about (6) different outfits and took his picture. He was soooo patient...Smiling and laughing in every one of them. He took his first trip on March 23rd, 1976. We went to his Great Aunt's house in Rocky Mount. He slept all the way there and back. His first trip to the beach was April 18th, 1976. He was about 5 weeks old. We went to Carolina Beach. We kept him covered so he would not get to much sun. He is so precious...
He is (5) months and (3) days old, in this picture.


 
LITTLE DENNIS IS GROWING INTO A TODDLER:

Dennis is growing and learning new things everyday. He is pulling his self up and standing alone, and learning how to walk. He's holding and drinking out of a cup now. He is showing his (likes and dislikes).He likes to ride in a car, be rocked, talked to and played with, playing outside and watching T.V. His dislikes; Changing his diapers and clothes, being left in a room alone without any noise, his face washed and a bath. (First words) are da,da, ma, ma, bye, bye, hey there, pup, pup. (First sentence) is Mommy see dog. (First Question) is What's that? Usually talking about animals, strangers or just objects or something he hasn't seen before. (Amusing sayings) are Dog, shut up, I said, Big Mouth! I'll go ride on pa, pa's boat and go round and round. When his dad and I are getting ready to leave for work , and take him to the sitters, he looks at his dog with his hands on his hips and says, move Lucky, I have to go to works.

 
DENNIS TURNS ONE YEAR OLD:


Dennis is one year old. We gave him a little party over at Granny's house. He put his fingers all in the cake. He had ballons and ice cream and got lots of presents. He was one tired little boy when it was over. He had a lot of fun playing with his ballons.



 
DENNIS TURN TWO YEARS OLD:






Dennis gave new meaning to the phrase (The Terrible Two's). It was hard to keep up with him. He was into everything! He was curious about how things worked, so he tear them apart. I can't ever remember him sleeping for (8) hours. He'd try to stay up all night and be up before (6) the next morning. And God help us if we didn't hear him get up. I stayed up one night cleaning the house spotless. I was woken up the next morning with his cry. I jumped out of bed to see to him and couldn't find him. I ran through the house and entering the kitchen, I slid across the floor busting my rear-end. He had smeared a whole tub of butter on my kitchen floor and topped it with a gallon of milk. I found him standing outside his bedroom window, barefoot and in his pj's, crying. He had opened the window and crawled out and couldn't get back in. It was freezing cold outside. When I asked him why he did this, he said he wanted to play outside. It really scared me, thinking about what could have happened to him. But it was always a roller coaster with him. He was always up to something. 
Dennis had a very loving side too. Especially when he wasn't feeling good. He wanted me to hold him and didn't want me out of his sight. He was very jealous over me. He did not want me to pay attention to other children. If he got into an argument with a playmate and I punished him for it, he would say I didn't love him and I loved the other child more
.







 
DENNIS TURNS THREE YEARS OLD:

Here Comes Trouble! Dennis is a hard little boy to keep up with. He should have been the star of the show (Dennis the Menace)! At times he could look at me with those angel eyes of his and would melt my heart. And at other times, because of his behavior, I'd want to wring his little neck! lol. I had to work on his birthday, so I took a cake over to the sitter's and he had a little party over there. He don't look too happy. I think he misses his mommy.
He got the boo-boo above his eye, playing on the floor with his daddy. His head came in contact with a glass of ice tea. Ouch!

 
DENNIS TURNS FOUR YEARS OLD:

Dennis is getting smarter and cuter as he gets older. He is fascinated with everything around him. He ask plenty of questions and when you give him the answers he wants to know why to the answer also. He loves school buses and is eager to go to school. He doesn't understand why he can't go now...He shows a lot of interest in animals, especially dogs. Mom has always been a dog lover. And we've always had dogs.

 
DENNIS TURNS FIVE YEARS OLD:

Oh, What an imagination! He is all Boy! And so handsome...Dennis was so emotional. When he wanted to do something, he had to do it right then. When he got angry, he had a terrible temper. And when he was happy and loving, he was a Angel. He wasn't afraid to show his feelings, good or bad. Sometimes he'd get a little carried away by his temper. He couldn't control it.
Dennis started showing a lot of anger and behavior problems at this age. His dad and I use to try to talk to him about what might be bothering him, but he would never talk to us about it. I'm not even sure he knew why he was doing some of the things he was doing. By this time, his dad and I had separated. I don't know if that could have had something to do with his behavior or not.
He starts Kindergarden this year, and he is thrilled! He finally get's to ride on a school bus. My little man is growing up...

 
DENNIS TURNS SIX YEARS OLD:

Dennis is growing up so fast. Ready to start 1st grade. He is very smart in school, and he really loves it. The teachers are always bragging on him. We are so proud! Well, everything is going fine for a while and then I start getting calls from the school. Sometimes it would be Dennis disrupting the class. Other times it would be Dennis was fighting with another student or cussing the teacher. I'd go and talk with the teacher and then I'd discipline Dennis. I'd talk to him and try to find out why he couldn't control his temper and he'd always say it was someone else's fault. Someone else would always start it...To give him the benefit of doubt, I would arrange a meeting with his teacher to address this. She assured me that nobody was picking on Dennis. That it was the other way around. This went on until they finally decided to have him tested. He was diagnosed with ADHD. They assigned him to a special class, with hopes that this might help. It didn't... If anything this made it worse. Dennis was ashamed to be in this special class. He said people made fun of him...

 
DENNIS TURNS SEVEN YEARS OLD:

Dennis is such a sweet boy. He is good hearted, kind and generous and full of love. He has a good sense of humor and very helpful around the house.
It's almost like he has two sides. One full of anger and another full of love. 
We start having a lot of behavior problems with him at school and at home. He does not want to follow rules. We have started seeing a Child Psychologist to try and find out what the problem is and how to deal with it and with him. Things get a little better for a while and then something happens and we try something different. They never suggested putting him on medication.
His daddy and I was separated and Dennis and I was living in Georgia with Ronnie (my husband now). I thought maybe being separated from his daddy was causing him to act out, but later we moved back to NC and things didn't get any better.


 
DENNIS TURNS EIGHT YEARS OLD:





At this age, he thinks he knows it all...He doesn't take NO for an answer, and always has to know the reason WHY. Kids this age does not understand the dangers around them and that we as parent's are just trying to keep them safe. He does not understand why he can't ride his bike to another neighborhood or why he has to check in every few minutes. When I'd try to explain why he couldn't do something, he always came back with so-in-so gets to do it, why can't I. And of course I'd come back with I am not so-in-so's parent. I care what happens to you...
In the picture from left to right, Dennis is the 3rd child.






 
DENNIS TURNS NINE YEARS OLD:

Things are not much different at this age. He thinks he grown...We still get into arguments on what he can and can't do. Even when I say no, a lot of times he goes behind my back and does things anyway.
Dennis and I have a good relationship though, We always have. I think even though we didn't agree on some things, he always knew I was doing what I thought was best for him. I always told him I loved him. I told him a lot, that I didn't like or approve of the things he was doing, but I would always love him.


 
DENNIS TURNS TEN YEARS OLD:


Dennis is extremely smart. The teacher's at school are always bragging on how smart he is. I can remember a time at a Parent/Teacher Conference that his teacher said that when they got there new computers in, that Dennis was the only child in the class that didn't need any help. He figured it out on his own. At that time we didn't have a computer in our home and as far as I know he had never be on one. His conduct at school and at home was the only thing that was slowing him down. His teacher said that she honestly thought Dennis was trying but that he couldn't manage to stay out of trouble for long.
I also think that Dennis tried real hard but for some reason he just couldn't control his anger.



 
DENNIS TURNS ELEVEN YEARS OLD:


Dennis really gets into music at this age. He loves to sing and every time you look at him, he has ear phones hanging out of his ears! He takes his walkman every where he goes. He loves all kinds of music. But I think his favorite is rap. He knew a lot of songs by heart. I use to get tickled, because we would be riding along in the car and he would be singing loud. Bless his heart, he took after me, cause I can't carry a tune either. Ha. His voice would start cracking and I'd start laughing. He also started getting into video games. I don't know which was the worse, seeing him on the games or seeing the earphones dangling out of his ears!



 
DENNIS TURNS TWELVE YEARS OLD:



OH BOY, here we go. Almost a teenager but not quite... Dennis goes through a lot of changes during this time. He starts really getting into girls. He likes them all! He is a little shy around them but he still finds ways of letting them know he likes them. Dennis was always a nice looking boy. He took a lot of interest in his appearance, especially his hair! He was always looking for new ways to style it.
I got Dennie this sweat shirt at Myrtle Beach the summer of 1987. This is his school picture in 1988. I told him that when we looked back on this picture we would think it was taken in 1987. But I remembered...




 
DENNIS (AS A TEENAGER)





Finally, he's a teenager! and with all the good stuff that comes with it...Dennis goes through a lot of changes during this period too. He really tries hard to make his family and his teachers proud of him. He really does well in his school work but at times he gets in trouble and gets expelled. Which causes him to get behind. It's a real trying experience for all of us. Dennis got to the point where he wouldn't listen to me anymore and he was constantly saying that he wanted to go and live with his dad. So, his dad and I talked it over and decided it might be good for him. Dennis rebelled against him too. We tried counseling, punishment, spanking and talking, but nothing we did seemed to work for long. Some of the things he was doing was serious and we were scared he was going to get hurt or sent off somewhere.
Dennis had just been swimming in this picture. 






 
DENNIS TURNS FIFTEEN/SIXTEEN YEARS OLD: (GOES TO ECKERD WILDERNESS CAMP)








What we feared would happen, did! Dennis started getting into more and more trouble at school. He was also getting into trouble at home too. Between the school's recommendation and the court, he had to go to a Wilderness camp. This camp was set up to teach troubled kids to be responsible and to follow rules. They educated them on the different aspects of life. Teaching them how to be respectable adults. They also gave them counseling on the problems they were having. Dennis spent about six months there. We could visit him on weekends (providing he hadn't gotten into any trouble the week before). Our visits were nice. I could see a change in him soon after he arrived there. At first, he hated it. But I think later, he realized they were only trying to help him. I think he learned a lot from them.
This picture was taken while we were visiting with him. I think he only had a few more weeks left. 









 
DENNIS COMES HOME FROM WILDERNESS CAMP:






Dennis comes home all excited and anxious to see everyone. He talks about what he did at camp, the Counselors and what they talked to him about and the friends he met while he was there. He had a routine to follow every day. He attended school, had homework and did chores. He got to go swimming and they even took turns cooking their meals. I could see a lot of changes in Dennis. It seemed like he had grown up.
He met this girl, Missy from school and started hanging out with her. Her parent's didn't like him, I guess because of the trouble he had been into. They started skipping school together and not showing up for two or three days at a time. Dennis would show up and act like nothing had happened. Before we knew it, she was pregnant... I talked with them and they wanted to raise the baby themselves. I ran ads; in the newspaper, trying to find them a place to live. I was looking for a travel trailer to park in our back yard so they wouldn't have any rent to pay. I figured I could keep the baby, while they worked and saved their money, to get a car and something nicer to live in when they could afford it. I run my business inside my home and did not have the room. My plans for them, fell through. All the responses I had was way out of my budget. Anyway before long, her parent's had her talked into moving in with her grandma in SC. So she broke it off with Dennis and left.
She got up with a friend of her's in SC and moved in with him. She had the baby, a boy, Jon. Dennis and I went to see him several times, but every time we went, we felt uncomfortable. (Like they didn't want us there.) I asked her on several occasions to let us take the baby out, so that we could bond with him, but she said no. There was no reason for her not to trust us with him. I asked her to call me collect to let me know how he was doing, in between the visits, but she never would. We showed up one Sunday and she had moved. It took me almost three years to find her. Then when I did, she acted as if she had done nothing wrong.
Dennis started messing up again and he was sentenced to six months suspended, providing he completed a six week program in a Military Camp, without getting into trouble. We could not visit him, until his last two weeks there. He wrote to me after he arrived there and said if he had a gun, he would kill him self. He hated it! I didn't know what to do, it scared the hell out of me! I tried to contact them and couldn't get through. So, I started writing, just as fast as I could...I put the letter in the box the next day and when the mail ran, I had gotten another letter from him. He had wrote this letter, two hours after the first. He said he was sorry he scared me, and he knew if he done something like that, it would devistate me. He said he felt better now, but that it was a real tough place to be in. They treated you just like you were in Military. You couldn't even go to the bath room without asking permission and then telling them which you had to do, #1 or #2. Then you had to ask for paper to wipe your self. He worked from sun up to sun down. Real hard labor. He said on several occasions, he wished he had chosen prison. He was forever having to do push ups, for getting into trouble. I thought this place would break him or kill him, one of the two. 
He was writing to Missy and Jon regularly, but she would not write him back. I would also write to her and she wouldn't write me back either. I went to see him Christmas, and spent 3 hours hunting her down. She knew I was coming and what time I would be there. The next time I showed up unannounced, because I couldn't get up with her. When I got there she had moved and I haven't been able to locate her. Jon is now twelve years old and I haven't seen him since he was three. I came in contact with her mother by accident and she gave me a picture of him when he was seven, but she wouldn't tell me where they were. She said she doesn't agree with what Missy is doing but all she can do is talk to her. I do not understand her. She knows that Jon is the only grandchild I will ever have. And for no reason, that I can think of, she is keeping us apart...
This picture was taken when he was a couple of weeks old. This was our second visit after he was born. Dennis loved his Son...And really wanted to get to know him.





 
DENNIS COMES HOME FROM MILITARY CAMP:



Finally, Dennis has two weeks left in there and I get to visit him. Boy, was I in for a surprise...When I walked in, he was standing there in uniform, beside a guard. I couldn't believe it! Was that really him! Gosh he looked so great! I wanted to run and hug him, but the look on his face stopped me in my tracks. He walked to me Military style and saluted the guard and asked for permission to address me. I thought, what in the hell, I'm his mother, for Christ sakes! The Officer or Guard (whatever he was) told him at ease, permission grated...Then he hugged me and we set down. He even pulled my chair out for me, Wow!
Everything was different about him. His looks, the way he walked, the way he talked, for a minute there, I was thinking what have you all done with my son? It almost felt like I didn't know him anymore...He had changed so much.
Anyway, we talked about what we were going to do when he got out in two weeks. He was coming to live with us and he was going to look for work. He was 18 years old, had gotten two GED's and he said he wasn't going back to school.
So, in two weeks, I went and picked him up and brought him home...




 
DENNIS'S NEW BEGINNING:



I was so excited to have him home with me. I had been thinking about this day for quite some time. I knew I didn't have the space for him to be comfortable in my house. I also realized he needed his privacy. So, what I decided to do was put up our two room tent and let him stay in there until we could figure something else out. He loved the idea! We put him a bed, a toilet, a table w/ chairs, a radio, and a TV. We put carpet in it and Ronnie made something to hang his clothes on. We ran cords out there for his electricity. He had a grill and a cooler to keep drinks and stuff cold. We were still looking for a small fridge to put in there. I have to say, it was right homey. I took Dennis shopping to buy some groceries, clothes, and some personal items he needed. We really had a good time getting him set up. I even joked, saying I was going to move out there with him. It was so cozy...Within a couple of days, he had gotten a job, at Food Lion. Everything was falling into place. I was so proud of him! Ronnie would either take him to work or he would ride his bike. When he got off, I would pick him up. He wanted to save his money and buy him a car and then try to get his own place.
He'd come home from work and come in a take a shower and then help me cook supper. After we'd eat, he'd help me clean up and then hang out with us and talk or watch TV. At Bedtime we'd kiss goodnite and he'd go out to the tent. We had already decided if the weather got bad, he could sleep in the day care room. Everything was working out great. And he was doing wondrful. He acted like he was very happy. And so was I. He and my husband Ronnie was getting along great. In the past, they had their up's & down's.
Dennis started going out a little with his friends, when he didn't have to work and he met a girl named Jan. They hit it off, right from the start. When him and Jan would have a spat, he would take off with the guys and stay gone three or four days. 
He called me one night and said that he was going to move in with a co-worker because he needed a room-mate. And from there, trouble started again...
This is Dennis and Jan. Taken at Jan's house, Christmas 1995.





 
1995-1996 Dennis (19/20) years old.


This was the last picture taken of Dennis before he passed. This was actually taken from a video. Made on Christmas Day at my house after we had ate Christmas dinner together.




Dennis and Jan was together for about 2 years. They'd get mad at each other and Dennis would hang out with friends a week or two and then he and Jan would get back together.
Jan was very good for Dennis. She loved him dearly...They got a place together and he was doing real good for a while.
Ronnie and I taught country line dancing, and Dennis started coming to the classes. He was really enjoying it. On Saturday night, we would go out to a country club and strut our stuff. Ha! Dennis acted like he really loved it. Dennis and I would two step and slow dance. I remember I was so proud to be going around the dance floor with him. Sweet Memories, I will never, ever forget...I use to try and get him to ask other girls to dance, but it took him a while before he would, he said, he was scared he'd mess up; with me, it didn't matter. But, Dennis caught on well, he was a good dancer. 
Jan would sometimes come to the classes with him, but I can't ever remember her coming to the club with him. I think around that time, they might have had a fallen out, and hadn't gone back together yet.
Jan was the type to try and keep Dennis at home and away from the crowd, he would hang around with. Dennis didn't liked that. At the time, I didn't really realize how much they really loved each other, so I kind of took Dennis's side. Jan was only trying to keep him out of trouble. I believe with all my heart that if Dennis had of been with her, he would still be alive. The love Jan had for him was real. and because of that love, I believe Jan could have stopped him...
I don't see Jan much any more. In fact, I haven't seen her at all for a few years now, but I will always love her, because of the love she gave to my son. She was the only one who stuck by him through thick and thin. No matter what...
She made the comment after his death, that she looked out for him while he was here, and now her Angel was looking out for her. So sweet......
The last time I can remember seeing Dennis and Jan together was at my house Christmas Day 1996. They came over for dinner. I thought Dennis and her was through, so I was kind of surprised to see her with him that day. As I recall, I was not mean to her but I didn't welcome her with open arms either. I will always regret that. I have since, apologize, but still. It gives me chills to know I let her set there with our family on Christmas Day and did not make her feel welcomed. Forgive me Jan.....
As far as I know, after that day, Dennis and Jan was history or at least a few weeks after.

 
January - 1997 Dennis meets Roxanne and gets married:

Dennis started seeing Roxanne a few months before he married her. I had known her for quite some time, since she was a little girl, in fact. She was my husband's brother's wife's sister's daughter. She had been in a lot of trouble through out her life too. I didn't know a lot about her, just things here and there I had heard over the years. Anyway, I was not pleased to hear of this relationship. I was scared with both of their back grounds that they were headed for trouble.
Dennis brought her to the house and they seem to get a long good so I thought, maybe this will work... Little did I know it would end in disaster.
I didn't see Dennis a lot while he was with Roxanne. He hung out at his dad's house more. I didn't know why at the time, but I found out later, (which I won't go into now)...
He came by the house and told me that they were going to get married. He said they were going to SC Friday night. This was Wednesday! I tried to talk him into waiting and me helping them have a nicer wedding, with family and friends but she did not want to wait. He said she wanted to go ahead with their plans. So, they did. Alone, with no family. I didn't want to take off from work with such short notice so I didn't go. I wish now I did.
They got married January 24th, 1997. On January 25th, the next day, he called me and this is what he said: "Mom, you're lucky you're talking to me and not at my Funeral". I said, WHAT?! He said, on the way there, it's was raining and the car hydroplaned and flipped upside down in a ditch. He said a man stopped and helped them turn the car back over and they drove off. I said OMG! Why didn't you call me. He said I'm calling you now... He thought because of the events that took place, the marriage was meant to be, I thought it meant something different...I asked him, did he get pictures of the wedding, and he said no, because both of them were muddy from the wreck. After that I didn't see him for a while. I had been trying to get up with him for a few days and told his dad to have him call me if he seen him.
On February 7th, Friday night, he called me. I asked him where had he been and he said they had been moving. He said they had gotten a nicer place to live and he couldn't wait until I seen it.
I told him that I couldn't wait either. I told him that my dad was moving from Florida to Whiteville and that I was riding to Whiteville Saturday to help him and I wanted him to ride with me. He said OK. I met him at Burger King off of HWY 95 Saturday morning and he left his car parked there. Roxanne was with him, which was fine with me. I didn't have a problem with her. I just wanted them to stay out of trouble and be happy. We ate breakfast and talked and Dennis showed me their wedding rings. They had crosses on them and they were engraved. They were beautiful. And I told them so. Roxanne got in the back seat and Dennis started to get in the front with me, and like a fool I told him it was OK for him to sit in the back with her. Little did I know this was going to be our last trip together. Our last anything together....
We got to dad's and helped him get moved in and cleaned up the place. By the time we got finished it was around 9:00 pm and we hadn't eaten a bite since breakfast, so dad suggested we go and eat seafood at Dale's. We did and we had a good time. I got oysters and everytime I shucked one, Dennis would steal it off my plate. Then he started shucking them for me. After we were done we drove back to dad's, folded a few of his clothes and left.
Dennis and Roxanne slept all the way back. When we got back to his car, it wouldn't crank. He tried to jump start it by popping the clutch, while Roxanne and I pushed, but nothing happened. So, I stepped up and said watch the pro do it, Ha! I got the car started and we all started laughing. I told him I wasn't sure how to get back on 40, so he said follow me. We hugged and kissed each other goodbye and he pulled off. I followed him to the exit and he had pulled off of the side of the road to let me know that was where I would get off and we waved to each other. It was about 2:30 Sunday morning.
That was the last time I seen my son alive. He died two days later. 

 
February 11th, 1997 - Tuesday

It was Tuesday morning and as usual my day care kids started coming in around 7:00.




I put a movie in and because it was tax time, I began trying to get all my papers and receipts up so I could get started on everything when I laid the kids down for a nap later on.




I heard a car and look out and it was Ronnie's mom. Ronnie, my husband had gone to the Doctor that morning to have a MRI done on his back. So, I thought maybe she was in the area and stop by to find out the results. When she come in, she asked where was Ronnie and I told her he hadn't got back from the Doctor's office yet. And then she said, you haven't heard, have you? I said, heard what? She said, Dennis shot him self....I didn't believe her. I thought,why is she telling me this....I started asking her questions, and then she said, he's dead....




OMG, OMG, OMG. I was still thinking someone has made a mistake. This can't be true. Then she started telling me what she heard had happened.




All I could think about was, How come I'm the last one to know...This is my son, you're talking about. Why am I finding out 3 hours later?




The rest is kind of blurred.




Ronnie's brother and his wife showed up, which  is also  Roxanne's Aunt. She gave me a number to call. And the detective told me the same thing, that my only child was gone. 




I then called Dennis's dad and we all met at the detective's office. Later we met with Roxanne and ask her what happened. She told us, but still nothing makes sense...She said they got into an argument and Dennis shot him self. I guess we'll never know what their not telling us. outside of Roxanne there were two guys there.




To this day, we still don't know why. Or if anything happened that their not telling us.




We just live day to day missing our son.

 
1997
Passed away on February 11, 1997 at the age of 20.
 
1976
Born in North Carolina on March 11, 1976.
 
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