New book chronicles a mother’s journey of love and loss
Patricia Fitzmaurice’s new book, The Blue Camaro, is a memoir about the upbringing, love, and ultimately loss of her son. In 2013, his son John Fitzmaurice, Jr. committed suicide. Now eighty-seven, Patricia is keeping her promise to her son to tell his story so others can understand what it is like to lose a child to suicide and what it was like. his journey that led him to this decision.
The Blue Camaro offers no easy answers because there are none. To this day, Patricia still wonders what drove her son to commit suicide. She documents John’s childhood story in this book, including their family’s many moves to various locations from Pennsylvania to Connecticut to Florida, the birth of his sisters, his love for his dog, his difficulty making friends, his entrepreneurial endeavors from a young age, and how he saved up to buy his first car: a Blue Camaro.
The title of the book reflects what was perhaps the happiest time in John’s life. His new car was a prized possession for him as a young man, and it also made him popular. For the first time, John seemed genuinely happy. If only things could stay that way.
But John grew up, married and divorced. He raised two daughters, but he always seemed lost. At times, his relationship with his mother was distant. Patricia didn’t understand why he wouldn’t let her in. She even had to wait a year before meeting her first grandchild. She did her best to love and support him without pushing him or meddling in his personal affairs. At times Patricia had to help John financially, providing him with a place to live. At other times, she rejoiced when he seemed to be thriving and happy.
Along with telling John’s story, Patricia shares her grief when she lost John. She continues to struggle to understand how he could have come to the point of self-destruction and what it must have been like for him to be so unhappy that he had to find a way out. She offers poignant words to the reader about moving on after tragedy, acknowledging that even now the pain is still there for her and will never completely go away.
The Blue Camaro ends with an interview with the author. John’s three sisters also share their memories of the brother they loved and will always miss.
Anyone who has lost a child, especially by suicide, will find a kindred spirit in Patricia. As I said, you may not find answers in this book, but you will feel connected knowing that someone else understands what you are going through. In Patricia’s courage to carry on after the loss of her son, and in her desire to speak about what suicide does to a family, you can find comfort, strength, and even purpose.