Denise Lane Expresses Heartbreak Over Her Son Who is Suspected of Letting His Dogs Starve to Death

Los Alamos resident Denise Lane expresses in an email her heartbreak over the news that the two dogs recently discovered starved to death in a Santa Fe apartment belonged to her son, Jake Smith of Santa Fe:

From: Denise Lane

To: Los Alamos Daily Post

Subject: My son

I am writing to share because I can’t find the words to say to each and everyone who cares about us.
I can’t tell the story with tears so this is the easiest way clearly and honestly communicate.

I am completely and utterly heartbroken. Not just a little fracture but a heart broken into a million pieces.

I can barely put one foot in front of the other but I am. I think that’s the hardest part. When you suffer a broken
heart you don’t get to wear a sling or crutches. You get up every day and no one knows the pain but you.
I will wear a smile, work my 3 jobs and crawl home and try to get thru another sleepless night of worry and regret.
So please bear with me…only a few of you will know about my broken heart.

My Son….his journey into darkness

When Jake was 6, he decided he was going to run away from home.
He packed his Elmo back pack with his piggy bank, favorite bear and his pillow.
He announced to me he was running away from home.
I don’t even remember now what the dispute was about but he was the kind of child who meted out his own punishment.
He would put himself in time out if he thought he did something wrong.

I told little Jake you don’t need to run away from home. He did not agree.
He marched out the door, I watched him go about 4 houses. He sat on the curb for a few minutes.
Then he got up, walked back home and said, “You know I’m a little hungry. Maybe I need a sandwich before I go.
I said, “I agree. And sandwich can make things a lot better.” And that was the end of that …and the last time he ran away from

Until now.

A year ago he was in a good place. In a long termloving relationship with his partner. They had bought a home in Santa Fe that they loved.
They had their 2 little precious dogs, Georgia and Leo. They were nesting, making a life.

But then things fell apart really quickly in ways a parent never really knows, since they tend to shelter us.

He moved into his little place and absolutely loved it and his dogs.
We decorated it, we found bits and pieces of fun furniture at discount stores and at yard sales.
He even hosted our family during Thanksgiving.

He would get up early, walk to Barker and be at his desk by 8am.

Time went by and things were good and Jake was good.

By summer he was feeling lonely. Feeling like being gay and alone in Santa Fe was a foregone conclusion.

But then he met____, a bright sunny young man who was full of positive energy. He moved in with Jake, he took care of the house
and the dogs and he got Jake interested in meditation. And Jake seemed to have a new sense of place and hope.

Then by late August Jake abruptly broke up with___ and told him to move out.
He had no good reason…just that __ was annoying.

So many things make sense when you look back. I only wish I had seen the warning signs.

Jake started being a different person. He was not the positive, gossipy, social guy.
He became more and more unreliable and surly and negative.

I chalked it up to partying and rebellion.

I did not see the depression.

In September I confronted him about his behavior.

He broke down and told me he hated his life in Santa Fe and wanted to leave.

Being the stoic person I am, I told him I would support him in leaving but not for a year.
He had a great platform here and he needed to spend a year saving money and working his businesses so he had a nest egg to leave.
I gave him the standard Mom speech about change only occurs in your self not by a change of scenery.

It was a cry for help and I did not see it. That’s the part I can’t forgive myself for.
That’s the part that tears a piece of my heart out every day right now.
He was in a deep deep depression and was spiraling rapidly into a terrifying dark place.

You just don’t shake it off. He needed help and he needed it fast.

And instead I judged him and focused on holding him accountable.
Normal things a parent would do for an adult child but not what a person who is in deep hopeless depression needs.

I would do anything to roll back time.

Jake loved his dogs, he loved his family, he loved his home, he loved his friends.
But now he has lost everything.

When people say “hey, where’s Jake?” How do I say ” He ran away from home. He will never return and I may never see him again.”

I have had only one conversation with him. He called crying and telling me over and over, “Mom, I am so so sorry.”
I said “Jake, I love you. I will always love you. Please tell me you won’t hurt yourself.” He said “Mom, I won’t” and hung up the phone.

That is the last moment I had with my son.

I hope by telling my story that maybe it helps some other mother who has a child who suffers.
Maybe I can save her from a broken heart.

So please bear with me and know that when you see me, you will know that I am trying to figure a way to put my heart back together.
It will take a very long time.

And I am writing this to you because you cared enough to ask. You have my permission to share this with others who ask how I am doing.
You are doing me a favor by not making me re-tell my story. I don’t know that I will ever be able to tell it on my own.


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