A Louisiana mother’s powerful obituary of her son is a raw look at the pain of drugs, gun violence


(CNN) A mother in Louisiana wrote a painfully honest obituary for her only child after he was shot and killed, writing that she hoped her words would show young people that “the streets offer nothing but heartache, pain, and ultimately death.

Robert Wells III, 22, was killed in Harahan, a suburb of New Orleans on February 16, his mother, Deborah Wells, told CNN.

“We hope and pray that Robert never bestowed this kind of senseless violence upon anyone else’s child,” she wrote in his obituary.

“And if this obituary can offer the opportunity for another young person to realize the streets offer nothing but heartache, pain, and ultimately death, Robert’s life will not have been in vain.”

There are few details about his death right now and Wells said she doesn’t care to know much more about what police are investigating as a homicide.

“It’s not going to bring my son back,” she said. “I don’t know what he did or could have possibly done to deserve to be shot and killed, but these kids that are doing this stuff, they know not what they do, and I think it’s just the way society has just become so callous for each other.”

‘His life ended almost instantly’

In the obituary, Wells wrote that her son’s life ended almost instantly while alone in a car.When police officers arrived at the scene, they found Robert Wells with multiple gunshot wounds inside a car that had crashed into a fence, according to a statement from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“He was a wonderful, funny, intelligent, talented and compassionate young man until the false desires of fast money and instant gratification lured him away from the morals and ethics instilled in him from a young age,” Wells wrote.

Deborah Wells said her home is filled with photographic memories of her son, like this, when he was a baby

Deborah Wells said her home is filled with photographic memories of her son, like this, when he was a baby.

From a compassionate child to a distant young adult

At the time of Robert’s death, Wells said he was a changed person. She estimates the change in his behavior started when he was about 15, but she can’t pinpoint a single moment .

Wells thinks it could have been a number of things: the divorce between her and her ex-husband, a neighborhood change after Hurricane Katrina or maybe a different group of friends.

Whatever the turning point may have been, Wells said she can’t blame one person or one thing.

“I always had prayed to God that I wouldn’t be one of the parents that I obviously have become,” she said. “A statistic.”Despite several attempts to help her son change his course, “Tough Love did not deter his mindset to stay involved in the streets,” Wells wrote.

“We always hoped that one day his parents’ Love and commitment to him would prevail and he would abandon that life. It did not.

“As Robert grew, so did their disagreements. The communication between mom and son got harder.”When I saw that he wasn’t willing to change, that’s when we really started having big fallouts,” Deborah said.

Because of this, Robert went to live with his father. The last time Wells said she saw Robert was the day after Thanksgiving. It was only for 15 minutes because he got angry with her and left, she said.

Deborah Wells wrote that her son was lured by the "false desires of fast money and instant gratification."

Deborah Wells wrote that her son was lured by the “false desires of fast money and instant gratification.”

A catalyst for change

She said if her words in Robert’s obituary do anything, she wants them to inspire someone else to make a different choice.

Instead of a service for Robert, Wells wrote in the obituary that she wanted people to make a “small donation in his name to any at-risk youth programs.”

Wells said she feels incredibly guilt-ridden. How could she have been a better parent to Robert? How could she have said or handled things and situations differently?

The loss of Robert is a pain she will hold onto for the rest of her life, she said.

“I loved him with all my heart,” Wells said. “I just wish he would have seen that. That he could have seen through his pain, anger and everything else to see that I loved him with all my heart unconditionally.”

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