Chris and Christina Rositch had their world torn apart five years ago when their 26-year-old son, Adam, committed suicide.
Adam was more adventurous than most. He was a mountaineer and skydiver and travelled the world performing breathtaking base jumps.
The Maple Ridge couple saw no sign of their son’s bipolar depression or his monumental guilt over the accidental death of a close friend and climbing partner during an expedition to Yukon’s Mount Logan.
It became devastatingly clear with Adam’s death in March 2008.
Since then, they and their two other adult children have struggled to cope, attending regular therapy sessions and a support group for survivors of suicides.
But that healing work was obliterated while in Kamloops on Sept. 1 when a thief stole the couple’s strongest remaining link to their son — a computer containing all their photos of him.
“That’s all I have of my son,” said Chris Rositch. “On Sundays, we used to pray around our son and show the pictures and look at the computer and it’s not there anymore.”
The crime occurred near the end of a six-week road trip visiting family across Western Canada while Rositch was at his sister and brother-in-law’s house in Valleyview.
Rositch parked his car on the street overnight after hiding his laptop computer under his golf clubs, bicycle and a fold-down seat.
When he returned to his car at 8:30 next morning, a window was smashed and the computer gone, along with a cellphone and camera.
“I broke down immediately,” he said. “I knew, oh my God, all of my boy, Adam, his pictures and his videos are gone.”
Now his feelings of guilt have returned with a vengeance and the situation has created a wedge between he and his wife.
“There’s a lot of blame now from her. And she’s right. I should’ve taken that computer in,” Rositch said.
The painful realizations of what the loss means keep piling up.
Christina will visit her daughter and three grandchildren in Copenhagen next month and is heartbroken that she has no photos to show them — especially the oldest, who idolized Adam.
The situation has precipitated a downward spiral for Chris Rositch, who suffers from the same hereditary mental disorder his son suffered from.
“We were doing quite well. And now it’s just brought up the worst of the worst,” he said. “It’s a disaster right now. It’s turned our life upside down.”
Rositch has been checking regularly with Kamloops RCMP but because he didn’t have a serial number for the computer, little can be done.
He’s also checking websites that are typically used by thieves trying to sell goods, like Kijiji. He also used Kijiji to post a $500 reward for the return of the computer. But nothing has turned up.
“I just hope that someone will read this paper and say, ‘Gee I know of somebody that has stolen computers,’ and possibly go and plead with these people,” he said.
The five-year-old, 17-inch laptop is dark blue with Toshiba in white lettering on its top half. A clip on the right-hand side is broken. Its model number visible on the underside reads SAT L350D-01M.
Anyone with information is asked to email Chris Rositch at firstname.lastname@example.org.