FARMINGTON — When Charlene Slaver sang a childhood song to her critically injured son, Joey, as he was lying in a bed at a Lewiston hospital, she said, he squeezed her hand.
Joseph Slaver Jr., 23, of Livermore Falls incurred multiple blunt-force injuries as a result of a collision with a Livermore Falls police cruiser Oct. 28, 2016. He died from complications of those injuries three days later.
Charlene Slaver said she asked her dying son what she should do.
“I told him I would fight for him no matter what,” she said.
She felt her son conveyed to her: “’Mom, I’m in a better place. Let me go,’ and at that point he stopped responding,” his mother said.
Family and friends tried to comfort her son by reading to him, playing his favorite music and singing to him as he clung to life.
She described Joey as being an “old soul” who was more mature than his age.
“He was very much a caregiver,” she said Monday. “He was a black-and-white thinker. He cared for other people immensely.”
Joey attended Mallett School in Farmington through third grade and was home-schooled by his mother the following nine years. He excelled in his schoolwork and had a wealth of knowledge, she said.
Joey learned to play the viola so he could play for the residents of Edgewood Rehabilitation & Living Center in Farmington. He also learned to play the guitar and volunteered at the warming centers at churches in Farmington.
Her son spoke English and Creole. He made it a point to donate 10 percent of his allowance to the church and 10 percent to the mission, said his mother, a missionary to Haiti.
Joey could read, write and speak Creole, she said. When pastors from Haiti would come, he would interact with them.
He attended the Word of Life Bible Institution in New York City and was interested in open-air evangelism, and considered at one point becoming a pastor. He also considered becoming a film director prior to his death.
“He was very compassionate,” Charlene Slaver said. “He would help anybody, (including the homeless).” He volunteered at the Special Olympics.
Joey also was an organ and tissue donor.
“His heart went to a 60-year-old man,” his mother said. His liver, kidneys, corneas and other organs were also donated, among other parts of his body.
“I think one of the great things was they let me sleep next to him” while his organs and tissues were being processed over a two-day period at Central Maine Medical Center, she said.
Each time he went to the operating room, staff lined the hallway and saluted him as a hero, Slaver said.
They also played his favorite song, “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and read something she and his father had written about him to every surgeon.
Joseph “Joey” Slaver Jr.