This may be my toughest blog post that I have written to date and it is not about me, emotionally it has hit me like a brick. There are no words to explain the sadness and tragedy that has shaken this entire community. A dear friend that I have known for over 30 years lost her 20 year-old son. The father wrote on facebook and it feels like it rattled the world, “our son went to bed Friday night and Saturday morning did not wake up”. That is all they know. He was with friends from college, they were on an outing, friends that were not from the hometown, friends that could not be reached for information. Saturday afternoon the police unexpectedly came knocking at their door to give them the facts, their son is at the coroner’s office 30 miles away and will be transported to their hometown. He was found dead in the bottom bunk. Cause of death most likely substance abuse, but since no one is talking they really don’t know for sure, until they get the results from an autopsy. When I received the phone call from a mutual friend early Monday morning, I went to their house, the grief I saw in this families face was a sadness I had never seen before and it hit so close to home. The first thing the mother said to was, “I am hoping to find out he had aneurysm”, anything but drugs. This is not the natural process and throughout the years we shared many a story about our children good and bad, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine she would be hit by something so tragic. Her son made a mistake, a mistake that cost his life, I don’t think he wanted to die. I ask myself, why? Where was the guardian angel that watches over our children? This is a family that laughed together, traveled the world, two concerned involved parents that would do anything for their kids. She looked at me and said there is nothing good that will come out of this. There had been recent problems, and they were dealing with them, in fact they thought things had turned around. I know how it happens, substance abuse sneaks up on you, like a bullet train, some are lucky and others are not. I know, when I first learned of my sons substance abuse issues I was in denial about what he was using. Under my watch, my son had become an addict at a very young age. It took me quite awhile to come to terms with it and it was not until then, that I could begin to make a change in his life and mine. My emotions have been uncontrollable and I have felt physically sick, I can only imagine what it is like for the family. Earlier this year when she first told me that her son was having problems I should have said something to them, been stronger in my convictions, after all I had and was traveling down this winding road. I never want to transfer my hard luck on to someone else or paint the picture “misery loves company”. Just because my troubled teen continues to struggle, I wanted to be hopeful for them. When problems happen before our teens turn 18, we have some control and it is easier to keep them safe, after they are 18 the government has decided if they can carry a gun therefore they must be adults; parents are out of the picture. Maybe they shouldn’t be carrying a gun. For some the rule of 18 may work, but for most of the “boys” I know, they are just starting to grow up.
Below is a poem that someone wrote on a facebook page “Remember Max”, a friend developed for the family:
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free!I follow the plan God laid for me.I saw His face, I heard His call,I took His hand and left it all… I could not stay another day,To love, to laugh, to work or play;Tasks left undone must stay that way.And if my parting has left a void,Then fill it with remembered joy. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss…Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.My life’s been full, I’ve savoured much:Good times, good friends, a loved-one’s touch. Perhaps my time seemed all too brief—Don’t shorten yours with undue grief.Be not burdened with tears of sorrow,Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow. (An Irish Blessing for sweet Max)