Once more, an incident of a beautiful human life, lost at age 21 to a heroin overdose has entered the space of our lives. The person close to him was involved at the end and sobbed when the young man's dad knelt at the bedside, touching and stroking his son's face, saying over and over while crying, "my sweet little boy."
That is who these people are. They were someone's baby, someone's mischievous toddler. Three dead.
Aubrey who spent almost three years sleeping and eating at my home. She was always hungry. She grew to be a beautiful young woman. Now she is dead.
Another, at a party a family member was attending, felt funny after Jäger shots and cocaine and went out for some fresh air. Died in the parking lot, run over by an unsuspecting girl who was not charged. He was already dead. This was a good kid who died because he never used cocaine before and his pals encouraged him.
The father of one of my grandchildren, in the hospital at least four times ODed. You know they survive in greater numbers if you find them in time. They have some counter acting shot now. Live to try again. In and out of prison, and in this case, making babies all over the county.
A neighbor's boy I watched grow up, a troubled kid, in and out of jail, rehab, ODed right after getting out of prison. He wasn't used to it after being away. They saved him. His loving, wonderful mother lost her marriage, her home, trying to help him. He is back in prison. Addicted again he resorted to robbery.
I live in a very nice middle class neighborhood about 40 miles from Chicago. Not many Cadillacs, no Mercedes, lots of Chevies and Fords, vans and pick-ups mostly. But there are communities nearby that are a readily available source of any drug you might want or need. Every time they bring the dogs in to search the middle and high schools they have at least one hit. Middle school. Sixth grade?
These are not kids that run with gangs or live on the street. The mom of the most recent one said she'd been dealing with it since he was fifteen, finding him out cold with a needle laying right next to him on his bed many times over six years. She always went back to check when she found him passed out but this time the second or third time she checked him she noticed his breathing was shallow and called the EMT. The doctor on staff reprimanded her for not bring him in sooner. Weeping over the loss of her son, blame was the last thing she needed.
A little boy I babysat for grew up to have severe mental illness and tried over and over to off himself. I wondered to someone, why isn't the fact that it hurts his mom, his sons, enough to change that? I can't understand the answer that "they are too far gone." Well, now they are too far gone. They are dead. And in one of the cases I mentioned, that was not typical, the media decided to make an example of it anyway and find someone to arrest. The boy was not a "user". It was just a bunch of kids having fun at a party. Fun. Dead.
If I know this many just in my limited sphere, how often must this be going on? We take up banners for so many different causes, but I have adopted the "mend your own fences" philosophy. When one of my daughters was in high school I was summoned by a counselor because my daughter, a fast track student, was going out with a guy that was kind of wild. During the conversation I said, "I've decided I can't save them all." She gave me such a look like I must be the most cold-hearted bitch, but when I thought I could save them all I suffered terribly.
You can't save them all. And you can't pick the one's you lose -- the "sweet little boy" who died in the very bed that was his big boy bed when he was two, the very same bedroom where the broken-hearted father mourned the loss of his little boy, his son. Why didn't that boy care enough to not bring that pain to his dad? More and more I think this is becoming a problem that cannot be handled by law enforcement. Well, we know it can't be handled by law enforcement. They have made no progress in the fight and they are over whelmed and at a loss as how to handle it.
Maybe neurologists need to explore what little glitch in the brain goes awry that makes this happen to that little boy riding his tricycle in the driveway of his home. These people, though maybe grown up, I still think of them as kids and always will, will never grow up to build the thorny, hardened protection that we older folks have around our hearts. I hope they have found peace. I haven't.