Oct 27, 2009

Sad post - I mark this day (updated 8 a.m.)

I try to keep this blog lighthearted and focused on art for the most part. Today is an exception.

Two years ago, sometime in the night of October 27 or the morning of the 28th, we lost someone very special to our family. William, the only son of our best friends, who was only 15 at the time, a gracious, kind, vibrant young man died of a drug overdose in a friend's basement while his parents thought he was at a high school dance. He was discovered several hours after he died alone and unnoticed by his "friends". His biological mother, who I do not know and who had custody at the time, was at a concert late into the night and didn't know her son wasn't where he was supposed to be, nor did she cooperate with his biological father, our friend, who was very concerned about what they thought was only a recreational use of marijuana. William's father wanted to drug test his son regularly and get him help but was threatened with law suits (from a family of lawyers) if he pushed the issue. It is not clear who all knew that what was thought by his concerned father to be a typical teenage marijuana experimentation was in fact a real and much larger drug problem . . . but his father and step mother were not given the opportunity to deal with that in any way and for that I have little forgiveness in my heart. They would have fought with all of their might to turn things around and were shut out and cut off because the custodial family didn't want to deal with it. All I can say is, the hurt is still very real not only for my family's own loss of a young man we dearly loved but for the broken heart of his father and his wife, our best friends, who tried to do the right thing, who always did the right thing as best any of us could have tried to do. We will never forget William or the great emptiness his loss has left us with. We pledged, as a family, that his death AND LIFE would make a difference in our lives and it has. Know where your kids are, know what they are doing, follow up, be a parent, and handle the tough stuff.

I had a slide show up of my family and friends but it was annoying me that I couldn't turn it off. Sorry if you missed it. It wasn't that important for this post anyway.

Added later this morning . . . . Thank you for all of the comments. William's family marks tomorrow as the anniversary of his death but I always set aside today as the anniversary of the last day of his life. I'm not sure why I do that. I find myself thinking two years ago right now, he was here and no one had any idea what was about to happen. I want to add after reading your lovely comments . . . no matter what we do, bad things can happen and tragedies happen and we all have our faults as parents. We can only do our best I agree. For me, it is just the ultimate reminder to not feel badly about being strict or snoopy and to sit and talk with and really be with my kids every minute I can. My husband and other best friend were pall bearers and I remember at the graveside John, our other best friend, saying they were appropriately taking William on his last hike. John had hiked many, many times with William over many years. My kids stood with me and watched this and watched the incredible waling of William's family and we hugged and I told them "Don't you dare ever put me through that" - it was a very painful experience for my kids to lose their friend and even more painful and shocking to see how very much William's family was hurting and still hurt to this day. My purpose for sharing all of this today is to remind all of us, especially me, to stay involved, say the stuff to our kids we sometimes get too lazy to say or assume is understood, hug lots, say "I love you's" lots, and to not let up on the message to our kids that they just cannot be using any drugs ever. One more poignant part of the story for me . . . William's father found out that has son had died because another kid who found William found William's cell phone in his pocket and went through the contacts and "dad" comes before "mom" in a contact list. William's dad was so delighted to see his son calling him as his son didn't want to talk to him in the weeks before he died because he was coming down on him for the marijuana, only to find a stranger on the phone telling him his son was dead. William's family and my husband and other friends spent most of the day in a police station waiting to confirm it was actually William that was found as no one was allowed at the "crime scene". Can you imagine having to do that?

20 comments:

Chrisy said...

A beautiful tribute...such a tragic loss for all those that loved him...

Jill said...

A fitting tribute to a life cut short - loved your slide show, memories are precious.

yoborobo said...

Marsha - I am so sorry for the loss of this young boy. I can think of nothing worse than losing one of my children. You are right, we have to step up to the plate and do the tough stuff. It's no guarantee that bad things won't happen to our kids, of course, but it is certainly part of the job of being a parent.

Susan Sager Brown said...

Lovingly written as only you can express it, Marsha. My brokn heart goes out to you, your family and your friends who have become part of your extended family. Every parent needs a reality check now and then, and I thank you for that reminder. I hope Lauren is on her way to recovery from this terrible flu. You must be exhausted, emotionally and physically. Remember to take care of yourself too. I suspect your heart is the engine in your family. Keep it well tuned, my beloved friend. xoSusan

Kathy said...

Marsha, what a lovely tribute. A death from drug use is a senseless tragedy. There truly are no words.
Take care and I hope that your daughter is getting better.

Anonymous said...

My family has faced a severe case of drug abuse. And you're right when you say, step up to the plate and do the hard stuff. Snoop if you have to. It's OK. And drug interventions are not a bad thing. You could be saving someone's life - or a life in prison.

Kim Mailhot said...

Prayers for parents everywhere to have the strength, love and support they need to face life's challenges head on - for their children and for themselves.
Much love, beautiful Marsha !

Terri Kahrs said...

I'm sooo sorry for your loss, Marsha, and my heart breaks for his parents. Parenting isn't easy, and sometimes we have to do the really hard stuff when it would be so much easier to ignore something. Blessings to you and to all those who were touched by his young life. Hugs & Love, Terri xoxo

Leslie said...

Thank you for using your blog to speak out about something so tragic. My heart goes out to you and your friends as you all continue to advocate for awareness.

Leila Gervais said...

What a tragic story...I had tears as I read and remembered my sister during her drug phase. An 8 year long battle where we were constantly accused of snooping, invading her privacy, butting in to her life...

As hard as it is, get into your kids or siblings life, reach out, be a constant in their lives...be a positive role model, get in their face and let them know how dangerous drugs are. My sister started with Marijuana...it increased to alcohol abuse and then meth. She was a stick figure towards the end, the cops labled her as 50/50 (crazy), and we received one last warning to get her under control or they'd find a way to lock her up.

8 years of hell...but we finally managed to convince her to seek help in a month long detox (she couldn't leave the location). ...and by convince I mean my mom kept driving while we kept calling, begging her to get help, reminding her of her positives, anything and everything we could bring up to un-harden her heart and see that she was killing herself...my mom would've driven until she ran out of gas as a last ditch effort to get her in those doors.

$5,000 lost to that program, but none of us care...she's alive and going on her 4th year of being sober (thank god!!!).

So I feel for you, your family, and the family of the lost life. I'm sure his memories will live on as he watches from above.

Stacey said...

My condolences . . . such a tragedy. Your tribute here is simply beautiful. {{HUGS}} ~Stacey

Julia said...

I'm so glad your daughter is feeling a little better !
And what a tragedy for you and your friends to loose such a young boy!
To loose a child I think is the most horrible thing that can happen to someone.

Take care Marsha and this blogpost is such a great tribute to that young boy!

Tace said...

I'm so sorry for your friend's loss. Can't even begin to imagine the pain of that.

whymsicalmusings said...

I am so glad you shared this Marsha. I am sure each one of us has been touched by the Tragedy of drugs either through family or friends.

I believe a BIG HUG is appropriate and a shoulder to cry on. That is what friends do for friends.

I am thinking of you today and hope the pain in your heart will be eased.
XXX
Becky

Janny said...

Sorry for the loss.
Thank you for sharing.
x0x0

Anita Van Hal said...

Marsha, it is a beautiful tribute...we've had the misfortune of losing young people that we've loved and cared about, and it's always tragic...I think it's wonderful that you choose to celebrate his last day of life. thank you for sharing. Hugs!

Zinnia said...

Marsha, I saw two little children walking home alone the other day, and I wondered to myself how parents don't walk them, or have a neighbor walk them. They are so small, and the world is so big. When they are little, we need to protect them, because there comes a time when they will do what they will, and no amount of love or teaching, or punishing, or feeling guilty can change who they are once they turn the corner in to independence. It reminds me how important is to love them now, teach them today, don't trust the world to do the parenting job for you...this boys tragic death can change the lives of many people who are today holding a baby in their arms right now...their cell phone rings and they chatter on while their child pulls at their pant legs, or they think they want more "me" time for themselves...in the blink of an eye, their child is walking out the door to a party, a concert, a dance...what will that child remember to do if there is trouble?

I am so sorry that this has happened to this family. It's a terrible way to have to remember his life...I am sure that is why you think of his life before...when there was still time and someone might have made a difference.

I will celebrate his life by thanking you for opening up to all of us and reminding us that being tough, being involved, and asking questions IS the right thing to do. love and hugs..Zinnia

Linda Crispell said...

I'm sure that his Father would be touched by your beautiful words. I will have my 15 year old daughter read this.

TxScrapAddict said...

Amen to all you've said. My thoughts and prayers for all involved.

BlueRidgeLady said...

Just saw this Marsha, I'm so so sorry to read about this young mans loss of life and can't even imagine what his parents, your family and all his friends are going through. I'm thinking about you all.