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?