I lost my son Tom on April 17, 2015. It was the worst day of my life. I can still feel the shock. That morning, I was went down the stairs. When I saw him on the couch, I thought he was sleeping—that he’d missed work. I started yelling and cursing at him. Then I got closer. I saw what no mother ever wants to see. My baby. My son. Dead.
My Tom had struggled for years with this demon drug, heroin. He was clean for a while. Sometimes, I believed he would win this battle.
We had gone out the night before to the movies to see Furious 7. That’s so ironic, looking back. We stayed and watched the tribute to Paul Walker. We talked about how sad it was. Tom handed me his ticket stub and said to keep it as a souvenir—I have that ticket next to one of his pictures. Now the song from the movie is Tom’s song, in my mind. All I can think is that Tom was fine that night when he left the house after the movie. He was his usual annoying self. Picking on his little sister. Looking for a DVD he was going to watch when he came home. I kissed him on his forehead and told him I loved him before he left. That was the last time I saw him alive. I am forever grateful for that good memory.
It’s been 14 months since that awful day. I am still in shock. How can my son be dead? Yet the pain I suffer every minute of every day reminds me he is gone. I feel the pain he felt when he was without heroin. The withdrawal. The physical emotional pain.The longing for my son to be here on earth.
Tom tried. He went to many rehabs. He would be clean for a while. He hit some pretty low points in his life. He was a junkie. Whenever he was clean and called himself a junkie I would always say, you’re a recovering junkie. He was raised in a middle class home. He could have done anything he wanted in life. Yet this drug got into his life and it wouldn’t leave him alone.
Heroin has taken my son. My life, my family is forever damaged because of this drug. It was so hard to deal with worrying about Tom being safe. It was always such a relief when he was in rehab. Then, I knew he was safe. The realization that I’ve lost my son to an overdose is unbelievably shocking. I feel it every day. I look at his pictures. He was a big, strong man. I thought he was doing so well. How could this happen? Maybe I’ll never know.
I thank God for my surviving children. And I thank Tom for watching over me.
I believe Tom sends me signs when I am not sure how I will make it through the day. A song on the radio. A call from one of my children. Sometimes, I can sense his presence. Without my surviving children and these messages, I would not be fighting every day to keep on going. It’s a battle just to get out of bed. But I do it.
I once told Tom, just fake being happy and one day you won’t be faking anymore. One day, I will get out of bed for myself. I won’t be faking anymore, either.
My Tom is at peace. But I know it must hurt him, even in Heaven, when he sees how I suffer. How his father suffers. How his brother and sisters suffer. I will keep on fighting every day. My younger son told me I have to have a life again—not just be living. So I will fight. I will keep faking it until one day I won’t be faking it anymore.