Weeks after the tragedy I made himself go down to my son's basement bedroom. I didn't know what I'd feel, but I knew I'd have to do it. I didn't know what to expect emotionally. What I discovered was that the room felt very... peaceful. I sat on the bed. I sat on the floor where I found him. Tears came, but they were gentle. No anger, no racing thoughts. And a sense that my son was not here. He was gone. He had gone on to somewhere else. His work was done. No unfinished business. No lingering presence.
I sat down at his computer to look for email addresses in order to contact any of his friends who needed to be informed of his passing. What I found when I looked in his sent folder was a year's correspondence to dozens of friends and acquaintances. After copying the addresses of those I knew I'd need to contact, I decided to read the emails just to feel close to him again. What I found was the first of many posthumous gifts he left us.
Children are mostly their own persons, but mothers and fathers often don't see that. We're locked in a parental vision of what we see at home, and have seen, throughout our children's upbringing. I was now reading evidence of a personality I only partially knew. I was seeing my son's mind at work- funny, articulate, spiritual. I decided he was a better writer than I was. The energy, I knew, was there too, and his frustrations and sorrows. It was the beginning of a fuller picture of the son I thought I'd lost, but now was finding again.
If I can't get inside the mind of others and tell their stories, I can still add one more perspective to this narrative. My son's collected emails form a narrative of their own, his notes from the heroin war. I've eliminated the headers and salutations, and any references to specific names. I've also removed lines where he asks about or responds to other family news. What remains is the equivalent of a journal, had he kept one, in his own words. The only corrections I've made are to typos and punctuation.
The occasional "you" can be thought of as a composite correspondent, instead of the half dozen or so actual addressees. Even through his depression, pain and the struggle with his addiction, his enthusiasm for life shines through, as well as his compassion for others.
Saturday, February 02, 2002
It is really difficult going through or wherever I'm going. I think the
mental turmoil is worse than any of the physical stuff. I am constantly confused and keep blowing up over the most ridiculous shit. I suppose I can share an added ingredient to the mix...One of my close friends got out of prison just a month ago and not only does he live with me (which originally I did not see the trouble with that) but He works for me as well. (I own a medium sized Tree Business that some of the equipment survived through the latter years.
I had lived in an RV but I shot it up and moved into the shop.) Anyway (multiple brain jarble is the number one effect I still notice the most.) My friend moved in and then decided instead of his parole obligations and working 40 hours a week, he just brings assorted women home all the time. The work thing effects my payroll as where now I have no extracurricular activities to
compensate for the financial short comings.
The women thing wouldn't bother me except that I lost my wife of almost a decade of love and since then have only made love to Heroin. (That's not entirely true, I had sex with a couple of chicks when I was selling and still using.) But that hardly counts if the soldier doesn't really stand at attention plus not knowing or caring about the person. Yes I'm still hung up on my X wife and we have been divorced for one year and separated for three. We don't talk and will never get back together. She ran and established a safety parameter of about a thousand miles between us. Anyhow it is hard to concentrate on things long enough to complete thoughts. My roommate reminds me that I haven't been laid in years and I have a business that is capable of being reduced to nothing if I don't show up for work for five days in a row. He was one of my smacken brothers
from the past. Every instinct in me told me to help him get out of jail, and set up the parole residential placement and job placement. It was one of those "you don't let a friend get got...you stick together and nobody’s left behind" Well they are still together. Those who aren't dead or incarcerated, but I have
chose to walk alone. Leaving a crowd like the one I was in was really and still is hard. I am still catching shit about it. Everything from crazy skinhead straight edge ass to narc or I've turned soft or some shit.
The good thing there is that I am at a point where I don't care what they say, but I do have to deal with the situation that I have created. I still care about him but I have already told all of my other friends that I cannot hang anymore, and I moved to the woods. Well, my buddy out of prison moved out here. He has agreed, and he really does, stay dry all week, but as soon as Saturday gets here, he borrows a car and I don't see him until Monday about half way through the work Day. When he was in prison he wanted the sobriety I always preached of. All the letters spoke of it and the "compound" in the woods in the Smoky Mountains, but when I picked him up from Prison after the ride back to Tennessee (From Louisiana) The very next day he drove to the city to celebrate his freedom. Now I have no trouble with assertive skills...If anything too forward is my problem, but every time I tell him it isn't going to work out, he pulls some hard hours or stays clean for a few days. The shit drives me crazy. He still says that he wants what I'm striving for....sometimes. I think I'm being an ass made of, but I am so fucked up in the head right now I don’t know which way is up.
I just keep working and hanging out in the Mountains. It's the only way I'm clean now. It seems unreal still, like being on the methadone is going from Planet Horse to Planet Government Dealer. My body caves in, hep starts hurting then the brain problems, then the roommate problems, and to top it off the only contacts of humanity I have are One psychologist, One state appointed counselor, and this woman that my counselor introduced me to because of our"similarities" She has Hep, she is a loner, and she stays clean 48 hours at a time. Last time I saw her she was high, and I said something. Of course she denied it, But that's when I drew the conclusion that the best help I could probably get would be the unbiased opinion on the net. Both the shrink and the counselor tell me that the isolation thing is terrible for me, but all I could think was "Its better than trying to kill myself with Heroin, right?"
I thank you for being there.I do not even know you as a person, but obviously I found the right world because there is a place still out there where people care about each other. That is the world I want to be a part of. I miss being needed, or wanted.Hell.... Either one is gonna feel better than where I currently reside. I have changed some. Since I quit in February last year I have grown hair for the first time in ten years, (No I am Not nor have I ever been a nazi skinhead, just an old school punk kid gone to early adulthood). And I weigh an amazing 228 pounds.Whenever I was using I was like 190. (at about six foot two) But when I stopped, I remembered this food substance...and it was good. Now I don't know where I go from here, but I'm trying. Thank You for answering my cry out. It gives me a little more life.
Sunday, February 03, 2002
I am not fine. I am detoxing off of methadone and my body hurts, but I'm clean and I even go to some of those support groups.They help a little, I guess. They say that if I try to quit it cold turkey with just eating pain pills to help the pain
while there is still methadone in my body it could kill me. I didn’t really think that was true, as this was my plan to begin when I am down to 60 milligrams of the methadone.
Sunday, February 10, 2002
I'm doing pretty well. I have been clean for one year tomorrow. I'm excited.
Business is good. I finally have some employees that I can trust to go do jobs without my undivided attention. So between that and my obsession with Ameritrade I seem to keep my schedule full, Also I am down to 65 milligrams of the Methadone and should be off by the end of June or early July. Hooray for me.
I really did it, I can't believe it, I thought i was a goner.
Anyway my Birthday is coming up in about two weeks (the 27th) and I am going to take that cruise I always wanted. My shrink told me to quit trying to recruit people to see the world with me. If people want to see the world I'll run into them while I'm seeing it. Fair enough, I suppose, so no more pressure on you about traveling, I am taking off in the spring of 2003. I have to wrap up my stuff here and then after I do some planning (imagine me planning, scary,huh?) I will travel for a year and then go to school in Norway for a six year degree in Propulsion Engineering, with my curiosity courses in Environmental Engineering (I cant hide the Hippie my parents put in me after all). The past year I have all but stopped
listening to my old stuff and got back into Rush, Journey, Phil Collins, Clapton, Starship, and that GIrl you turned me onto Lucinda Williams. So I thought I would try to keep in touch, I am going to be moving on after I hire a crew to finish
getting my parent's place together this summer. I have got a lot of stuff to get rid of before I move on and maybe you might want some of it, anyhow whatever doesn't get taken by my friends gets given to the County Foster Home For Troubled Teens, but that's a ways away.
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
I just got back from Tijuana, San Diego, Los Angeles, Malibu and Santa Rosa. We also stopped at the Grand Canyon on the way home. It was really that
Grand, but it was certainly the largest hole in the ground I have ever seen, and it was a pretty hole. We took a bunch of pictures and bought some
cool Indian flute tunes and drum stuff on CD. It's pretty cool stuff. The road
trip was influenced by a friend of mine that needed a ride to a job he was
offered. He is a tattoo artist and was offered a job with a world renowned
artist. He couldn't say no. But when my other friends caught word that this
was happening, I soon had a truck load of persons heading to the other side
of our Island. I ended dropping off three people in different cities and
returned home with one. On this trip however, I did receive the idiot of the
year award. I stopped in Oklahoma City and attempted to go and see my
beautiful X wife, who deeply wished i would vaporize from the planet. But I
got to the place, And her Aunt got on the phone and told me L_ wishes to
never see me, talk to me or be around me ever again, and to stay out of her
life. That sucks. I just had a few questions on how she is doing and how she
has coped for the past few years for I still Love her deeply and really just
hope she is doing great and is happy. I think that in the end it is best I
did not see her, For I still believe that she is wonderful, despite her
character defects and only want her to be happy, even if that is without
me. So without further Harlequin quotations, I rest this subject on negligence
of the Mind from sleep deprivation while driving. (Although I know
better). Yeah, she's the only girl I truly ever loved.
Woof! Lets talk about less tear dripping stuff. Home life is Ok I
have successfully completed the foundation and concrete pad for a 2800 square
foot garage up here at the property. Finances have brought the project to a
temporary halt though I hope to be done before winter. Business sucks but
a lot of that has to do with my medical problems. I am supposed to start
treatment if I could start to trust my Doctors and quit ignoring what I am
supposed to be doing. It is instinctive for me to not trust the medical
field. I am not sure why, something about always hearing about malpractice
suits. I dunno, I am working on it.
I'm not sure when I am going to leave but it might be around the third week of October, Right after I attempt to get into Canada again. I have to see the Polar bears, If you guys don't know of my three efforts to gain entrance to our neighboring country, tell me. I will send you all of the hilarious details.
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
It is a daily battle in my life.
I’m OK, i guess I could be doing what the doctors say, but I am not. I am however off of Methadone, and have been for ....Well since May 29th. Since then I have also reduced my Goodies consumption to a mere 1-2 zanax per day and (to be honest ) One Smack binge that lasted about 8 days. (I went to Tijuana while dropping off a Tattoo Artist off in San Diego) Dumb decision. Just seeing needles again reminded me of why I stopped, but it took a week of scoring stuff in Mexico and Southern CA for me to realize that doing it again would only bring around more of what I don't need. Voices in my head that are not wanted, you know, the usual stuff.
I have neglected to begin my travel for treatment adventure. I have really cold feet. Fear, I guess. Who wants that many shots anyway? Seems unnatural, and I should just play the hand that has been dealt, That's Bullshit and I know it. I will push forward.
Saturday, July 13, 2002
I have been off the Methadone for 44 days today, and also off sleeping pills, pain pills, and am currently not abusing zanax anymore. My next goal is to quit smoking. I figure if I can quit Heroin and Methadone in the same 18 months cigarettes should be a drop in the bucket. I have only screwed up royally once since off methadone but as soon as I was upon my descent I quickly remembered what it was I was trying to run from and started running from the mistake. (Horse) I felt bad for a couple days mentally more than physically,
but soon remembered that it takes mistakes sometimes to find the error of my ways. I now pray that I need no more errors to lead a better life. J_ sent me an email that touched my heart. In Life, knowing me is difficult, I am anti-anti-hyper anti-social, and with 4 of my best friends dead in the past two years, I have moved to the country and am sobering solo (not really,I see two shrinks) But I now am renewing my vigor and enthusiasm for life, slowly.
[ This was the last email in his out box. It was three and a half months later that he died.]
Next week Part 5: Legacy