Guest Author - Susan Hubenthal
Kelly had been in and out of two Job Corps Centers by age of 21. His Grandpa was able to convince him to try one more time, Kelly went to another state, this time, and he excelled in Culinary Arts. I was hopeful, again! This time he was going to make it! Not only did he get his G.E.D., he was class President for 2 terms. At his graduation, he made a beautiful, moving speech where he thanked me for always loving him and for not giving up on him. He was filled with hopes and dreams, but the outside world was a scary place for my son.
Kelly remained clean and sober for several years, although his health issues made it difficult for him to keep a job. Kelly died on the floor of his home with 3 needle marks in his right arm. He had hired one of his old drugging buddies to do some landscaping. He had a huge heart for the underdog, and he felt sorry for this person. I will never know all the facts of what happened to Kelly that night, just to say there are some very suspicious clues that the Sheriffís Dept refused to acknowledge. They were very unfeeling and indifferent, and to them it was just another druggie death. If the two people who were with my son that night had been assured they were immune to prosecution, perhaps they would have called 911 and my son might very well be alive today. The final nail in my sonís coffin.
About 2 years ago in the midst of all the grief and insanity, I found a grief net site. There to welcome me were my brothers and sisters in sorrow. They gave me their unconditional love and support, they taught me to love again, and they empowered me to write Kellyís story as well as theirs.
I decided to stop hoping and waiting for someone else to speak out for change, and happiness be returned to me. I realize there are no guarantees in life, I know that I am not perfect and not everyone will like me, let alone agree of my opinions. I am learning to stand tall and turn the other check when finger-pointing people make judgments about me because of the way my son died. I donít expect anyone to understand if they havenít had the same experience. I am not ashamed of my son or how he died.
I am learning to distinguish between guilt and responsibility; I am trying to stop hiding my feelings, because I am entitled to them! My grief is mine. No one elseís and no one have the right to take it away from me. No one can tell me how to grieve, or how long it will last. I deserve cry and feel sad and I know it's all right to ask for help.
I have learned that wanting something is different than working toward something and making it happen. Life isnít fair, and we donít always get what we deserve and bad things happen to good people. I am not being punished! It is just my life.
I have decided to speak the truth about my son and his death, to honor him by speaking out for drug law reform, offer help to parents in the throes of their childís addiction and support and comfort parents whose children have died from drug abuse or suicide related to drug use. I understand their pain and fear. I care and I want to help.