When I was 18 years old I gave birth to a perfect baby boy. After everyone left the hospital the night he was born, I finally got to hold my son while waiting for the nurse to come take him. In such quiet, I promised that I would protect him no matter what. When Christopher was five, his father and I got divorced. He didn’t handle it well and wanted our family back. Chris was an average student and loved history class. He tried playing various sports and could spout out stats about any team. He wanted to become a sports broadcaster and worked for a few seasons with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball team.
When Christopher was 12, I started noticing some trouble. He became more defiant and his moods would change rapidly from extreme highs to deep low. He scratched at scabs on his arms as a means of escaping feeling. His father and I went to court and begged the judge to get Chris evaluated for bipolar disorder. I was accused of wanting to simply medicate my difficult child, but all I wanted was to give him a fair shot at life and help him learn to deal with overwhelming feelings. Soon after that I found out that he had started experimenting with pot. We got in many arguments regarding whether or not it was a gateway drug.
When he was 17, his father called to say Chris had been picked up by the police when he was on ecstasy. After a big fight, Chris left his dad’s house and went to live with some friends and then his grandmother. He decided he would finish his senior year of highschool by taking night classes. He graduated in 2011, got a job and started college. Things were looking up. When he turned 18, he moved in with a couple of friends in Haverhill and things quickly began to slip. One of his roommates was selling drugs and the police were watching the apartment. One night, the cops raided and everyone inside the apartment was arrested. After that, Chris was subject to random drug testing.
In 2013, Christopher was sent to the county jail for 8 months after threatening his grandmother. When he got out he and his girlfriend, Courtney, got back together and I thought things were going well until I realized they were using together. Chris checked into a rehab but once he was stable, they needed the bed and he was released. When he told his probation officer he wouldn’t test clean, he was sent back to jail for the weekend. The summer after that seemed like a dream for Courtney and Chris; they were always laughing and taking endless walks together. On September 25, 2014 I got a call from Courtney saying Christopher was going back to jail for 20 days. Four days later, Chris called from jail to tell me that Courtney had died. He said if he had been home he could have saved her. He was never the same after that and went back to using immediately after being released with a warrant out for his arrest. When he was picked up by the police on April 15, 2015, I was relieved because I knew my son was safe.
When I picked him up from jail on September 3, 2015, he seemed well. We had a delicious breakfast, he applied for a job, and later that day he scheduled a time to get the vivitrol shot. Life would be different.
The next day he called me depressed because he missed Courtney so much and said that he never truly dealt with her death while he was inside.
The next morning, on September 5th my family was woken up at 7:21AM by banging on the door. A policewoman stood in the doorway and asked if I had a son named Brett. I replied yes and she said where is he and I said right here. Then she asked if I had a son named Christopher and I said yes and she said well he is dead. I fell to the ground. I drove to where his body was but the police wouldn’t let me see him. I remember hearing the zip of the body bag and as they carried him out, Brett held me so that I couldn’t see. Later that day I went to see Chris at the funeral home and held him as tight as I could in hopes that my embrace would wake him. I couldn’t believe that my boy was gone.
Today I have joined in the fight to bring awareness to this epidemic that steals our loved ones too early.