Efrain Anthony Marrero
A little over a year and a half ago we arrived home to a scene that has shattered the very fabric of our family – a horror that is forever seared into our souls. We found our oldest son, Efrain, in our bedroom dead from a self-inflicted gunshot. We lost our son to suicide on September 26, 2004. At age nineteen, Efrain had grown to be a fine, respectable young man. Sure, he had his share of youthful stumbles along the way, but he responded well to our guidance. He had the highest respect for his parents and he was very kind at heart. He adored his baby brother, Ethyn. He was raised in a solidly Christian home, and had embraced his faith. A hard-working young man, he was attending a local community college, studying hard…he had a plan for his life, a direction. We couldn't have loved him more! That day started like any other. Breakfast…everybody in good spirits - lots of smiles. We were leaving to do some shopping, and Efrain was at the kitchen table doing homework. We left home without the slightest hint that anything was amiss. While at the store, we asked our daughter, Erika to call her brother. During that call everything sounded normal according to Erika. We returned home a little more than one hour later to a scene that is forever burned into our souls and has changed our lives forever. Sometime during our brief absence, our son went upstairs, assembled my pistol and took his own life in our bedroom next to our bed. We were in tremendous shock. We were completely incapacitated. Through the crushing grief and bottomless despair that washed over our family we kept coming back to one question. Why? What led this gentle, kind, caring, and respectable young man to take his own life? He was the kind of son every parent hopes for. He was the big brother every little sister and brother dreams of. He had good friends. He had made an appointment with the counselor for the following day. He had a new girlfriend and they had a date for Tuesday: dinner and a movie. There was absolutely no indication that he was planning such a thing. He had a bright future and everything to live for. Why then? Approximately three weeks before his death, Efrain told us he had been using steroids. Because he trusted his parents he gave us the Dianabol pills, a vial of steroids, and two syringes and needles. Efrain was afraid something terribly wrong was happening to him. He was having episodes of paranoia and deep depression. He told us that during one of his college classes he felt people were looking at him and laughing. Until this conversation, the idea of our son using steroids had never crossed our minds. Efrain was preparing to play football at the community college he was attending, and he wanted to move from the offensive line to middle linebacker. Efrain wanted to be bigger, faster, and stronger to be able to make that move and receive the recognition he always wanted. He wanted his parents to be proud of him. Since our son's death we have educated ourselves about these drugs, and in retrospect the signs of Efrain's steroid use were right in front of us. The mood swings, the rages, his obsession with the gym, his rapid fat loss and equally rapid muscle gain – all of these were clues we attributed to the trials and tribulations of adolescence. We were, regrettably, completely unaware of their real significance. After we found out, we did what any responsible and caring parents would do – we told Efrain that using steroids was wrong and he had to stop immediately. He listened! Next we talked to our family physician, who assured us the substances would pass out of his system soon – no further action required. Little did we know that telling our son to stop using steroids “cold-turkey” was ill-advised, and our physician failed to provide us with an appropriate course of action. Three weeks later our son killed himself, and we are absolutely certain that the deep depression that accompanies sudden withdrawal from steroid use led him to put that gun to his head and pull the trigger. On 26 Sept 2004, Efrain died at the age of 19. www.efrainmarrero.org - The Efrain Anthony Marrero Foundation
Partners for Hope raise critical funds on behalf Partnership to End Addiction – the nation’s leading organization dedicated to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery. Every dollar raised on behalf of the Partnership* will help ensure free, personalized family support resources, including our national helpline, peer-to-peer parent coaching, customized online tools and community education programs, can reach those who need them most. Please consider donating to this fundraiser and sharing this page.
*Donations made to Partnership to End Addiction are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. All contributions are fully tax-deductible, as no goods or services are provided in consideration in whole, or in part, of any contribution to this nonprofit organization. EIN: 52-1736502