My son Bob died at the age of 19. He had just finished his freshman year in college.
Bob left the small Iowa town in which he grew up, along with his brother, girlfriend and her mother, that spring morning in May to travel to another town to get a car that was held at a police impound facility. His girlfriend wanted to buy it. The car was in his brother's name but was impounded by the authorities after two different individuals were arrested 3 months earlier driving the car and charged with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine.
While on the drive back to his hometown, Bob took a drink from a water bottle in the console thinking it was his girlfriends. It was a bottle of water that was left from the night of the drug arrest. In it, the dealers had hidden some of their meth from the arresting officers. The impound procedures do not require law enforcement to clean out a vehicle, only to look for and catalogue items of value. As the car was going back to the owner and not up for auction, it was full of things belonging to the two men that were arrested previously. My son was a healthy 19 year old who died within a few hours of ingesting this potent meth laced water. The autopsy showed that his heart attack was brought on by having 6 times the lethal amount of meth in his body.
Bob was not perfect. He had been charged with possession of alcohol and marijuana a year earlier. I believe his occasional pot smoking affected his grades in college. We had talks about it and he didn't seem to take my concern about pot as seriously as I did. Yet, he said many time that he could see what meth had done to his older brother and didn't want any part of it. His brother, who let the two dealers have his car, had a meth addiction at the time. My terrible story shows how the use of meth can affect innocent people in unthinkable ways.
Bob was a loving son. He was the youngest of 6. He was wise for his age. On the school tennis team, 4 years of Honor Choir, Show and Chamber Choir. He had the lead role in many of his High School Plays. He was active in Church and Community projects. He was a loving Uncle to his 9 nieces and nephews. He was the kind of person that wanted you to feel better by either listening to you or making you laugh. If you had to be on a long and boring journey, you would want Bob along as he could make it enjoyable!
It has been over 2 years since he has left this earth and his mother and I are still numb. I want to talk about how much he meant to us and how the circumstances of his death seem so unjust, but it is so hard to get it out. I know that I have joined a sad fraternity of those who have lost a child. I know how drugs can rip a hole in a family and the far reaching effects of how drug use can change someone's life forever. Talk to young people about drinking from someone else's drink. Tell them to be extra cautious if they are in any spot where known or suspected users have been.
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