I was not the mother who believed I would ever sit down to write the story of her son's death. But I am forced into the realization.. I am that mother now. The same mother who took her baby to D.A.R.E classes at school. Who expounded on the attainability of happiness from one's own inner beauty. The mother who lectured endlessly about the dangers of drugs..."drugs kill baby". They kill. On July 12th, 2007 my beautiful son Dallas died of an accidental heroin overdose. He was 19 years old. Three months away from his 20th birthday. To most people my son was just another statistic in America. An endless statistic. But statistics are numbers. They are not names or faces, not loves or joys, beauties or dreams. Statistics are not remembered for their worth in the world. Dallas was an amazing human being. He was so compassionate to others -- the underdog, the homeless and the lost. He was kind. Gentle in his soul, never quick to judge a person or assume of their circumstance. I could not have been more proud of the human being he had become. Looking back, I could not sit here today and say that any one defining thing in my life, other than being his mother, has ever given me more happiness and blessing. Dallas was an old soul. But he was a kid. Just a beautiful kid, who drifted down the wrong road one day and could not find his way back. The demon which found him as that vulnerable kid, pursued him relentlessly. It gnawed at him, made him loathe himself for what he was doing and what he had become. But always he was, who he ever was deep inside, under the smothering weight of his addiction. I ask myself and others, how can a soul so deep and beautiful ever find that door that opens, that will irretrievably alter a life forever? It is an epidemic of inconsolable loss. It is hard enough for adults to battle addiction, what a monumental, almost insurmountable burden of pain and bewilderment it is for kids. People have told me that he wasn't a baby anymore, that he had free will to make that choice each time he did heroin. Knowing the risk of death. But what is free will in the face of such a demon? Dallas, like so many youth, believed in his protection of invincibility. Addiction is not take it or leave it. It is take it or die, to the one addicted. And to so many addicted kids, they cannot get the help they need in the very programs that are designed to help them. There are financial obstacles, waiting lists that can be as long as 6 months, there may be a lack of support systems at home, and the stigma of "the junkie". The list goes on and on. The deaths go on and on. I want my beautiful baby's life to mean more than his death! Dallas leaves behind three brothers, a sister, a father, an aunt and two uncles, grandparents, cousins, friends who loved him like a brother, all the people he touched in his life including the stranger.. and me. He leaves behind dreams and goals. Dallas was a self taught musician who was on the verge of realizing his dream of starting his own band here in Seattle. He was one of the truly gifted. I can't rest thinking that he would be known as just another statistic.. "just another junkie". A junkie is not a beautiful kid who wanted to live and love, dream and sing, draw and write. A junkie, is not a brother who listened to your problems and comforted you. Talked to you after a nightmare and through a bad day. He is not a son who told you how beautiful you were, how he remembers when you told him he should always give up his seat, for a lady on the bus. Who made a wooden boat in shop class and called it the "Best Mommy Ever Boat". A junkie is not a friend or a stranger, who puts his hand on your shoulder and gives that smile..."It'll be okay one day man, it'll be okay." Things need to change in this country. NOW. Addiction needs to be painted on buldings, on billboards and on the desks of lawmakers. The programs need to be overhauled. The funding for programs first on the agendas of our politicians. It needs to be nailed into the foundation of this country. Into the hearts of every person who loves somebody else. We fought a long hard battle, my son and I. Ultimately.. he walked alone with his burden. I would have given my life and gladly... if he could have had one moments peace. I will never ever again, be the same human being I once was. I will always be looking backward towards a dream, a hope, a face that is forever lost to me and to the world. When I think of who he could have become, what difference he could have made...I find myself down on my knees. I used to write letters to my son about life and hope -- about all the love in my heart. Now, I write to myself. He will not read them. I must continue to write, to save someone, someone like my son. And to save myself. If I can.
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