Robby is the youngest of three children. His father Rick and I divorced when Rob was 9-years-old. His father remarried Vicki and I remarried Don. Robby has a sister, Shannon, who is 5 years older than him and thinks she's his second mother. His brother, Jeremy, was a year ahead of Robby in school and his mentor. They are as different as night and day. Robby was average in sports and Jeremy excelled in that area. Robby was dark complected with dark hair and eyes while his brother is a blue-eyed blond. Jeremy is out-going and has a temper. Robby played guitar and was more sensitive. The girls used to say he was sweet. Jeremy was a jock who was popular and involved in school activities. Robby never felt he could or should compete, so he was popular with the music-playing, head-banging kids. The brothers, though different, were very close and Shannon mothered them both, whether they liked it or not.By the time Rob was in 8th Grade, his grades began slipping (he used to have all A's and B's) and he became even more popular. He started getting new friends that no one had ever heard of before! I tried my best to stay on top of his grades, attendance, etc. He attended Summer School ever year to make up for goofing off during the school year. By 11th Grade, Robby was grounded more often than not for either missing school, getting caught with cigarettes, or one time because a group of kids were caught with a beer. Rob also seemed to withdraw from the family.When Robby was 16, he asked me to have a talk with him one night. Since that didn't happen much anymore, I was all ears. Rob began to sob and told me he was addicted to drugs and couldn't stop. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut but tried to remain calm and get more details from him. I asked Robby what kind of drugs he was using and Robby sobbed harder saying it was Heroin. Heroin! A death sentence! That's all I could think of. Robby cried that night saying, “I just want to be a kid again, Mom. I want to stop lying and I want my life back!” I had no idea where to turn for help, but promised I would figure it out. Robby wanted to sit up alone in the dark to think. I asked him if this is why he had been sick so often. “Were the drugs making you sick, Rob?” “Oh my God, Mom! I am sick when I am trying not to use drugs!” And he was.I lay in bed all night waiting for Don to wake up so I could tell him what was going on. I alternately cried and prayed. Don could hardly believe what he heard and was very worried and angry. I called our family doctor for advice. The advice was to have Rob detox at home so he'd remember how awful it felt and that should take care of it. It didn't sound right to me so I did some calling around and got him an appointment with a doctor who worked with the Day Spring Outpatient Addiction program. I took a week off work to detox Rob at home. He threw up, had the runs, fevers, sweats, leg cramps and nightmares. He could hardly walk due to joint pain. He was so sick I considered buying drugs for him, to ease his pain. When Rob felt better, he began his outpatient treatment twice a week and Don and I attended with him as a family once a week. After 6 weeks, he graduated from this program and attended After Care meetings twice a week in the evenings.We did it! Robby was cured! Or, so we naively believed. Six months later we noticed some of our checks missing. We discovered that Robby had been forging checks for money. His father, Rick, noticed the same thing at his house. When I confronted Rob, he was too scared to face his father or stepfather and ran away from home. He was 17 years old and a senior in High School. About 2 weeks later, Rick called me at work to say he found Robby sleeping on his couch. I told him I would be right over.But first I made arrangements to get him into Highland Ridge Hospital, an inpatient facility for addiction. Rick and I talked and decided to intervene together as a united front. We woke Robby up and gave him the choice of going to jail for forged checks, or going to this hospital. Crying and apologizing for hurting his family, Rob chose the hospital.The hospital wanted money up front. We paid what we could, but could only afford to keep him in there for 10 days, not the recommended 30 day inpatient treatment. The treatment seemed to do him a world of good. He came home a changed boy! This time it worked, we just knew it! Rob was to attend outpatient treatment again and he started working at a new job.Another six months passed. Rob got fired from his job at a tire shop for his temper. His temper? This is the most easy-going kid you could ever meet! I noticed he was losing weight and spending a lot of time sleeping lately. I waited for him to leave one night and searched his room, as I had done so many times before. Under the laundry in his closet, at the bottom of his waste basket, inside a Big Gulp Cup, and inside a empty potato chip bag, she found two syringes and some pawn slips. When Robby returned home, I confronted him. It was the same scenario. He cried saying he just couldn't stop and that his life was ruined. He said he was afraid and didn't know how to stop. I took him to the Emergency Room the next morning because he was even sicker this time. They kept him long enough to detox him and sent him home to find further in-patient treatment.How would we pay for this? There were still bills from previous treatments! Robby and I called the State and got him in for an evaluation. They said he qualified as an IV Drug User, but there was a waiting list. He was placed at the top of the list. After six weeks of waiting, there was still no room through the State Treatment Center. Rob took his name off the list and decided to get a job and start attending church more faithfully. And he did.Robby got a great job through his bother-in-law Shane. He was learning to be a glass fitter for Mollerup Glass Company in Salt Lake City. He was so proud of his job and really looked up to Shane. Rob bought himself a nice black Honda Civic that he fixed up really nice and also joined a gym. He worked out regularly and looked so healthy and buff! Robby also got a cute little girlfriend, Ashley, whom he adored. He was regularly in attendance at St. Francis Catholic Church. We thought this time we turned the corner for sure. One time he cut his hand pretty bad at work and got stitches. He requested no pain medicine. We were so proud of him for that! Six months earlier he would have milked that situation.On Easter Sunday, 2001, the whole extended family went to church and brunch together. Everyone commented on how wonderful it was to have the “old Robby” back in the family. Robby adored his baby nephew, Ethan, and little niece, Hunter and they adored him too. It warmed my heart to see my kids hanging out together again, all looking so healthy and happy. That afternoon was a beautiful sunny, spring day. Rob asked me if I minded if he missed dinner and went golfing with a friend. That's a healthy activity; it's exactly what I wanted him to do more of! So, off he went, in his freshly waxed Honda.When Robby returned home, about 7:30 pm, he complained of a really bad headache. Headaches run in the family, so no one was alarmed. I gave him some Advil and Rob took the phone upstairs for his usual three-hour phone call with Ashley. At 10 pm, Rob got off the phone and I peeked my head in, as I was going to bed, to tell him good night. He said he felt awful and I suggested he stay off the phone and try to get some sleep. About 2 am, I could hear Robby in the bathroom, sick. I got up to check on him and he said he had the worst headache he'd ever had in his life. I asked him if he thought he was coming down with something and he said that was probably it. Rob apologized for waking me up, knowing I had to work in the morning. I suggested he not take any more Advil, but lie down and be still for a while and see if he could sleep. I went back to bed, reminding myself that Robby was healthy now. It had been seven months and I just had to start trusting him now. Rob never once mentioned using drugs that afternoon.The next morning, I headed straight for the coffee pot, as usual. Next to it was a note from Robby telling me not to wake him up too early. He had a doctor's appointment and wanted to sleep until 8:45 am. I was glad he was finally sleeping and tried to be quiet while dressing for work. At 8:30 am, I was ready to leave and decided to check on Robby and see if he felt better. I opened his bedroom door and screamed his name when I noticed how strangely he was lying. No answer. I ran over and shook him, screaming his name. Nothing! I felt for a pulse while screaming “Robby! Don't you do this to me! Robby, you come back to me right now! Don't you do this!” There was no pulse. I pulled the pillow from under his head and tried CPR. The breath came back out so fast! I kept wondering if she should be doing CPR or calling 911. I was so torn! I ran across the hall to my phone to call 911. Why hadn't we installed a cordless phone in there yet? When 911 answered, I told them my son was not breathing and had no pulse. I could hardly remember my own address when I was asked for it. The 911 officer told me to remain on the phone, but I couldn't. I had to go back and do more CPR! I threw the phone on the floor and went back to Robby. More CPR and more nothing. In a panic, I ran back to the phone and yelled at them to hurry! They told me to go out front and flag the ambulance down, so I did. Then, I remembered that Robby now had my lipstick all over his mouth. He'd be horrified if anyone saw him like that, so I ran back up to his room to quickly wipe off his face. The ambulance crew met me in the doorway and I was asked to stay in the living room to speak with a police officer who would arrive soon. What to do? Pray! That's it! I prayed and begged God not to take my baby. “Please, God, don't take my son, please! God, take me if you need to, but not my baby!” While I waited, I called Shannon. “Honey, I think your brother is dead, he's not breathing!” “Mom, they'll help him don't worry, he's probably back on that damn Heroin again,” she said. “The ambulance is here, call Don, your Dad and your brother and have them get to the hospital,” I said. “Oh, and Shannon, please pray really hard for Robby!”The police arrived and asked a lot of questions. I told them he was a recovering Heroin addict and I suspected an overdose. They asked for any medication he might have taken and I handed it over. They took Robby away in a quiet ambulance and asked me to have someone drive me over to the hospital. A friend from work happened to be driving by and stopped to see what was happening. He gave me a ride to the hospital and some neighbors made calls and locked up the house.At the hospital, I was taken into a small room with Social Worker. I was amazingly calm, perhaps in shock. Another police officer came in to ask more questions. He told me they did not yet know what happened to him. I began to pray some more. A doctor came in next and told me he could not save Robby. They did all they could but he was gone. My youngest son was gone! I cried a little, but mostly I was numb. This was not happening. It could not be true, it couldn't! Robby's father barged into the room demanding to know what was wrong with Robby. “He's gone, Rick, Robby's gone,” I told him. Rick punched a wall and became hysterical. They took him outside to calm him down. A couple of friends arrived and I sent them out to be with Rick. Don arrived at the hospital and he was shocked. The doctors suggested we not go in to see Robby because "he didn't look good." They needed to send him to Salt Lake City for an autopsy because the cause of death was not determined. I said they had to wait. We had to find our priest to bless him. Robby had become so active in his church that he would want that. And I had to see Robby! This was my son! We waited about a half hour for Father Flegge to arrive and we all went in to see Rob together. “Oh no, not Robby, not one of our young people!” said Father Flegge. Father blessed his body and the family said their good bye's. So many times I had been angry with Robby for his drug abuse. I worried he might be watching and thinking I was mad at him. I couldn't stand that thought! I cradled his head and said “Robby, Mom's not mad, I love you. You are ok now. Save me a place in Heaven Baby. Good bye for now, Baby, I love you so much.”The rest of the day is a blur. Rick fell apart and had to be medicated. I wanted everything to be perfect. I brought this child into the world and I was going to see to it that I sent him out properly. I planned every detail with Rob and young people in mind. Somehow, it had to make a difference to these young people. Though the autopsy report was not in yet, in my heart I knew it was an overdose. I asked Father Flegge how this could have happened when I had been praying so hard for three years for God to save my son. Father said that God did save Robby;I just didn't get to tell him how to do it. Robby is ok now. No one can hurt him.The viewing the night before the funeral was attended by several hundred mostly young people. It took over three hours for the line to get through. Pink Floyd, Robby's favorite, was played during this time. His photos, golf clubs and his guitar were on display near by. It was a warm, beautiful evening. I found myself being strong once again, hugging so many young people as they sobbed through the viewing. So many kids hurting! Robby had no idea how many friends he really had. Three months and one day shy of his nineteenth birthday, he just wanted to be popular and he didn't seem to know that he already was.The morning of Robby's funeral it was raining very hard. The funeral was Catholic and a friend played Rob's favorite hymns on guitar. As we approached the burial site, the rain stopped and the sun shined. We all sang “Good Riddance-It's Something Unpredictable” by Green Day. Rick released a crate of white birds into the sky. We knew Robby must have been watching. He loved his father's birds. As we drove off, the rain began again. My heart rains tears every day now. A part of me went to Heaven with my youngest son, Robby.
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