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In memory of Joseph Biddle

Created by Family Of Joseph Biddle

Joseph Biddle

My beautiful, engaging, intelligent and independent son Joseph Biddle died 19 days ago, Mother’s Day 2015. His twin sister, Talia, took the dog out for a walk and found him unresponsive in the back of my parents, his grandparents, van in the driveway. With an ongoing police investigation and long and numerous talks with his friends it came to light that my amazing boy had been hanging out with friends in the wooded area by the house huffing Dust Off straight from the can with 2 friends. He told them he wasn’t feeling right and that he wanted to lay down. Instead of knocking on the door or even calling his sister or the house phone to alert someone, his friends panicked and took off, leaving my baby to die alone in the driveway just 12 days before his senior prom and mere weeks from his upcoming high school graduation.

This is the most painful, difficult thing that I have ever experienced. It is impossible to convey the immense loss that our family has experienced.  The only thing that is getting me through is my promise to myself to spread Joseph’s story so that he might live by educating other young people and their parents through the life he led and the poor choice to use inhalants that cut a life filled with such potential so painfully short.

***

My See You Later Letter to My Son…

My amazing imperfectly, perfect Joseph. My only son. I try to think of where you might be. What it looks like, who is there with you… what you might be doing. But I can’t – my mind just stops. I squint my eyes, gasp for air to fill my lungs that are constricting, and wrinkle my forehead, pressing my hand to head to try to stop the truth from taking root: that you are gone from this earth. How does a mother come to accept that she will never again touch or talk to the child she carried inside of her ever again??

So many things I would change, so many I wish could have happened differently, but life doesn’t usually offer re-do’s. I assumed that we had time, our differences could be worked out later. It didn’t work out that way for us, my beautiful baby boy.

Now I talk to you in the middle of the night, staring at the black sky. I am still a mom, a wife. You have 2 sisters, a step-brother and step father that you left behind. They still need me. I must save my tears for after dark, after dinner is cooked, the dishes are done, homework and baths are finished. Then finally when everyone is asleep I can unlock you from my heart. It is so deafeningly silent, but I talk to you anyway. I yearn to hear your replies but that is not to be for now.

You came into this world as a preemie, not even 4 pounds, unable to even take a breath of air on your own. I was elated and terrified by the arrival of you and your twin sister, Talia.

I was mesmerized by your tiny hands and feet, your white blonde hair and incredible blue eyes. I just stared and stared and stared. Your tiniest movement warranted an announcement to the world of how amazing my babies were!!! Only a mother, right?

Your grandmother would get so mad at me because you like to suck the tip of my nose, and I wouldn’t make you stop. I loved it! I would give anything to have the opportunity to touch you again, to talk to you for a little while. I can still hear your voice clearly in my head. I am so terrified by the thought that one day I may not be able to pull it from my memory.

This past summer I started to know you as a man, with just little bits and pieces of the little boy you once were. You were considerate, opinionated, and protective, looking out for me and being helpful. You knew your mind and I thought of you as the great debater. Incredibly independent and adventurous. You shared your mind with me: so intelligent and opinionated.

We talked of my travels and you talked of the places you dreamed of seeing and the experiences you were going to have. You saw yourself as a part of a much bigger world than small town CT life – I loved that about you. I knew it was a piece of me that you had received. We also shared a deep love for music. I delighted in hanging out with you and listening to you tell me interesting facts about the artists and songs. You were filled with useless, oddball knowledge on a variety of subjects and it made you such a fun person to spend time with. Our walks on the path by the beach, watching you skateboard down the road or surf and wakeboard at the beach are memories I will cherish forever.

I must do justice to the truth, the entire picture of you and us though. Your life was not perfect. I was not perfect. I was young and not married when I had you and your twin sister, Talia. You never met your birth father. I wasn’t ready to be a parent, but not for one moment do I regret having had you. I absolutely adored you. I know in my heart that I did the very best that I could at that time. Though I have been clean for over 3 years now there were many years that I wasn’t. Due to that I made the decision to ask your grandparents to raise you and Talia when you were 10 years old. I wanted to give you what you deserved: consistency, financial security, stability. I knew how much they loved you both. I also knew that I had a lot of work to do on myself before I could be the parent that you deserved. Though I still believe I made the best decision at that time, unfortunately it affected who you were. You were hurt and unable to process it and I watched it turn to anger and stress.

I tried to connect with you emotionally. I wanted to talk to you about what happened with us but I had a hard time getting beyond your anger. I didn’t push and now we have run out of time.

We did talk about drugs though: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, even safe sex. But not huffing. It was not even on my radar. I think of myself as a very open parent. Some might even say too open. I thought that by sharing honestly about my experiences with drugs and the emotions that motivated my addiction that I would save you from ever having to go through what I had. I forgot what it is like to be a teenager.   The youthful sense of invincibility, of having to learn and figure things out for yourself. Who could imagine that your lesson would be so final?

I have pictures, tons of them, your childhood journals, your awards and homemade cards and art projects. But I don’t have YOU. I will not see you graduate, go to college, get married or have children of your own. I will never kiss you or hug you or hear your ideas again.

What I have to believe is that I now have an angel named Joseph. I must believe that you will be there always and that you have been graced with the ability to see my true heart. I believe that you are now free of the hurt and anger of this world.

This is not goodbye, it is see you later. I hope that where you are you will still get to see the things you dreamed of on earth and that it will be from a far better view than it would have been here. I look forward to hearing all about it when I get there. Until we meet again… I love you, Mommy

***

I am Meredith Bryant (we3bryants@yahoo.com), mother of Joseph Michael Biddle (1/22/97 – 5/10/15). I am not who I was 19 days ago and never will be again.

I wrote this with excerpts taken from my eulogy to my son, Joseph Biddle and thoughts from my journal since he left this world. It is from my heart. I hope he is proud of me for what I am trying to do on his behalf. He will live on forever in my heart and through the story of his life and death.

Feel free to share or post my message and pictures of Joseph. In fact I would appreciate it. Help me touch lives with his life. All I ask is that you include my email address and my son’s name. Thank you.


This Memorial was created to commemorate a loved one's life and to let other families know they can turn to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids for help when struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page to increase awareness of substance use disorders and to provide hope and healing for others.

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Comments

1. David Macmaster
I read this touching eulogy today, and my heart broke for you. It sounds as if you are in recovery. I am too, and have a son who survived our family affliction and is clean and sober 16 years. He was sentenced to 15 years in Texas prisons when he was 18. He served 4 and was on probation for 11. I have been an addiction counselor since the 1970's and know too many of these tragic stories. A person that writes like you do has more to say and I hope you say it. I have been in recovery my entire adult life. I found recovery in 12-step programs when I was 21. I am 80 now, and know recovery is far better than drugs in any form. I have great grand children now; drugs are realities in some of their lives I am sad to report. I just pray they will be blessed. So sad, that so many have to get sick, lost and die to reveal the downside of addiction. We live in such a seductive world. I wish forgiveness, courage and compassion blesses us all.
2. Christine Mass
Meredith, I am so so sorry for your loss. Your beautiful son has been stolen from you by an evil reality called drugs. I pray for you and your family to somehow find some form of peace knowing That your sweet baby feels no pain. My oldest son was born the same year as your twins. I am facing my own evil with him. He is dabbing and I do not know how to get through to him. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
3. Meredith
Thank you for your responses. It means a lot. I pray for you and Sean, elizabeth. Fight for your son while he is here. As hard as it may be trust me when I say it is easier than the alternative.
4. Elizabeth
your honesty and love are pure and true. thank you for giving me the courage to be honest with myself about what is happening with my sean and his life. thank you!
5. Julie
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm so sorry for your loss.