I may be someone just like you, a loving wife, mother, or grandmother who has gone through a life-changing event. I felt a need for reflection, a need to take a closer look at the past and try to understand how we got to this inconceivable place. I believe my quest has become thought-provoking and inspirational. It has become a message of hope, not only for myself and my family; but for anyone who has gone through or is going through a similar experience.
This journey into the past has been part of my grieving process and an even bigger part of my healing process. In a way, it was like reliving it all; the sweet innocent early years filled with dreams and promise, the challenging bitter season of doubt and fear, and finally, the ultimate heartbreak. As a mother, I needed to know what I could have done differently. There were questions that I needed to have answered to shed the inherent guilt that I was feeling.
Unfortunately, we can't really relive life. We can't do it over. We can't change what is done. We can only, hopefully, learn from it, seek some kind of resolve, and come to terms with what has happened. We need to do that to move forward and embrace this precious gift called life.
I lost my only son, Adam, in a tragic accident; although you could say we lost him many years earlier when he lost himself to the heartbreaking world of drug addiction.
Chapter 1 - Page 1
"To a young heart, everything is fun." ~ Charles Dickens
I grew up in a small resort town in Upstate New York on a seven-teen-mile-long lake nestled within treed hills dotted with vineyards. To the early inhabitants, American Indians, it was named Ganandogan (later changed to Canandaigua), meaning "chosen spot." Canandaigua Lake is the fourth-largest lake of the popular tourist destination, the Finger Lakes. It is a beautiful and historic place to not only grow up but to raise a family.
As a child, the winters were brutal. That may be one reason I was an inherent optimist. When the temperature outside is minus four degrees with a twenty-four-inch snowfall, you had to look at the bright side…no school! Those days were filled with fun and excitement. My father bellowed out our favorite morning cheer, "Girls, no school today!" My sisters and I squealed with delight as we sprung out of bed and ran to the frosted window. We wiped the cold pane with the palms of our hands and squinted to see through the slanted falling snow to the pillowy-white blanket below.
Later, we hollowed out snowbanks to build igloos, where we became toasty warm and reveled in our school day reprieve. After the plows came through, we played king of the mountain on large crusty banks of snow. Winters were long, but we were young and made the best of it. With our town being situated on a lake, what is now a state boat launch parking area, was in our day flooded and frozen over to provide an ice-skating rink for the community.
After a few spills too many and knee planting on the ice, with numbed toes and aching fingers, we hurried into the "sugar shack," a renovated storage shed used to house a heater, vending machines, and wooden benches. We removed our ice-hardened gloves and warmed our stiffened hands over the heated radiator. Then we squeezed our way onto the already over-crowded bench to sit while we wrapped our hands around a warm cup of watered-down hot chocolate.
Chapter 2: "The Call" - Page 1
As parents, we all worry about our children. As a single parent, the worry may be even greater because you have no one to share it with. It's all on you. As a single parent with a son or daughter who is an addict, the anxiety becomes instinctive-as if it takes residence deep within your gut. Every time the phone rings, or when days and even weeks go by when the phone doesn't ring, it's all a nagging reminder that the worst was almost inevitable. You live with the fear that one day your world would be turned upside down. It's heart-wrenching. Then, on that warm night in August 2013, I got the call that would change our lives forever.