Thursday, November 30, 2006


Guilt.....I was trying to find him a roommate near where he worked and he didn't want to live with a stranger...probably because he knew that he couldn't live as he was, drinking, drugs, with "non users". I am afraid he thought I was going to force him to do it. Maybe he took those final Oxys because of it.

Guilt.....He would "threaten" to move back to Ohio and I said "go", but go when you have your life in order, don't go back with "your tail between your legs". Maybe he was trying to tell me that he needed to escape the drugs, drinking, violence in NJ. I know that the drugs and drinking was as bad back in Ohio, but in Ohio he had friends that cared about him and would have had his "back". Maybe he would have been alive if I had not made it look like he was failing if he went back.

Guilt....I am so afraid that he could see the pity, sorrow and sadness in my eyes when he looked at me. If he saw what I felt...maybe he felt like his life was hopeless.

Guilt....When I bailed him out of jail, after letting him sit there for almost 48 hours in a tiny cell with 2 extra large men that were in for murder and they were telling him not to sleep at night because they were going to *****, he walked out, looked at me with a big smile and arms out and I refused to hug him because I was so mad at him for being picked up drunk and with pills.

Guilt...I tried to talk him into going into the Coast Guard or the Military. I even got a recruiters number. I thought it would help him to become focused and be a positive thing. He looked at me with those gentle brown eyes and asked me if I wanted him to go to Iraq and get killed.

The guilt goes on and on...........It is not easy to look back at everything that I said because so often I was reacting to his "problems" that at the time affected my "quality of life". My time was spent "fixing" his problems and worrying about him.

Now that he is gone, my time is spent grieving for him.

This is my "normal" now.

When no one is in the house and I am having an exceptionally bad day, I loudly say,
" Austin, look what you have done to me, your Mother! How can I live without you? You are my heart!!"

When I am struggling to move heavy furniture up the stairs, I say, "Austin, baby, I need your help!" The weight is lessened and I move things a 5' 5", 110 lbs. woman should not be able to lift. I can hear him say, like dozens of times before, " Here, Mom, let me help you. You shouldn't be doing that yourself."

And I write to him. But mostly I cry. All the time. Everywhere I go. I went to one Compassionate Friends meeting and I could not even say my name. I couldn't quit crying.
My therapist put me on Lexapro a month after Austin died and I lost all emotion, I couldn't cry at his grave, even. I went off of it in less than a week.
I want to feel the pain. I want to hurt. This is my "normal" now.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our kid's addictions have taken "reality" from us.

Our kids' addictions have taken "reality" from us. Our emotions when we were with them would change from anguish to pure joy in seconds. We have done things that we never expected to ever do.

Austin was picked up in Camden County, NJ for speeding and they found pot. He was put on probation and had to report to his probation officer once a month. Downtown Camden is VERY scary. In the evening, he would be in a line on the sidewalk leading to the offices, with really hardcore criminal-types. He would take cigarettes with him to smoke so he would appear tough. (he didn't smoke)

I would sit in the car for hours waiting, the car running, double don't dare park where you could be blocked in and robbed. Once, in the darkness, a man threw his hands on my window and yelled "give me money!" I hit the panic button on my key ring and I yelled back "Go away!" He did.

Then Austin would jump in the car and say "Lets get out of here!" We would feel relief as we left the dangerous streets of Camden.

Every week, Austin would give his probation officer a payment towards his fine…totaling
$1,750.00. At the end of his probation, he received a notice in the mail that he was not getting his driver’s license back until he paid back the fine of $1,750.00 plus delinquent fines. We had to pay it….again. His probation officer was pocketing the money Austin gave him.

This is typical in that world and one cannot do anything about it. Remember... Camden is in a "police state", the Mayor and all his friends are in jail for drug trafficking.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sudden, heartbreaking grief...

A few months ago, in a city I don't even remember, I was staring out of my hotel room window when a flock of large birds (I think sea gulls) flew by. There was a loud crash as one hit my window. I stepped closer to the window and saw all but one bird fly on.

The lone bird sat perched on a chimney directly across from me and appeared dazed. It would cock his head this way and that. I assumed it was trying to recover from hitting the window. I couldn't quit watching it, I just stood there staring. Suddenly, it flew down to the rooftop below me... at this point my nose was up against the window pane, waiting to see what the bird was doing.
He swooped down by a dead bird, apparently the one that had actually hit the window. He sat there for a moment, nudging the fallen bird, as if to try to revive it.

The grieved bird suddenly picked the fallen, dead bird up with its claws and flew off above the rooftops, towards the trees in the horizon, never dropping the dead bird even though they were the same size. I watched until they were out of sight.
I felt like I was watching a glimpse of grief that we don't normally see or even think of, in animals. The heartbroken bird couldn't leave his companion alone, even in death.
We aren't the only ones to know grief.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The funeral memories..

I don't know how I got through those first few weeks, the funeral was surreal, memories are in bits and pieces, my husband and others either filled in the blanks or jolted memories to surface.

The funeral director gave me a lock of Austin's hair.

At the grave site, after the service and music and people were starting to walk away. I turned toward Austin's vault and his father was standing at the foot of the vault. Mike, his Dad, picked up the vault on one end and crying said, "Austin, my son, I'm picking you up one last time." It was so touching. We all cried.

I thought that they say you wake up in the morning and it takes a second to "remember", then the nightmare washes over you . But not me, I have never had a moment I forgot. Although for a while I would run back into the house to grab my cell before getting into the car because I thought Austin may call and tell me he changed his mind.

DNA in a plastic zip lock bag

I wish that I had thought to keep more unwashed clothes of Austin's, but I was totally unprepared to deal with the loss of him. I just did what I thought I was "supposed" to do. Which was clean up, give to charity, box up and store away and even throw away his belongings. No one told me "what to do" except I knew that I had to empty his apt. quickly and I was afraid that I would be responsible for the remainder of his lease because I co-signed for him. I kept his folded laundry on top of my dryer for a long time (until I replaced the old dryer) because it looked like he may came home and, grab his clothes, and say, "Thanks, Mom, you didn't have to do that!", like he always did. I did take his washcloth and bar of soap from his shower...thinking that I would always have his DNA in a plastic zip lock bag.I miss that big teddy bear of a sweet kid so bad...

Austin Loved the Outdoors.

Austin and I used to watch Steve Irwin on TV all the time. Austin was very interested in The Crocodile Hunter, National Geographic and anything about the outdoors and animals.

When I cleaned out his apartment, a week after his funeral, I found a bucket of water (in the kitchen) with a small fish in it still swimming around. I am sure he caught it in the creek behind his apt. and thought he would keep it as a pet. So typical Austin!

When he was a child, he brought every living thing he could find home with him. One time our cleaning lady went screaming through the house, yelling at the top of her lungs that there was the biggest bug she'd ever seen crawling in the sunroom. It was Austin's crawl dad (cray fish) that he had gotten out of a creek and had escaped his aquarium.
The next day on my door step, there was a short, but to the point, note that said....

Mrs. B.,

I have enjoyed cleaning for you and your family.
However I shall not be returning.
Sincerely,M. M.

Such sweet memories of raising 2 boys in a small town in midwestern USA.....