By Jeff's mom, Vicki
It has been over two years since I lost Jeff to his addiction. At that time, this campaign was called "128aDay."
Jeff was a beautiful boy: sweet, kind, loving, smart, artistic, talented. He loved making music, snowboarding and developing his own photographs. Jeff was a smart child and learned quickly. At the same time, he was sensitive and had a way with others. He always seemed to befriend the kids in school that no one else would talk to. He was like that.
Like many of us, Jeff made some bad choices. When he chose heroin, his love for life disappeared.
I found pot in his room when he was mid-high school. At the time I had no idea that this would start us down the ugly road that was to come. I thought things were fine. I found out too late that when Jeff was abusing drugs it was hard to know how he was really doing.
He was enrolled in an accelerated program for high-achievers in high school. When his grades started dropping he told me it was “just too hard” for him. He dropped out of that program, graduated and headed off to college.
As his first year away from home went by, his grades dropped and the things he said weren’t adding up. Something was wrong.
One day I got a call at the hospital where I work saying that my son was downstairs. Panicking, I ran down to the ER. Car accident? Appendicitis? No--a drug overdose. As Jeff came out of his drugged stupor, he said “I want to kill myself.” He was admitted to a local mental hospital.
The two weeks he spent there were a nightmare--he worked the system expertly. At a counseling session he threw a chair against a wall. He didn’t cooperate. They put him on antipsychotic medication. He didn’t follow the rules when he came home either, and eventually I kicked him out because the situation became dangerous for everyone under that roof. His dad took him in.
He overdosed again but I didn’t know about it until we got the ambulance bills.
He came to live with us again and seemed to be doing better. He was going to outpatient counseling daily and I thought--Hey, it’s finally working!---before things started to get bad again. His behavior was erratic, he wasn’t doing any of his favorite activities anymore and he always “had to work.”
He signed himself into a rehab but got kicked out the next day for smoking a cigarette. It was New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year. He missed Easter dinner, a movie date, his Grandma’s birthday, etc. I went to see him at work once and he was in the bathroom for a long time. When he walked out he looked sick--his face was pale and broken out, his eyes were glassy. After giving Jeff a drug test that lit up like a christmas tree, his dad set an ultimatum: “it’s either rehab or you’re out of this house.” He admitted himself again. It was April 4, 2015
After getting through detox he was doing well.
When I went to visit him he asked me, “Mom, what do you want?”
“I want my old Jeff back.” I said.
“You’ll get your old Jeff back, that’s why I’m here.”
On April 21st he was discharged--clean and happy--to a ¾ house close to home.
On April 29th, Jeff didn’t show up for work and when his Dad went to the ¾ house looking for him, he found his son--dead.
All of Jeff’s beloved cameras were found in a local pawn shop.
My heart--forever torn to shreds.
He tried to right the wrong choices
He tried hard...so hard...
But those choices were too big...too hard for Jeff to overcome.
My Jeff died of an overdose of Heroin/Fentanyl.
Jeff was a good kid.
They are all good kids.
This is so wrong,