By Matthew’s mom, Patricia
Matthew Herring August 19, 1993 - August 25, 2017 Fishkill, NY
My son was no different from anyone else’s. He was formed out of love and brought that love and joy to everyone that knew him. He played football, baseball, lacrosse, wrestled, and was a Boy Scout. He was a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. He loved working alongside his dad and operating big equipment like excavators and backhoes. He wanted the best of everything. He spent hours in the mirror and always took pride in how he dressed and looked. He loved cars, motorcycles, and girls! That was my son prior to drugs.
I knew my son liked to have a good time. He spent a lot of time with friends and going to parties. By 11th grade, I knew it was getting to be too much. The grades were slipping, the attitude was changing and his interest in scouts and playing sports faded. The battle between us started. I tried to encourage and push him to continue on a “good” path but unfortunately, his need to “party” became his top priority.
The following school year our world changed when there was a drug raid at my home. I had no idea that my beautiful boy was selling drugs. Using yes, well I thought I knew what he was using but was very shocked to find out it was more than marijuana. I guess you can say that my head was in the sand or maybe even in denial.
From that day on my life was like being on a roller coaster with all of its twists, turns, ups, and downs. As a family, we fell apart. We loved and hated at the same time sometimes. It was HARD for ALL of us. His little sister, who meant the world to him, just couldn’t comprehend how he wasn’t being the big brother we all thought he should be. As a mom, I was terrified, lost, heartbroken, and felt so helpless but I loved and continued to love.
As far as my son, well I can only share what I feel he would want me to say and that is he tried to fight the demons but some days it was easier than others. He had dreams that he wanted to fulfill and people that he wanted to continue to love and share life's journey with, but the disease of addiction was one that I guess he just couldn’t manage. My beautiful boy died as a result of his substance use disorder at the young age of 24. Oh, how I wish there was a permanent cure.
I have turned my pain and sadness into helping others. I am a MOM-meaning a Mom on a Mission, helping others in any way that I can. I open my heart and door to other mothers and families that are grieving and or suffering. I offer my experience strength and hope to those that want to listen. I am the voice for others that are no longer here or cannot speak to our elected officials. I offer compassion to those struggling with their substance use disorder. I educate and train people in the use of Narcan. Most importantly I share love. I want to make sure that families know that they are not alone, that there is support, that people do recover, and to hold onto hope.