On March 1, 1996 at about 7:30 pm, my daughter Sarah walked into her brothers room to find him dead on the floor next to his bed. My son Brandon was found with a bag over his head and an aerosol can of room deoderizer next to him. This 16 year old boy had no intention to die, his intention was to have a brief "high". This brief "high" cost him his life. Brandon had always been what I called an "edge rider"... always tempting fate. In and out of trouble for theft and possession of marijuana. He once pried a diamond out of my anniversary band to trade for a bike part. My life was in constant turmoil. I was attending a "Parents in Crisis" meeting (formerly Tough Love) each week for about 3 years and had him in counseling over a period of 9 years and would have done anything to save him from his path of self-destruction. I would have walked to the ends of the earth for him.
After losing Brandon I thought I had so few good memories to comfort me, but as time passes, I find many memories providing comfort. And I have also found a great many things about Brandon to be paricularly proud of.
I am researching inhalant abuse and hope to be able to speak to young people and adults in the future. My daughter who is only 9 years old has already spoke to kids here at the high school about what happened to her brother and the dangers of inhalants. I didn't know that she would be doing this until after the fact. You can be sure that there wasn't a sound in the room when she spoke except for muffled cries from many of Brandon's peers. How very proud I was of her for her strength.
I know that when Brandon was very close to his death, he left his body and saw the "light" and traveled to it finding an all-knowing, complete joy and warmth envelope him. I have sorrow for the loss of my beautiful son, but I also find comfort and peace knowing his trials are over and he is in a place of comfort and love.