overdose

‘Your brother is dead. Pick up the phone!’ That was the text my sister sent me. I was studying at the time, thinking I was too busy to chat.’ Brother loses twin to tragic heroin addiction

“During his funeral, one of our friends approached me. ‘Your brother really loved you, you know that?’ I said, ‘Yeah I know.’ He continued, ‘One time I told him I was gonna hang out with you. He got really angry. He told me I better watch my back, and that he’d kill me if I got you to start using, too.’ I almost cried right there.”

‘Hun, whatcha doing? You ok in there?’ Silence. ‘Hun…?’ I tried turning the knob. Locked. My heartbeat grew faster. My voice got louder. I banged my fists on the door. I couldn’t save him.’

“We went to bed, said our ‘I love you’s.’ He rubbed my back as I drifted off to sleep. At 5:00 a.m., I awoke to use the bathroom. I guess he couldn’t sleep? He wasn’t in bed. He must be downstairs. The TV wasn’t on. No living room lights. Just a faint glow from the bottom of the bathroom door.”

‘My mother traded my sister for a shotgun and pickup truck. I didn’t see her again for 35 years. One day, I got the clever idea to place an ad in the local newspaper. In 1 month, I got THE call.’

“We met at a run-down cafe and I asked all the questions that burned inside me. I was sitting directly across from her. This time, she couldn’t ignore me. I secretly hoped my suspicions were wrong, but the realistic side of me always said, ‘April, why else would she have stayed away?'”

‘I heard two words: ‘fugitive felon.’ I caught my son’s eye. His shackles made my stomach flutter uncontrollably. His public defender smoothed her beige suit, and approached him.’

“The severely criminal charge was, in fact, a reference to my 24-year-old. I never imagined that term would apply to him. An unexpected call helped me through his transfer to prison. It had been weeks without contact when I answered the unfamiliar number. I fought back tears. He told me how much my son loved me.”

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