The day has finally arrived. The day I’ve been dreading and wanting to put behind me all mixed into a crazy bag of emotions. My mind is spinning knowing that I will be facing the men who are defending those who feel dumping addicts while under the influence of drugs who have no sense of the imminent danger of losing their lives is an acceptable practice. My emotions are on high alert. Fight or flight, hot then shaking, anger then tears anticipating what is to come. I feel like I’m being sent before the firing squad for a crime I did not commit while the criminal pulls the trigger.
I remember hearing the words he is here. I felt the bile rise in my throat. I had to stop the urge to run away and vomit. How dare the man who dropped you off in a hotel when you needed help feel the need to sit in a room with your grieving mother.
Walking into the conference room, I felt as if I walked into a vacuum. I could here those words over and over again, “It’s Matt”. “He’s dead”. My mind started to scream as the pig smiled my way! I kept telling myself to breathe, just breathe. I couldn’t let them know that what I really wanted to do was squeeze the life out of this smiling arrogant man. I wanted to repeat the words he said to me when he finally found the time to call me days after he knew you were dead. “People die here everyday”. Yes, those were the words that came from the mouth of the man I trusted to keep you safe. The man who cashed my checks and pretended to give a damn about your recovery. I wanted to watch the color drain from his hideous face as I repeated those ugly words as I stared into his eyes knowing that my grieving face would be the last thing he would ever remember.
My fantasy of revenge was short lived as question after question came flying my way. Some so absurd I wondered what these lawyers were trying to prove. Ridiculous questions that had nothing to do with the fact that he woke you from a sound sleep and made the decision to dump you knowing you had used and were in a compromised state. He told your roommate to watch you. Really, a man who professed to be an expert in the field of treating addicts dumped you off with a kid and told him to watch you! Well, he did. He watched as you died.
As I sat there answering those incredibly painful questions I thought of you. The last conversation we had. The I love you Matt and I love you Mom spun around in my head. I tried to remember what your voice sounded like. I tried to find strength in knowing that you knew you were loved. Then a flash back to the last time I saw you. My heart broke silently as I remembered you lying so still on a gurney. Your face blue. Forever frozen in time. Forever 37. I remember holding onto to you, placing my head on your chest listening and praying that I would hear your beating heart. I closed my eyes and prayed that this was a nightmare and I would soon wake up.
That familiar gut punch found it’s way to where I sat. Once again I was being swallowed into my dark abyss. I wanted to disappear. My tears began to fall. I looked across the table through blurry eyes and wondered how these men would feel if you were their son? Would they be questioning why I am suing this man or would they be outraged that he neglected to get their son to a safe place? It’s so easy to judge when your life has not been shattered into pieces that no longer fit together. It’s easy to sit back and place blame on those who paid the ultimate price for a decision that was not their own.
Hours later we are done. I gathered my strength and look directly into his eyes. I tell him that I will forever blame him for your death. I will forever live knowing that he is a fraud, a liar. His decision that fateful night forever changed our lives. I was never given the chance to hear your voice or tell you I will be there with the first available flight. His decision tore the fabric of our family. You are gone and I am broken. Oh how I wanted to say so much more. Words are useless to a man who has no conscious or ethics. I decided not to waste my breath.
I found myself on the beach in Boca. The beach you loved. I walked to the spot you stood. Your handsome, smiling face, your beautiful eyes captured in a picture days before you left. Your image forever burned into my brain. I closed my eyes and saw you running in the surf. My tow headed beautiful boy jumping and laughing. Reaching your hand toward mine. The wind blew my hair like a gentle kiss from your lips. For a brief second you were there and my heart felt complete. I walked on the sand you walked. I breathed the air you breathed. I prayed for your peace and for strength to continue my fight for you.
As my plane climbed higher into the clouds taking me away from where you last walked the earth, I felt a piece of myself stay behind. Almost as if I was standing by your side on your beach watching as the plane grew smaller and smaller until all that could be seen was a trace of smoke. A piece of my soul sits and waits for you to come again. To once again walk side by side hearing the crash of the waves whisper, I love you Matt. I love you Mom.