Saturday, April 11th, marked 11 months since my 16-year-old son, Sam, died the victim of a little known synthetic drug, 25i-NBOMe. We acknowledged the milestone for the most part in silence although the day spoke loudly to our broken, aching hearts. Nick and I had a nice lunch at Ichiban Sushi Bar & Sammy's Asian Cuisine; the place where as a family we celebrated Valentine’s Day the year before and I took a short video clip of Sam eating General Tso’s with chop sticks. It was just another family dinner for which we had no idea that in a few short months would be forever different to us going forward.
It was at lunch on the 11th that my second-born son, Nick, asked me what I really do in my professional career. It seemed at first, a little odd, because Sam and I had talked about it so many times but for Nick, until now, it didn’t seem all that important and that’s okay because I was happy to have the conversation with him when he asked. Sam had just asked earlier and more often. I even have one of Sam's first drawings in preschool. It was a drawing of me with skyscraper buildings in the background and the caption read, "My mom works in the city in a big building." Around the same time, Sam commented in the car one morning, "Mom, why do you have to wear black at work?" I then realized I wore black suits because it was easiest to clean off any last minute breakfast "accidents" when I happened to look at myself in the mirror at work.
Since the 11th, I’ve reflected more on my life and the now, grief without a timeline, to share in the next few blogs. For Nick:
“When I earned my Bachelor of Science degree with concentration in Psychology from the University of Illinois in the early 1990’s, I thought I would get a job out of college and then a year or two later go back to college and get my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology, perhaps even a doctorate. Instead, my life turned out more like John Lennon sings in his song about his son on his last album before his death, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” C’est la vie.
During my last two years of undergraduate study, I also held a position as a Benefits Analyst in Human Resources for a mid-size manufacturing and distribution company. As an analyst, I worked 30-plus hours a week while also taking full-time classes towards my Bachelors degree. Upon earning my college degree, my employer offered me a promotion to Compensation and Benefits Manager in Human Resources. Considering it a rewarding opportunity for my first position out of college, I accepted the offer and I was officially in the workforce post-graduation and from there, there were really only whimsical look-backs to my original goals of earning my Masters.”
Tomorrow: Part 2, Small town girl