Boys, today we buried a young man. He was an addict. He had a drug addiction to heroin, to getting high and to that feeling of abandonment that accompanies drugs. There is nothing more devastating than drugs. There is nothing that breaks a family apart and that destroys your future, like drugs. And trust me boys, as I saw today, there is nothing in this world as heartbreaking, as soul wrenching as a mother and father burying their son.
Boys, I know your father and I ask a lot of you – grades, attitude, sports, keeping your rooms clean, being kind to each other, following the rules and for goodness sakes – read a book. But you also know that we would not ask anything of you that we did not feel you are capable of accomplishing. You are both outstanding children, in your own way, in your own right. Dad and I are proud of you, on both your best days and on your worst. Although you may try our patience, push our buttons and send me (more than Dad) into a locked bathroom for a hot bath, I hope you know that these everyday struggles are simply roadblocks to adulthood and that they do not define you.
Among the high-pressure competition of high school, your grades do not define you. As a starter for your team – or third string, your sports do not define you. Your test scores, GPA and the college you choose will not define you. All that makes you, you, is the love you carry in your heart, the kindness you show to others, the effort and determination you take with you into the classroom, the grit you leave on the court after a match/game, the way in which you defend your family, how you stand by your beliefs and most importantly, the faith you have in yourself to always know that you are ok. You will always be ok.
I wish you could have felt the heaviness in the room this morning as we gathered to honor the life of a young, vibrant man, not that much older than you two. There was an oppressive grief that I could physically feel, bearing down on my shoulders until they hunched from the weight of it. There was an unspoken knowledge that somewhere along the way, this young man did not turn to his mother, father, sister or brother, but instead turned to drugs and from that point on, he had no return. HIs drug addiction was stronger than him.
Make no mistake, drugs are always stronger than the person, please do not ever think differently.
His was a young life, full of all the possibilities you two speak of on a daily basis, of sports and college and jobs and friends and fun. His life was taken by his drug addiction; he chose drugs over his dreams.
Boys, say a prayer tonight that God holds the family that is left behind in His arms as they grieve over this tremendous loss. And say a prayer tonight and every night that God gives you the strength and knowledge to always turn away from drugs and to understand that when things look the bleakest, your family always, always has your back. Dad and I are here for you. Always remember that you are ok; no matter what the day brings, you are ok.