|HBC and Cliff 2010|
On January 10th, he hit his 27th birthday.
He was a son.
He was a brother.
He was a grandson.
He was a nephew.
He was a fiance'.
He was a father.
He was a friend.
He was an addict.
He was an addict.
On January 14th he was dead. One of Cliff's closest friends over the past five years was slip-sliding away on the slopes of addiction. When Cliff met H.B.C. they were both working out, trying to develop some healthy life choices and avoid the demons that were waiting to pounce on them. Cliff was six months out of prison and 1-1/2 years clean from drugs; the longest stretch in 15 years.
H.B.C. had a personality as big as life and loved to have fun and made it his job to be sure that everyone else was having fun too. But H.B.C. loved money, fast easy money and found a way to enjoy the trappings of dealing K2, which at the time was considered a safe, natural and legal alternative to marijuana. Cliff and I had many an argument about this synthetic pot and all the ill effects of using it, which seems to have a reverse side effect of pot. Many users have had symptoms of drug induced psychosis episodes, violence and death. Cliff did not indulge but thought it was okay for others.
K2 also provided H.B.C. the money to live like a king and eventually when money wasn't available by those desiring to purchase, pills became the bartering exchange to which H.B.C. became a powerless man. You name it, he took it. H.B.C. lived a life of risk-taking, a telling symptom of an addict. Eventually over time, Cliff began to see what this mess was doing to his friend and more importantly, began to see that he had to distance himself from the group.
Cliff called me frantically on Tuesday morning to see if I could find anything on the Internet stating H.B.C. was dead. It was too soon for any announcement and when it was finally posted, it was briefly stated that this would be a private shiva. I can only imagine the phone call H.B.C's mother received as I had expected a call far too often during Cliff's drug years. I always felt that had I got the call, Cliff's funeral would have been private too.
I had dinner with my son last night. He didn't have much of an appetite and every now and again the tears would rise to the surface and bring Cliff to a silent weeping. He was going through the process of all those in grief of what he could have/should have done. He was especially sorry because they were having a texting war of disagreement as Cliff was trying hard to love with detachment, but may have just given words of detachment with no love which happens often in frustration and chaos. Cliff said H's death drove home even more the reason to stay clean. His friend's life was snuffed out way too soon and probably unintentionally and how he tried so hard to get through to H, but H just didn't seem to hear him. He also said he had just a glimpse of how I must have felt when I tried to talk to him too about changing his life. I encouraged Cliff that he can use this in his life to urge others to walk the recovery walk. I was never more thankful for where each of us are today.
When we parted I hugged my son a good long time and told him I loved him and was so sad for H's mother but so thankful that it wasn't him. Those were hard words as I felt a little selfish having my son in the flesh standing in front of me while another mother cries out that she will never be able to hug her firstborn again.
Reality bites hurt and you can't avoid them no matter what lifestyle you live. Not one more soul needs to be lost this way. If you love an active alcoholic or addict, make sure they know you love them and are always urging them to win. Meet them for a meal, buy them some warm socks or shoes if they need them. Let them take a shower. Show some love especially if they don't deserve it. They are still one of God's most precious creations.
May God bring comfort to those still standing and strength to the sick and suffering.