I Wore This Dress To Bury My Son
by Trisha Grose and Richie Farrell
Last week, I thought about sticking a knife into my neck. The plan was to hold the blade close to my carotid artery, clench my eyes tight and slit my throat from ear to ear.
Since Brendan left, I’ve thought of a million ways to kill myself. This morning, the conditions are perfect. It’s snowed all night. The roads down the mountainside are magnificently treacherous. I have the perfect bridge embankment on highway C470. Solid cement. At 75 or 80 mph, death will be instant.
I jump into Brendan’s brand new custom ordered 2015 orange RAV4 and start up the engine. It was his sixteenth birthday present. Two weeks after we gave it to him, we found out he was a heroin addict.
Nothing left to think about. My son, Brendan, is but a few breaths away. I can feel him now, calling to me – asking me to join him.
I pull out of my driveway, look up into the mirror and the reflection I see is no longer me. Four months ago, I was beautiful. Now I have dark bags under my eyes, never-ending tears on my cheeks, and a sadness you only see in broken souls.
The thing about heroin addiction is that it has ruined our family. The day my 15-year-old son, Brendan, took his first hit, he changed my life. Yes, not just his, but mine too. And not just mine, everyone that loved him.
My daughter, Haley found him unresponsive. She is twelve and has never gone back downstairs to her bedroom. She probably never will. She sleeps on the floor next to me. Most nights she wakes me, her long blonde hair drenched with sweat from nightmares.
My husband, Scott, is a retired police officer. He’s seen depression before; I can’t hide it from him. Nowadays, he spends most of his time following me around, desperately trying to be there when I finally get the courage to end this life.
We are all on a merry-go-round we can never escape. So we stay on this ride. Dizzy, sick, tired, and scared. No peace. No quiet. Only the merry-go-round with these silly stuffed animals on Brendan’s bed, staring at you with blame and shame and sadness. You vomit, you cry, and yet you ride round and round.
I see the bridge now. Maybe a hundred yards away. My palms are dripping sweat. How will it feel? Dying. Will it hurt? I take a deep breath, step down hard on the accelerator and suddenly something in the mirror flashes.
I see images, moving pictures in fast forward, a movie that storms across my brain without notice… Brendan dying.
I jump on top of Brendan and straddle him on his bed. His eyes are tiny slits. I can see some white, but I’m afraid to pull back his eyelids. He is barely breathing. Like an animal, I scream to Scott. What is happening? Why won’t he wake up?
Scott pushes me off and drags Brendan to the floor and begins CPR. I watch as Scott chokes on black liquid coming from Brendan’s mouth. I don’t understand what is happening. A rancid smell of vomit begins to suffocate me. Black blood and a vile bodily fluid begin to cover the carpet around Brendan’s head.
The almost vanilla poured cement that supports the bridge is coming on hard now. The salt in my tear stings badly. I fight hard to open my eyes and focus. How can I do this to Haley? How can I not see my Brendan again? I close my eyes and pray. It’s almost over.
The living room is filled with fireman, police officers, and EMT’s. Where did they come from? When are we leaving? Why isn’t Brendan in the ambulance yet? Someone is talking about where to land the chopper. Just get my boy to the hospital! There is an awkward cocoon of silent madness enveloping me. A vacuum of untouched insanity. A prelude to perfectly woven horror, and all of a sudden Scott walks in and pops that bubble.
He is walking in slow motion. Staring at me. His voice cracks, a sentence, just 5 words, “Brendan did not make it.” His arms reach out to catch me as I fall to the kitchen floor. No, oh God, NO! Not my baby. Not my boy. He kneels down and holds me. I can’t breathe. There is no air. I am suffocating. Scott cradles me, softly crying and saying “I know, I know”. But no one can know. I carried Brendan inside of me; he can’t be gone. He just can’t. Oh God, no. I begin to gag. My stomach wretches. I begin to quiver uncontrollably. My baby is dead.
The bridge embankment screams at me as Brendan’s RAV4 races by its beckoning strength. I’m hyperventilating. I’m so cold. My insides are rattling. Madness. I can’t take it anymore. Brendan. Brendan. Brendan. I can’t stop calling out his name. Why can’t God fix this?
Moments later, I find myself idling in the breakdown lane on Highway C470. I just couldn’t do it. Maybe tomorrow. I wipe the sweat from my hands onto my dress. Wait. This dress.
Suddenly, it hits me, I wore this dress to bury my son.