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, […]

minute read
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.

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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.

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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.

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I see images, moving pictures in fast forward, a movie that storms across my brain without notice… Brendan dying.


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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.


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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.


About the Author: Trisha Grose continues to receive ongoing therapy to deal with her grief. She consults regularly with her clergy, Rev Nancy Malloy and no longer contemplates suicide at any level. Trisha is committed to helping others avoid the ultimate cost of the heroin epidemic. She is currently writing a book, Beauty From His Ashes, so that the death of her son, Brendan, can help others. More info. @ http://beautyfromhisashes.com/
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I’m so sorry for your loss, I’m the same as age your son and this story just absolutely broke my heart. I can’t imagine what you all are going through, I hope as the days go by you can get past this. It will never be okay but it gets a little easier as everyday passes, I lost a family member in a similar way and it’s terrible. Praying for you & your family. Keep sharing his story because I know that it will touch other people as it touched me and it might save someone, you never know.

  2. My heart is aching for you, dear Trisha, and for the family, I know that your sharing this devastating event in the life of your dear son, Brendan, will help others, I AM SURE OF THAT! I believe Brendan is in a better place now, and my prayers are for you and the family as you live on, and tell Brendan’s story, and help others in and through it all….all our love to you dear ones!! xoxox

  3. Ohhhhh I understand the pain and the sorrow. Our son, Eric, passed away from an OD on 1/29/16. While I thought I had mentally prepared myself for his certain death, to live it is another thing entirely. I have to check the calendar to confirm the day of week and date. I have been in a 24/7 daze. Tears flow all day, with awkward moments of tears flowing in the grocery store. I’m not suicidal but I am pretty much a zombie right now. I am going to a grief support group, starting tonight. I pray you can discover a peace that surpasses all understanding. My prayers are with you. (((Hugs)))

  4. It has taken me 11 years to realize that each and every day doesn’t take me further away from my son, but instead each day brings me closer to the reality of seeing him again. I hope that thought comforts you. ((Hugs)) to you my dear friend.

  5. I want to talk to u in person. I know how u feel. My life my family’s life has never been the same. Our whole family dynamic has changed

  6. Stay for your baby girl…………stay because you know your son would want you to stay. My daughter buried her daughter 20 years ago. She stayed for her other children. I wont lie and tell you it gets easy. It never gets easy. It gets different. I dealt with my granddaughters death by throwing myself into activism, getting a law passed in her name, Show Haley that no matter how bad what happens to you is, YOU can survive it. Tell his story to anyone that will listen. I always felt if I saved only one life I was making Kimbers death not be in vain. I am lighting a candle and asking that you and your family feel the healing love and light I am sending you…………..

  7. Sending you strength and courage for your days ahead. Thank you for sharing your tragic story, it’s important that the word is spread that addiction kills, it is not only for FUN, its deadly.

  8. You are not alone. I, too, have lost my son. I know how you feel. Deeply. The best thing you can do for Brendan, for yourself, for others is to continue to tell your story. Stories can help heal. I believe the wonderful writer Andrew Solomon when he says, “We all have our darkness, the trick is making something exalted of it.” You’ve begun to do that. Keep it up!

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