Johnny Boy

by Julie

"Johnny Boy" - the love of my life

Words of Sorrow
I lost my 22 year old son - John "Johnny Boy" - to an accidental drug overdose on 9/29/08. He was the light of my life and others. I had no idea he was even using drugs! John was a great student, athlete and friend to all he met. You just never think a tragedy like this will hit your family. His classmates have sent me numerous cards telling of his humor, ability to make others have fun and to find the bright side of every situation.

On Sunday, September 21st, I was on my way home from visiting my other two kids at College Station. My cell phone rang and John was calling I thought. It was his roommate using John's phone to reach me. This was the call that changed everything in my life.

His roommate told me that John had just been taken to the ER unconscious. I changed my route home and headed to Fort Worth. This had to be the longest trip of my life. I contacted an ER nurse who confirmed he was still unconscious and told me to be safe - but that I needed to get there as soon as I could.

Three hours later I arrived to find my 22 year old son, unconscious and totally unresponsive. John was 6'5", curly blonde hair and always happy. To see him in this condition broke my heart. Over the next 8 days, John continued to go deeper into a coma. The doctor's confirmed he had significant brain and heart damage. We finally reached a point where we (and the doctors) realized he would never wake up.

On Monday, September 29th we made the most difficult decision that any parent had to make - we let John go and removed the life support. Within 1.5 hours he was gone. The image of John's struggle for his last breaths will never leave me.

For the last several weeks I think I have been in shock and just shut down emotionally. That has all changed in the last week. I can't stop crying. I don't want to go to bed and face the darkness where there is no place to hide from his death - then I don't want to get up and face another day. I have nearly an hour commute to work and I cry all the way there and all the way home and off and on throughout the day. I can't seem to focus on what I need to be accomplishing and am so relieved when the day is over so I don't have to keep up the facade of everything being ok.

The pain is unbearable and instead of getting better with time it is getting worse. I feel like everyone thinks I should be back to "normal" by now, and even my husband (John's stepdad) is puzzled at my tears.

I feel like I am nothing but a burden on others. I'm concerned to share my pain with my kids as I don't want to make it worse for them. I feel like I have no one to turn to. I have always been very social and enjoyed going to dinner with friends. I no longer want to even be around people. I just want to seek refuge in my home and never leave.

I thought I had a strong faith but going to church is even more painful. I am really angry with God! We had prayer warriors around the world praying for the miracle of John's recovery, but we didn't get the miracle. I prayed with everything in me,but John still died. I truly believe that God could have changed the outcome but chose not to! I may never know why.

I feel like it must be my fault-- this is my punishment for not being a good enough mom or good enough Christian. I feel like I really failed John and God and there must have been something I could have done that I didn't do.

Everything seems to remind me of John - teal Ford Rangers - cowboy hats - Dennis the Menace - garlic mashed potatoes (a Thanksgiving staple) and it goes on and on. Will it ever get better?

Comments for Johnny Boy

Click here to add your own comments

Nov 18, 2009
Another grieving mother
by: Karen

I lost my 23 year old son Josh to a prescription drug overdose on August 1, 2008. I have all of the same feelings as you. I am writing this on November 18, 2009 and I cannot believe it has been 16 months. Some days I feel that I will be okay, but forever changed in my personal feelings and beliefs about life. I miss him every day, sometimes the pain is too much to bear, but I have so much in my life that I cannot forget about. I have a wonderful husband, a daughter and a son who need me.

It's comforting to hear from others who share my grief, but it hurts that this type of death is too common.

Oct 21, 2009
Thank you for sharing
by: JulieC

Margaret & TLK-CT,

Thank you for sharing your losses with me. We just passed the 1-year anniversary of John's death and in some ways I can't believe he has been gone a year, and in other ways I haven't fully accepted that I will never see him again in this world.

John did have wonderful friends. About a dozen of them came to town on 9/29/09 - the date of his death- and we had them all over and cooked burgers for them. It was a nice way to remember John and share our good memories and sorrows with each other.

I am dreading the holidays this year - last year I think we were all too "numb" or in "shock" - we don't have that luxury this year. But God will get us through - one day at a time.

I will add both of you and your families to my prayer list - may God wrap you in his comfort.

Oct 21, 2009
We grieve with you
by: Margaret

Dear Julie

We feel your pain and share your deep sadness. There is nothing like the pain of a lost child. I have lost both my much loved parents and other family members but nothing prepares you for the loss of a child. It is the ultimate loss.

Like you Julie, we lost our son Matthew to a drug overdose, but unlike you, we knew he had addiction problems. Many times over the last 8 or so years he had asked for our help to assist him in getting clean. We did this and felt his pain of addiction. The addicts are also victims of this disease and need our help and support in the same way as if they had a physical illness.

Our son was once a successful young man with a business, house and steady girlfriend, but got into hard drugs as a way of comfort after his relationship ended several years ago. We supported him and were with him all the way in his efforts to get clean. We too shared the triumphs of his battle with this disease and depths of despair when the old habit returned
with a vengeance.

Sadly, 5 months ago he lost his battle with drug addiction when he accidently overdosed, and his loss has left the whole family devastated beyond belief.

Like your son Johnny boy, our son Matthew was liked by all he met and did not deserve to have his life cut short like this. We must hope that in time this awful pain will leave us and we will be left with wonderful memories of our lost loved ones.

We share your grief, Julie and will always remember your great loss along with ours.
All our love and thoughts to you.

Sep 16, 2009
I Feel Your Pain
by: TLK-CT

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. My husband and I just lost our 24 yr old daughter to an accidental heroin overdose after being clean for 35 days. I know I want to tell my story here, but it will take me some time. I just want you to know I share your pain and you're not alone.

Mar 19, 2009
Special Blessings to all my Angels of Encouragement
by: Julie C

To all of you who have taken the time, pain and tears to share your story and encourage me - I thank you.

I haven't been on the site in a while - just trying to get by day by day. Re-reading all of your posts has helped me again realize this is a long process and to take my time through it.

God Bless Each one of you!


Dec 28, 2008
I share your pain.........
by: Kristal

Dear other deeply saddened mother,
So many times I have longed to talk to another mother who understood the pain of losing a child to a drug overdose. It has been 2 1/2 years since my son Robby died from a drug overdose. He was 24-years-old. His father couldn't wake him up one morning.

I knew he used drugs "recreationally." Unfortunately, that was the problem. He didn't know how "to play" with them.

It has been a very difficult struggle since his death. I am a changed person. My heart, while not as sensitive to the horrendous pain to his loss as it once was in the beginning, still aches at the mere mention of his name.

Julie, all I know is I miss my son as I am sure you do. Nothing anyone said made me feel better. In fact, it made me angry. I just wanted my son back. I hope you find your way. It was a slow process for me. The fact that it was a drug overdose, I often found people weren't quite so sympathetic. I quit sharing my story, which didn't help the healing.

What has made this worse is my husband and I were separated when our son died. He struggled and finally couldn't get over our son's death. My husband committed suicide five months ago. My 28-year-old daughter is devastated. I am reeling once again.

But please know this Julie, the death of a child is the ultimate loss as far as I am concerned.

Dec 21, 2008
Thanks for your comments
by: Julie

Thanks to all of you for your comments - it is helpful to me to feel I am not alone and that with time the pain will get better.

I will be praying for all of you to have a Peaceful Christmas and that God gives us all the strength to carry on.

Dec 12, 2008
One more hurting Mother
by: raynell

In this instance I wish I was not qualified to say, "I know your pain". It is my constant companion. I lost my 41 year old son in March in a car accident caused by two teenagers racing on a Houston freeway.

I know what you mean about it being hard to realize they are gone. It all still seems like a nightmare. My sons birthday is Christmas day. What you are feeling and your reactions describes me perfectly. If there is a normal in this darkest of places I suppose we are there.

It seems the only place I want to be is with his wife and two teenage children. Find a connection point or place that is all yours. Let the tears, screams and sobs out as often as you feel them building up. Gentle small tears come every day. I am talking when you don't think you can take another breath.

I have used this site to vent, ramble and some times make sense. Jennie has been a great support in this horrible place. I feel your pain. I have also doubted my faith, my sanity, everything. God is still there for me and He is there for you. This is a club we never wanted to become members of. God's strength to you and to me.

Nov 25, 2008
I feel your pain
by: Gini

I too lost my son, who was 27, on 08 SEP 08. It seems like nothing will ever be good again. If I actually do laugh I feel guilty because Michael isn't here to laugh with me.

I also feel like a burden to my friends and family. They all can move on with their lives and I can't. I feel like they are getting tired of hearing it all the time even though they say they understand. I find it hard to go out, but at the same time, it is so hard to come home every day to an empty house.

Michael lived with me so I could take care of him, he battled cancer for the last 3 years. I now feel lost. Anyway sorry to ramble, I just wanted you to know there are Moms who understand. I hope we all find a way to cope.


Gini Bender

Nov 24, 2008
I know what you are going through
by: D. L. CT

I know exactly what you are going through and I know that I was where you are... I lost my son, he was only 27 years, it makes 3 years now and I can't believe how time flies by, it does not stand still for no one.

There isn't a pill to take or a therapy they have that takes the hurt away.. I have prayed and prayed and still my pain is the same, as the day it happened. They say it doesn't go away, it just lessens.

"When?", I ask, but through this place right here, it has made me realize that I'm not alone. I read others who have gone through it as well, and my heart goes out to them. Like it goes to you right now, and yes I'll pray for you, and so sorry for your loss.
D. L CT.

Nov 22, 2008
Response to Jennie
by: Julie C


Thanks so much for your response. It really helps that what I am experiencing is "normal", as anything can be in this situation.

I'm sure my husband is not dealing with his grief - he is definitely "old school" and doesn't show his feelings - thinks it's a sign of weakness.

I will take your advice and get as much out of this site as possible.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

julie c

Nov 22, 2008
It's ALL Normal
by: Jennie

Holy cow, Julie! You lost your beautiful son not even 2 months ago and your family is "puzzled by your tears"?

They all need a huge dose of education about the grief process... it sounds like your husband is avoiding his own grief, by the way.

You, on the other hand, are like a "poster girl" for normal bereavement... the despair, the tears, the anger, the spiritual doubts. As hard as this is for you, it sounds like you are going through some healthy early-stage reactions.

Please take the time to explore many of the pages of this website, especially Your Pain & Coping Strategies. And by all means, urge your husband and other children to read them, too. You should not have to spare your kids your own grief. You cannot protect them from this painful process. It would be better if you all share this together and not pretend that everything is "okay".

You all are in for a painful, long, and bumpy emotional ride, for which there is no short cut. Yes, Julie, things will eventually get better, but not anytime soon.

My heart goes out to you. Please accept my deepest sympathy to you on your great loss.


Click here to add your own comments

Return to Lost Adult Child.

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

RSS Feed Widget


Tap into the compassion, support and wisdom of the


Essential Healing Guide

Grief Relief

Free Griefwork

Free Stress

SBI Video Tour!