Max Cota...gone too soon...
by Laurie Cota
Max and I, June 2011
Click on each photo to enlarge.
Max was 6'2, 225lbs. Brown hair, blue eyes and a smile that would stop anyone in their tracks. Max was athletic. He started playing competitive baseball at just 10 years, old was a high school football "stud" and strong as an ox. Max was an honor role student, extremely popular, charismatic, and if he loved you, you knew it.
He was all of those things.
And a drug addict.
Addiction is a progressive disease. His first rehab was when he was 16 years old...his second rehab at 18...his third at 19...
Somewhere Max was lost and drug Max took over.
At just 20 years old, and just 30 hours after he was released from a 90 day drug rehabilitation program Max was handed heroin by a "friend" and died.
I read so many stories that mirror my own...why is this happening to our children? Why aren't drug laws anywhere near as tough as alcohol laws?
Many states in the country are prosecuting the people that give drugs to someone and those drugs result in death. It is called drug induced homicide...and unfortunately not being enforced in the state of Utah where my son died.
If I drink and drive and kill a willing passenger in my car I go to jail for manslaughter. Yet in many states throughout the country you can hand someone the drugs that kill them and walk away...where is the justice in this?
As I read the stories and I see the grief I wonder why we aren't doing more...doing something...to stop our beautiful children from dying...
Max was my only child. He died 9/7/11...and I miss him terribly. I have to assume that there is a reason I was left here and he was taken...maybe there is a reason we were all left here without our children. I search every day for reason in his death...I wonder why the man who gave him the drugs was never prosecuted...I wonder if I am still here to make sure that no other mother has to sit back and watch their child die while their drug supplier walks free just to kill another child.
My son was much more than the disease he fought so hard to overcome..my son wanted to live.
The last day I shared with him was 8/8/11-his 20th birthday. After an amazing day together I had to leave him in Utah and head back to NV where I live. I began to cry...feeling guilty because this was the first year I hadn't been able to bake him a cake and because I knew it would be several weeks before I was back in Utah for a visit.
He hugged me so tight and he said, "don't cry mama, I will see you soon."
I never saw my handsome, healthy, vibrant son again.
He died while I was making the 6 hour drive to Utah to bring him his things from home. He had just signed up for school and was living close to campus...preparing to snow board all winter, go to school and work on his sobriety with an outpatient program...
Handing a recovering drug addict drugs is criminal. It's heinous...gross...and legal.
Through our pain I think it's time to join together and focus the anger, the grief, the unexplainable empty ache and make sure our children didn't die in vain.
No more parents should suffer...the drug suppliers should.
Addiction is a disease. It's not a choice.
My son did not choose to die. Faced with his drug of choice he simply couldn't say no...
I miss him every second of every day. I don't even know who I am without him.
I just keep waking up every day and trying to figure it out. Figure out what is left of my life without my son...figure out why I am here and that someone that shined as brightly as Max did is gone.
If you have any ideas...any thoughts on making drug laws as far reaching as alcohol laws, I would love to hear from you. Somehow, someway, something has to be done...