By Andrew Scott
I called him R. J. from the moment he was born. It was short for Robert Joseph. Named in memory of his mother’s father. As a child, R. J. had an eye for adventure. Once you heard his giggle You knew R. J. was in a place that he should not be. The clean up was never-ending. R. J. did not stay as outgoing with age. Sometime during his teenage years he went from outgoing to extremely private. Could never pinpoint the change. All I can say is it happened half way into his high school years. R. J. moved in with a lovely lady shortly after graduation. We were so happy and proud of them both. Six years together and all we saw was bliss. It was not until it ended that a problem came to light. R. J. had to move back in to regroup. The drinking was noticed, the drugs were not. Late nights or disappearing for days could not be ignored by his mother or I. R. J. would come home with new bruises, cuts all over his face. That is really when I got involved. Took R. J. to a place to dry out and talk for a week, just him and I. That was when I found out about the drugs. R. J. had been taking since middle school. He said it started as an experiment that grew. The booze part was because that was all he could taste from working with chemicals. Even when he was spitting blood R. J. did not see a problem. I thought it was a great detox week. So many conversations that brought us closer. Saw the light at getting my son back. Slowly we gave him earned trust. He was showing up to work and home. R. J. gained weight, a healthy weight. The call came in around six or seven. I can tell you it was a Tuesday. The sky was bright with the sun setting. I called him R. J., short of Robert Joseph. He was my only son, Now he was gone.
As each new day rises the air fills with new stress of every person’s uncertainty, not knowing what times will bring. The clouds are a little grey with shades of clearing bringing a hint of better times. People are locked away, prisoners in their own home living in fear of the unknown. Strangers appearing out of the dark with hands out to care for one another, strength given with no touch providing a glimpse of better times. Almost every breathe is hard in these times of the terrifying, people do not know where to move. The good in people will manifest, trust in the human nature of the kind. The path will lead to better times.
If I Only Knew Then
If I only knew then what I have discovered now. The knowledge and wisdom of an elder's voice. during a rebellious time voices were never heard though thick walls. Always fought against the advice. Trouble came that could have been avoided adding to the life long pain that may never heal in the scarred bones. As I get older, the weight is heavier in my thoughts. Memories of when people tried to steer me right. When they saw a person that I did not. If back then I only knew.