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No parent should outlive their child

It’s devastating

 

Nathan is on the right

 

I met him when he was just 3 years old. He was bright eyed and bushy tailed. He had his whole life in front of him. Little did we know how short his life would be.

 

A few days ago I wrote a post that was a tribute to my son, Nathan Canson. Okay, he was my stepson, hence the different last name, but I’d raised him for 25 years and I thought of him as my own. He passed away about a week ago. It was a crushing loss for the whole family. We have a big family so there’s been a river of tears shed.

 

We had to go into Baltimore today to pick up some of his belongings from the police station. They didn’t think that it was foul play, but they had to make sure. It wasn’t foul play. It was a heart attack at just 28 years old. It doesn’t seem fair. At age 18, he was a tennis champion at his high school and a member of the wrestling team. I just want to know how does someone go from being in great shape, 10 years ago, to being gone?

 

Nathan was a very strong willed child and we had our differences. He seemed to think that he should be the boss of our home. Unfortunately for him, he was the child and I was the adult. There had always been a lot of butting of heads going on throughout the years. He would try to call the shots and I’d overrule him. We clashed, a lot, over who was the head of the house and who would make the best decisions.

 

We had a complicated relationship. He knew he was loved, but he could never accept that he wasn’t “king of the castle.” Oh well, that’s the way it goes for some children.

 

I didn’t know it until much later, but he struggled with mental health issues starting around age 18. He started hearing voices and they would tell him to do things that he didn’t want to do. He fought them every day and he won every day. Unfortunately for all of us, he turned to drugs to quiet the voices. It worked, for a time, but it wasn’t going to solve the underlying problems.

 

After 5 years of fighting addiction, he finally won that battle too.

 

Nathan with friends and family

 

He was living in our basement toward the end of last year, 2016. He was safe, had a roof over his head and food to eat, but this was probably the worst place for him to be. He would stay up all night and sleep all day. It wasn’t much of a life. I wanted so much more for him and I told him that. I wasn’t willing to write him off like so many others were. I thought that he could be a productive member of society and that he could learn to take care of himself. To that end, I asked him to move out. He was mad and didn’t understand why I was doing that “to him.” It was for his own good.

 

After he moved out he, for the most part, had a place to sleep and food to eat. Although he did have to sleep in his car a couple of nights when he broke curfew at one of the places he was living. He was struggling trying to be on his own. It was tough to watch him go through it all, but I knew he had it in him!

 

He visited his paternal grandparents, for most of the month of May. They live in Florida and he loves them so much. I wanted him to stay longer because he was doing so much better down there than he would’ve been doing here in Maryland.

 

All good things must come to an end though. He arrived back in Maryland and he had found a permanent place to live. I had talked to him a few times when he got back and he said that he had a lot of time to think about everything and he said that he knew what I was trying to do for him. He laughed and called me an evil genius. I think he finally got over being mad and appreciated that I never gave up on him.

 

I was happy for him that he finally knew that I was working for him and not against him. He called me to ask if he could come over to the house and if I would read the lease that he was about to sign. He looked and sounded as good as I had seen him in many years. I know that he had finally turned a corner, in his life. He was making positive strides and I think he would’ve been okay.

 

He was making plans for the future. He was lining up job interviews and wanted to make enough money to go back to college and get a degree in counseling. He just wanted to help people who were in a similar situation to where he had been.

 

Unfortunately, that will never happen.

 

One of the last things that he said was that he just wanted to go home. Now he is home!

 

I love you and I miss you, but I know you’re in good hands. I’ll see you soon.

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