November 9, 1990 - December 7, 2008
I never dreamed that addiction would devastate my family as it has. This was not the life that I imagined when I became a mother. The grief and devastation of losing a child is unbearable and if our story can can prevent just one family from dealing with this disease alone, we will have made a difference.
I am the mother of two wonderful, loving boys: Louis and Michael Marcell.
Michael was always quiet and shy. He struggled in classes and was bullied during formative years in school. When he was sixteen he became depressed and more withdrawn. We tried several times to get him help through the school system to no avail. By the time he was a junior in highschool and had failing grades, we made the difficult decision to withdraw him. Michael was determined to graduate so he decided to take the GED class and passed.
Michael enjoyed working with his hands and found his calling in carpentry work. He also loved skateboarding, snowboarding, and spending time with his friends and brother, Louis. He was drawn to nature and had an old soul. Around the age of 17 he began experimenting with alcohol and marijuana with three friends he’d grown up with. I was concerned but thought it was just a phase. A few days before his death he told a friend that he needed help. I was never able to get him that help because I didn’t know the extent of his addiction until it was too late.
We lost Michael on December 7, 2008 just after celebrating his eighteenth birthday. He had gone to a party the night before he passed away and because of a fight going on that night at home, he decided to stay there overnight. That was the last time I saw my son. The next day around five in the evening the police came to my door to tell me that my son was gone--an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone. I remember that moment as if it was yesterday. Three years ago we lost his best friend, Steve, to a heroin overdose. They are buried beside each other.
My older son, Louis, was devastated by the loss of his brother and began masking the pain with alcohol and drugs. His downward spiral started with oxycodone and progressed to heroin. Unlike Michael, I was able to help save Louis. After completing rehab, he decided to live in a sober house and he continues to embrace his recovery today by sponsoring others in recovery and working at an inpatient treatment center. On August 18, 2016, he will celebrate his third year in recovery.
If we had the tools and knowledge about addiction that we have today when Michael was struggling, I might have been able to save my son.