Thursday, December 28, 2006

News of Ben's death

My son Ben died, November 29, 2006. He overdosed on heroin that night and accidentally killed himself.

He came home that night and said hello to his roommates. They said he seemed happy, not depressed. Then he went into the bathroom. When he didn't come out after a really long time, they went in to check on him and discovered his body with a syringe nearby. He was dead.

Ben and I had been estranged for quite some time -- since almost four years ago when he returned to Indiana after trying to live with us in Florida. But just two weeks before he died, out of the blue, he called. He told me about his life and we reminisced. He followed up a few days later and we talked again. He seemed to be doing well. He seemed happy. He planned to go to IU next fall. I invited him to visit over the holidays.

But now he's gone. I had meant to track him down the previous weekend to talk again. I was looking forward to it. But you know how it goes. There are always some hundred little things to distract from the important ones.

My wife, Oxana was upset, too, and cried more than I. Ben had traveled with me to Odessa in 1999 on my second trip to meet her. She regrets that he never got to see his new little sister Nastya, or to see how much Polina has grown since he last saw her. She weeps to think that he missed out on so many joys of life: romance, marriage, children.

But Ben had a fairly good 25 years, too. He had just about every advantage a middle class kid could ask for. A lot of people loved him and made that clear to him constantly. And yet he had an unhealthy urge to get high and stubbornly refused to accept help to get beyond that. He was certain he could handle his problem.

It's a sad thing (a rather stupid thing, too) and those of us who really knew him will miss him terribly.

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