You and I talked a lot those days when you spent most of your time inside the little red brick house we called home. But I understand now, I only wanted to hear what you had to say that reflected you as the victim.
You told me that the first person to give you drugs (marijuana) was a Boy Scout leader. I wanted you to tell me his name, but you wouldn't. I was so angry. Someone I felt a mother should be safe in entrusting her son to, had unlocked a door that would enable demons to enter. I wanted to confront him; to yell and scream and threaten and then to follow through with my threats. I asked and asked, but you said you couldn't nark on anyone.
Nark. How I hated that word. How I hated that you and your friends would feel it was nobel to not tell on others or each other. How you felt that being loyal to each other was what was right, even though that loyalty could ruin your own lives, could make you bleed, could make you die. How had I gone wrong in my teachings. Why had I not stressed to my baby, my boy, before he became a man that such loyalty should only be spent on that which is just...that which is right. That to spend it on wrong, only made wrong grow until it would finally envelope you and smother you in its darkness. On one hand I could respect your loyalty. On the other I could see where it would destroy you.
You said your first experience with cocaine came when you were feeling at a very low point in your life. Someone said "Come here, Whiting. I have something that will make you feel better." One hit, and you felt better. One hit was all it took to lead you to addiction.
Why hadn't I recognized that the depression that was in our home could spread like a malignancy; affecting myself and my children. I had walked through that period of time with blinders on, seeing only your dad's depression. You and your brother and sisters made it easy for me to think all was well with you. Your laughter was contagious, your senses of humor my saving grace. I didn't realize that beneath the jokes and bantering might lie an unknown sadness. It would be years before I would be able to understand mental illness, years before my beautiful functionally, dysfunctional family would claim we were the poster family for anti-depressants and that the chemical imbalances that some of my children would end up inheriting would only serve to make our family unique. It would be years before I would realize that there was no way I could have known. How could I know what professionals were just on the cusp of knowing then? But I was your Mom. "I should have noticed instinctively" is what my own guilt told me at the time.
"I owe them so much money!" You told me.
"Give them everything you have," I suggested. "Give them your truck and everything else."
"It's not enough, Mom," you said.
It's strange how life works. Had this been only a few years earlier, we would have had the money to help you pay this debt. Would we have? Right or wrong, I have no doubt your dad would have paid whatever it was you owed. But, we were at a point now where we were struggling to stay financially alive. We didn't have the money or access to any.
Your dad had to go to work. He couldn't let the new contracts he had just acquired lapse. He would get up very early in the morning and drive up Provo Canyon to Heber City to install television cable. The road leading to Heber at that time was a traditional canyon road. It was winding and narrow and at places had mountains directly to one side and Deer Creek Reservoir to the other. He left his equipment parked in Heber to keep from hauling them every day.
He started acting strange, and I was very worried. Was the stress of everything getting to him again? He would leave the house when he got home from work and would be gone for hours. When he was home, he wouldn't let any of us open the door if anyone knocked. He would put on his work gloves and walk to the door carrying his 357 Magnum. When we ate dinner, the 357 would sit on the counter top next to where he sat. He took the gun with him whenever he left in his truck.
Your dad had never told you or your siblings that he loved you. I was the only one he said those words too. He was not one to demonstrate affection; no hugs, no kisses (except to me.) However, his actions were about to show just how much he did love you.