School assignment for the point of view of a parent losing their child to alcohol and drugs.
4 A.M., the phone rings. Still enclosed in sleep’s stiff grasp, I answer it. “Hello?” I croaked weakly into the receiver.
“Yes, Mrs. Kessler?”
“We have some bad new for you. We are going to need you and your husband to drive to Christiana Care.“
“Why- how- what happened? What’s the news?”
“I’d rather if I reserved that information for when you arrive here.”
“Alright, I’ll be there in 15 minutes. What’s your name again?”
“Dr. Cole Kreasle.”
“Hi. The Kesslers’ checking in. We were told by Dr. Kreasle that you had some news for us?”
“Oh, Yes, yes. Dr. Kreasle will see you in 10 minutes. Right after he--well you’ll see.”
For the longest minutes of my life, my ex-husband and I sat together running through all the possibilities in our heads. Our son, Travis, was still sound asleep in his bed. We hadn’t wanted to wake him. He had been working so hard and staying up until all hours of the night studying. Who could this be about?
Dr. Kreasle met us in the waiting room 10 minutes later. He immediately sat us down and took me by my elbow and shoulder.
“I have some awful news for you, and I am in no place to deliver it, yet deliver it I must. Your son, Travis, was binge drinking along with taking ecstasy. The two separately can be dangerous, but together, they are deadly. “
“Well, that just doesn’t seem like Travis; he’s a hard working boy who stays in his room all day.”
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but your son Travis is now in a better place.”
“No, no no no no no.”
“He went into a coma after drinking too much at a party, and then with the alcohol added into the equation, it... complicated things. I’m so sorry. I know don’t have the right to tell you something like that, but we did all we could.”
First, confusion. “What do you mean...how? That can’t be there must be some mistake, Travis is in his room at home. There must be a mistake. Not OUR Travis, not him. Thats not him. He’s sleeping at his father’s house right now. Right Rob? There must be a mistake! It couldn't have been him!”
Second, denial. “Tell him Rob, tell him he’s at your house! He’s asleep! He’s wrong!”
Third, anger. “MY BABY IS NOT DEAD! SOMEONE TELL ME HE’S NOT DEAD! Oh, no. no no no no no. ROB, TELL HIM TRAVIS IS AT HOME SLEEPING!!”
Rob raised his head from his hands and spoke, with a dazed expression on his face, for the first time since they had arrived at the hospital. “ It’s true, Dr.; he’s at home.”
“I’m sorry. Someone from the hospital came and identified him, but we still need a family member to do so as well.”
Forth, numbness. At midnight on January 2, 2013, Travis Kessler snuck out of the house after a long, hard week of studying. He wanted to let loose and have fun. He didn’t tell or ask his parents because he knew they would call the house and see that a parent would not be present. He drank constantly for approximately three hours until he moved to ecstasy. He was already highly intoxicated, and the ecstasy made him go into a coma. 3 A.M., his friends did the right thing and called 911 even though they knew they would be punished for underaged drinking. Travis was then rushed him to the hospital. The paramedics and doctors tried to revive him, but Travis had a heart attack. Travis was pronounced dead an hour later. In that hour, our phone rang, we picked it up, drove to the hospital, and had our lives shattered right before our eyes. We followed Dr. Kreasle down to the refrigerator where we identified our son among others from that same party. All it took was a pill in a plastic lining to put our son in a plastic lining. I have no one to turn to and focus my anger on except a little dead boy. Everyone did all they could do, but it came down to some dumb decisions of a drunk teenager. How do I move on from this?