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Brian's Story

On a warm evening in September my son Brian Tayler Henderson was born.  He was my third child in the line up of four.  He was such a beautiful baby. Brian was a light that shined bright.  He grew up always on the go.  There was always a skateboard ramp or a bike ramp that was calling his name.  One thing that really stood out about Brian was his heart,  He had the biggest and most loving!

As Brian got older his ADHD became more apparent and his learning disabilities caused him a lot of frustration.  By the time he was 15 he made it clear that he didn’t like the way his medication made him feel.  He started self medicating.  This was a slippery slope for Brian.  By the time he finished hight school he was doing some pretty heavy drugs.

Brian struggled with the disease of addiction for many years.  He made sure that he kept that part of his life separate from his family. When Brian was living in our home (which was off and on for may years) he was always respectful, helpful, and wanted to please us.  This doesn’t mean that he didn’t do some horrible things to support his addiction but it is a testament as to his love for us and his siblings.  Anytime Brian got in trouble, it was 100% associated with his drug addiction.  And most of those times he went to Jail.

Brian was ashamed of his addiction.  He tried rehab twice and there were a few times when he was able to stay sober for solid chunks of time,  These times his light was able to shine at its brightest.  This heinous disease overpowered my boy and it won in the end.

Hearing the words that my son had passed away obliterated me.  (Just typing this has brought more tears).  I was barely able to get it out of the mall I had been shopping in.  Thought I was going to pass out from hyperventilating and screaming.  I had to get out of there and go home.  Home represented some sort of false safely for me. I don’t remember the drive home.  I just remember telling myself to stay in the lane and don’t cause an accident. Once I entered my home I realized that the situation was not going to change.  It was real. I slid to the floor. My first thought (once I picked myself up off the kitchen floor) was to call the detective and get some answers.  Although the detective was pleasant and sincere in her feelings for my loss, I had more questions by the time I hung up. This is when I realized I had been tossed into the big bucket of darkness.  No one told us what to do next.  No one guided us to the next step.  I ended up calling the detective back and now she had had enough of me,  She just said I could “pick up his belongings on Monday.”  As if this was normal.

We pulled up to the old brick building in Los Angeles. Everything inside was so cold and I was so lost.  Every single person in that building was there for the same thing,  They were picking up the belongings of their deceased loved one. It turned my stomach.  I cried.  I also cried while they opened a metal door under a counter while they put a brown paper bag through it to deliver my sons clothes and personal items to me.  Thank god they didn’t have to hand it to me personally.  Thank god they had a big plexiglass window so I had to speak loudly for them to hear me give them the case number.  That’s how they do things there.  Names don’t mean anything.  All I could think about was that my son’s body was downstairs.

Our family chooses to remember Brian for the blessing he was to our family.  Nothing he has ever done to support this beastly disease matters to me.  It is irrelevant.  There is still a big stigma regarding addicts. Especially addicts that spend time in jail.  We have seen who our friends truly are while going through this.  When all the issues come out and people hear details, the judging begins.  Brian Henderson was a smart, compassionate, loving, funny, and giving soul.  I will never stop saying his name or talking about him.  He was a bright light we got to adore for 30 years,

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Jan 22
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for sharing this personal story about your beloved son. What a gift to have a safe space like this to engage in healing conversation. It takes courage to address & share such vulnerable stories. Love and blessings to all.


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