Updated: Mar 6
By Dylan's mother, Jennifer
St. Francis, Minnesota
On March 11, 2013 I found out that my only child, Dylan Bradley Pearson, was using heroin at the age of 18. By then, heroin had already gotten ahold of him. That day marks the beginning of my worst nightmare.
Over the next year, he was charged with two felonies related to his addiction. He was admitted to three different treatment centers. In May of 2014, while he was staying in a treatment center that he had been furloughed to, I received a phone call from one of his friends saying that he had overdosed and was in the ER. It was the worst drive of my life--not knowing whether or not he was alive. Luckily he survived this overdose and 36 hours after being admitted to the hospital he was sent to jail for 30 days.
When he was released from jail he began the same routine of using. We tried to help him and keep him at home but there was nothing we could do. We were so desperate that at one point we took turns sitting in front of his room, but when I got up for a second he sprinted out the back door. We were helpless. I never gave him money but I did let him live at home. I talked to him every single day about his addiction and told him much I loved him. He didn’t want to live the life he was leading but he didn’t know how to stop.
In October of 2014, Dylan agreed to go to a treatment center in Florida. The moment he arrived, he didn’t want to be there anymore. He missed his long-time girlfriend and wanted to come back home to Elk River. When he walked out of the center I refused to bring him home. So he partied for a few days in a hotel with some other kids that had gotten kicked out for using. He went to a halfway house and waited there while he tried to get himself into another facility. He received his completion certificate from another treatment center in Florida on January 17th, 2015.
He was 90 days clean.
I went to pick up Dylan at the airport at 1a.m. and he didn’t know that his girlfriend, Jazmin, was going to be with me. When I opened the door and she popped out, Dylan started to cry. I have never seen him so happy. He was so glad to be home.
Dylan tried so hard but within a week of being home, he fell back again. He went to court and was going to be put on probation. Things seemed like they were going to be OK. On the afternoon of January 30th, Dylan’s friend called him up because he needed to get rid of the rest of his dope before he went into treatment. I could tell Dylan was high when I got home from work, but he hung out with me all night and we had fun. He seemed fine when I told him I loved him and went to bed after midnight.
Dylan went to bed and never woke up.
He died on January 31st, 2015.
In his bed.
In our house.
Our worst nightmare came true--our only child is dead.
Every day my husband’s blood curdling scream rings in my head.
I don’t remember much about that day, but I do know that my life will never be the same. Every day when I walk into my house, I see Dylan’s shoes sitting on the floor where he kicked them off and his jacket draped across the banister where he left it. We will never have another one of our midnight snacks. He will never have the chance to get married, have kids, travel, and do all of the things that a 19 year old should be experiencing.
Dylan was quiet, but when he did talk, he was funny. He was a good athlete, loyal, handsome and genuine. He and I always knew what the other was thinking and we talked--good talks--all the time. Near the end of his life, I’d send him what seemed like thousands of text just making sure that he was OK. Jazmin and Dylan had been together since they were 13. She was his best friend and the love of his life. Dylan had so many friends that cared for him. To this day, people still go out of their way to tell me stories about him.
I keep thinking that I will wake up and all of this will have been a dream.
I cannot put into words the pain that this loss has caused our family. Today, my mission is to help change the system that we currently have. This epidemic has killed too many young men and women. Let’s do all we can to help people access the treatment they need, break the stigma surrounding addiction, and make some real change.