I called him R. J. from the moment he was born.
It was short for Robert Joseph.
Named in memory of his mother’s father.
As a child, R. J. had an eye for adventure.
Once you heard his giggle
You knew R. J. was in a place that he should not be.
The clean up was never-ending.
R. J. did not stay as outgoing with age.
Sometime during his teenage years
he went from outgoing to extremely private.
Could never pinpoint the change.
All I can say is it happened
half way into his high school years.
R. J. moved in with a lovely lady
shortly after graduation.
We were so happy and proud of them both.
Six years together and all we saw was bliss.
It was not until it ended
that a problem came to light.
R. J. had to move back in to regroup.
The drinking was noticed,
the drugs were not.
Late nights or disappearing for days
could not be ignored by his mother or I.
R. J. would come home with new bruises,
cuts all over his face.
That is really when I got involved.
Took R. J. to a place to dry out
and talk for a week, just him and I.
That was when I found out about the drugs.
R. J. had been taking since middle school.
He said it started as an experiment that grew.
The booze part was because that was all
he could taste from working with chemicals.
Even when he was spitting blood
R. J. did not see a problem.
I thought it was a great detox week.
So many conversations that brought us closer.
Saw the light at getting my son back.
Slowly we gave him earned trust.
He was showing up to work and home.
R. J. gained weight, a healthy weight.
The call came in around six or seven.
I can tell you it was a Tuesday.
The sky was bright with the sun setting.
I called him R. J., short of Robert Joseph.
He was my only son,
Now he was gone.
January 18, 2021
©Andrew Scott – Just a Maritime Boy 2021