I usually try to post only funny stuff these days. But not today. I wanted to take a minute to say goodbye to a friend.
I lost a good friend yesterday. Someone who I loved as a friend, and who I thought enough of to be like a son. I am certainly old enough. His name was Austin, and he died from an overdose.
I met Austin, of all places, on Stickam. Almost a year ago, when I couldn’t go out anywhere, and was suffering from lack of socialization, I heard about Stickam and said what the heck. I found out quickly that Stickam is mostly a place for the young, who flirt and joke and even hook up. Needless to say, I didn’t make a lot of friends, since my age made me seem like a creepy old man trying to look at young girls or guys. But I made a few and those few I made, made me stick around on Stickam to talk to them. Austin was one of those. Austin didn’t care how old I was, he only cared that I was a nice guy, was nice to him, was willing to listen when he needed an ear, and gave out advice. Of all the people I met on Stickam, Austin was the one person who I became close with. We talked on the phone a lot and there were plans for him to visit next month when he came up this way. There is only one other person on Stickam that I became close with and we both knew Austin. His name is Rob and he to, is very dear to me.
Austin was young. He was only 22 years old. But he was definitely a product of the street. He lived in an area where gangs, drugs, and crime were rampant. I won’t share a lot of details about his life, since it’s really not my place, but what I can say is that with the life he had, he was far older than his years. He had seen, done, and experienced more things than most people would go their whole life without, and most of it would make you glad for that.
Austin was fun. He was funny, had a razor sharp wit, and loved to laugh. Sometimes at the expense of others, but honestly never with malice. He was also very intelligent. Although he had no more than a high school education, he was a curious guy and liked to study up on things that were interesting to him. In a different setting, Austin would have thrived in college and gone on to a great and rewarding career. I have no doubt that Universities would have lined up to try and get him to come to their schools. He was that smart.
But not about everything.
Due to his upbringing, and where he lived, Austin had a drug problem. I tried to talk to him about it. As did others. No matter how often I thought I got through to him, he always slid back. I regret now that I didn’t do more. Maybe, if I had had the money, going to visit him in person would have helped. Or maybe if I talked to his Grandmother, who he lived with, would have helped. I don’t know. It would have been difficult to talk to his Grandmother, because she never answered her phone, since Austin was on it more than she was. He would have intercepted any message I left for her. Strangely, I know he wouldn’t have gotten mad at me for it, but would have told me that he didn’t want to worry her. Now he is gone, a young man that had such promise, and never seemed to be able to catch a break. The fact that I didn’t do more is a guilt I will have to live with, and deal with, somehow.
If you know someone who has a drug problem, please talk to them. Get them help. Even if it ruins a friendship. Better them alive, but mad at you, then dead. Talk to your kids about drugs. No one is immune to making a mistake and losing their life. If you love them, get up in their business and do something about it. Before it’s to late.
Austin will be missed. Not only by me, but by many others. Austin, I love you and like you always said, we are family. Not by blood, but by choice. I can only hope that all the pain in your life, which you tried so hard to hide, is no longer a burden and that you find peace.
I am posting this video because it was a song that Austin loved. Whenever one of his friends died, and he knew quite a few who died to young, he would play it over and over. So I to will play it, in his memory.