Billy was a fun-loving young man. He was loved by his family, and well liked by his friends, teachers, coaches and teammates. Always quick with a smile...a grin that made you think he knew something you didnít. Growing up I would say Bill was a very normal well-adjusted young man. He excelled in youth sports...he played football, but baseball was his true passion. He led the team in "Home Runs" and..."Strike Outs"...and in my view that was Bill: swing for the fence, forget about the consequences. It was that final year of youth baseball just before his freshmen year in high school when he started to lose interest in sports from time to time. His performance on the field and behavior off the field became erratic.
into the system
We soon learned that he was using marijuana and alcohol with some regularity which started a downhill slide. Trouble at home, school and the St. Louis County police landed him in youth detention. Bill was placed in several rehab programs which he completed, but never on schedule. In my view, all of these programs provided Bill with the knowledge and the tools he needed only if he would apply them into his life...which he only did in some short spurts. Further trouble with law enforcement...possession of a controlled substance, a single vehicle accident, leaving the scene, assault and a DWI charge, landed him in a very big hole.
There was much contention in the home, but we never stopped loving him and trying to help him recover. We had many heart-to-heart talks which I often thought were breakthroughs, however, always short lived. He worked at trying to change his life but his addiction to drugs was something that he just could not control.
drug court, more rehab and hope
We were able to get Bill into the drug court program which provided a light at the end of the tunnel. This was his last and best chance to clear up the last few years of his life which had been full of chaos and uncertainty. He had to get and maintain a job, attend regular meetings, and both group and one-on-one counseling. Random drug tests, weekly visits with a probation officer, regular court appearances, and stiff consequences, should any of these requirements not be met.
We learned that Bill's drug of choice had been opiate pain pills. I never thought that heroin was in play until he tested positive after one of the random drug test. He was placed in yet another rehab program, his fifth.
Bill was discharged from his last Rehab June 26th 2010, a bright sunny Saturday morning. We were all filled with hope for the future. The staff had all loved him and were confident that he would be one of the successes they all work and hope for. He was able to get his job back. We had a great weekend. I left for a business trip on Monday and Bill went off to work. The last thing I said to him was that I loved him and asked him to do what he needed to do to comply with the drug court rules. He spent Monday and Tuesday evening at home with his sister and girlfriend. Tuesday he cooked dinner for them and everything was looking good.
the last time
But at 1:16 AM Wednesday, he made a call to a drug dealer, took my car and drove to the city. Bill, a West County boy, headed to North St. Louis where he did not belong. He met another boy there from our neighborhood. Bill told him that this was the last time he would ever use heroin...it was.
On Friday evening, I activated the Sprint Family Locator on his cell phone. His phone had been off for several days but was now on. I arrived at the airport at 9:00am and found him dead in my car an hour later. He was placed there while he was alive...laid in the back seat covered with a black sheet locked in the car, keys and wallet gone. Left to die alone rather than bring him to or call for help...that act can only be done by the kind of person who has no regard for life, looking out only for their own well being. Somehow, they thought it was better for Bill to die than to deal with his overdose.
In Loving Memory