By Tony Lynch
I’m Tony lynch, host of the Grief…Let’s Talk About It podcast and founder of Memories of Us Ltd., which is a global grief network that offers grief support for men.
My journey started on Halloween of 2015 when my son overdosed due to some miscalculations by his pharmacist when she mixed his medication wrong. What should’ve been a normal Saturday turned out to be a nightmare. The day started with breakfast, showers and then we headed out the door to go see his friends, you know just a typical Saturday, but nothing went as planned after an hour or so.
When we went to drive home, Jake reminded me to give him his medication (clonidine). After taking his medication he complained about the taste and an hour later he collapsed. I picked him up and laid him in bed and called his mom to let her know what was going on. She suggested I go to his pharmacist and let them know what had happened, which I did. They looked up his logs and determined everything was okay. Taking their word I returned home and put my son back in bed, but he threw up. That was when we decided to take him to the hospital, where we were transferred to an emergency room to be treated for a possible overdose.
That’s when the fear of reality set in as I watched my son have a grand mal seizure. If you have never seen a child have a grand mal seizure, it’s heartbreaking from that moment the hospital decided to airlift us down to a children’s hospital where they began the process of trying to treat him, in which they fumbled pretty hard. He was treated for everything except for what he was supposed to and after two days the doctors gave us the worst news ever, that our son would not make it.
His mother and I were devastated only to have him wake up the next morning. I tell you that was such a relief and for the next nine months, everything was good. Jake was being a normal little boy at school, riding bikes and being with friends. It wasn’t until June 14 that Jake became ill and his mom and I thought it was maybe a stomach bug — you know something he probably got from his friends. That was not the case and over a period of a couple of days, he progressively got worst.
His mom decided to take him to the family doctor where he was immediately rushed to the emergency room. His mother called and told me where they were and I arrived a little later only to see my son in the hospital bed with IVs in his arm. Unfortunately, they did not know what was going on with him and after a few hours of being in the emergency room, the decision was made to airlift him down to another children’s hospital. All I could think of at that moment was Déjà vu.
When we arrived the doctors were amazing. They immediately got us into a room and actually asked his mom and I what we wanted. After a few tests, the doctor suggested a simple procedure with strong antibiotics and a blood transfusion and he would be good to go. His mom and I were able to breathe a sigh of relief that everything was going to be okay.
Ten minutes into the procedure, alarms started going off and across the intercom “code blue code blue” was being alerted. Nurses from different floors began to fill his room and all I could think was what in the hell is going on? In the background, I hear the doctor say to go get his parents and that they were losing him. I walked into the room to see my son take his last breath. In a state of disbelief, I lay in bed with him for about an hour waiting for him to wake up, which he never did. I guess you can say this was like a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from.
Over the next two years, it was like a blur work, home, and isolating. With no direction I spiralled out of control, making bad choices, which eventually led me to lose everything. You can say this was a very dark time in my life as I had reached my version of rock bottom. I eventually gave up and began to plan out my suicide, I traveled to another state where I was sure no one would find me and in that moment of its time to do this a voice intervened. In disbelief, I dropped the gun and began to search for this mysterious voice. I never found it, but there was something else there was a sense of peace and in that, I found myself and a story of my life that had nothing to do with me even though I lived it.
I made my way back to Colorado with the intention of getting help and during this search, I found everything except a place for men specifically. From that moment on, I was determined to connect with other men like myself to learn. Over a period of a month, I pondered the idea of a place for men like myself and from that moment the non-profit Memories of Us was born. It was a place where men could connect and heal with other men. I became a certified grief coach and since that time, I’ve been dedicated to serving those men in the communities. I also started podcasting as a way to share stories of other men like myself to inspire and give hope.
For more information about Tony, you can check out his website.