My husband bought a new (new to us) car last month. His new job requires him to travel a lot, and his 2000 Buick LeSabre with 210,000 miles was sucking through the gas and our pocketbooks. When a car has 210,000 miles, there is just going to be more maintenance issues, too, and we had spent quite a bit of money maintaining it in the last few months. Still, it ran good and was a decent car. We were able to buy a zippy little fuel-efficient car for him to drive for work.
He had given a guy who worked at his office a ride home several times. Chris would walk to and from work every day, and this was during the winter months. When my DH saw him on the road, he'd always stop and pick Chris up and either take him into the office or take him home. He didn't know Chris very well, but in the short stint of time they were in the car together, my DH gathered that Chris was separated from his wife and had a small child. And he didn't have a car. So it wasn't an easy time in Chris's life.
Chris had been looking for a car for when he got his tax refund. He was very excited to find out we were selling the old Buick. My DH gave him a good deal. Chris let him know he wanted to buy it, but he wouldn't have the money for a couple of weeks. While we weren't sure if Chris would follow through on the sale, my DH decided it was worth waiting on selling the car to help the guy out.
Chris had to use some money from his 401(k) to buy the car in addition to his tax refund. The day his 401(k) check came in the mail, my DH drove him to Chris's bank to cash the check. Except they wouldn't cash the check. They wanted Chris to deposit the check into his account and wait two business days in order to assure the bank that the funds were good. But this was a Thursday, which meant he couldn't access the funds to buy our car until Monday. He went to Plan B. He called Wal-Mart, and they said they would cash the check for him. So he had his bank reverse the deposit, and my DH drove him to Wal-Mart. Except now Wal-Mart wouldn't cash the check because it had already been endorsed by Chris's bank. So he went to the closest Check Cashing business. It was now almost 5:30pm, and they said they would cash the check if they could verify funds. But their bank closed at 5:00, so they wouldn't be able to cash the check today. By the end of Thursday, the selling of our Buick did not take place. My husband drove Chris to the check cashing business the next day, and they were able to complete the transaction.
That was two Fridays ago. My DH saw Chris at work the next week, and Chris was very happy with the car. I imagine it felt good to have his own transportation. My DH was happy to have played some sort of small part in helping a guy down on his luck start to get back on his feet.
Saturday Chris died of an apparent drug overdose in the back seat of his car. The fuel tank was completely empty and the battery was dead. He was laying in vomit in the back seat, and his 2-year old was also found in the car - alive, thank God - dehydrated, but alive.
I didn't know Chris. I had never met him. My DH didn't know him very well, just through their conversations while they rode in the Buick together. But I still can't seem to shake the sadness that I feel. Addiction is such an ugly beast. I feel deep sadness for Chris and his son. I know his wife probably went through hell because of Chris's decisions. But Chris is no longer here, and his son will need him. His son will need his Daddy's hugs, but there will be none. He will need a daddy to play with him, but his Daddy won't be there. He will need so many contributions to his life that only his Daddy could have made. But his son won't get anything else from his Daddy. Chris seemed like a nice guy who loved his son. A nice guy who had problems. A guy who probably had some pain in his heart and chose drugs to deal with the pain.
It's a story too common. It reminds me that there is pain and suffering in this world. Great pain and great suffering. And I feel helpless to it all. All I can do is watch it happen around me. Watch people suffer. I can offer the peace and hope that is in my heart to those who will listen, and I can pray for those who have great pain in their hearts. But there will always be pain and suffering. It's won't go away altogether. There will always be a "Chris" struggling with life, not able to be there for his innocent child because of the magnitude of his own pain. It feels overwhelming, and I didn't even know him.