December 29, 2017 brought news that will forever change our lives. Our son, Nicholas Jackson (Arrow), died at age 26 after an 11 year battle with substances. While we don’t have the toxicology results yet, we are confident that young men don’t die at home due to natural causes with the frequency that this is happening throughout our community, across the nation. Doctors who prescribe opioids to addicts, friends who believe sharing a beer with a substance abuser is acceptable, all need to be aware that addiction alters a person, there is no acceptable use. It leads to one of three things: institutions, prison or death. My son proved that adage taught to us so many years ago when he first went into rehab. While we are grieving, we can at least feel the comfort of knowing that we provided him with every resource possible. We made the hardest choices of telling him no, refusing him sanctuary in our home if he was using, taking away the car we had given when he began to drink while driving, shielding his son from a father who was high. We supported him financially throughout his prison term, visited weekly, took all of his phone calls and accepted all of the conditions for his parole into our home, things like setting up a phone line for his ankle bracelet and shuttling him to appointments. We did this gladly, feeling so blessed to have our child home and in recovery. Unfortunately he chose to sample alcohol, legal and readily available and he began to slip away. Our most difficult, gut-wrenching decisions came each time he abandoned recovery, understanding that we would become the enemy in his eyes. We know though our enemy was his use, never ever him. He found folks who would say yes, like every good addict. We all are suffering the loss of who he was in his heart, when he was sober, who he could have been.
We are blessed by the hundreds of people who have witnessed this battle throughout the years, who acknowedge our loss and are well aware of the price to be paid when you parent an addict. We cannot hide from the truth of who Nick was, we embrace his full story in the hopes that others may gain wisdom and strength as they confront the monster of addiction. We are touched by all who have contributed memorial gifts in Nick’s name to the St. Andrew United Methodist Church group “Partners In Hope ReEntry ministry” which supports those who are seeking a second chance after incarceration through the partnership with the Tippecanoe County Probation Dept. We must do the hard things to give our loved ones a chance. I am praying you all find the courage to face this fight. The consequences are too great otherwise.
Lisa and Scott Eaker