Memorial

Memorial

Sheldon Keisling

Sheldon Keisling

Born
Died

My son's name was Sheldon. From the time he was born life was a mystery to him. He was always on a mission to find out about everything he could. He was so curious about everything.

Photo submitted by
Tabitha Watkins
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My son was a beautiful baby, and he was my first born, my first true love. I miss him beyond words. I feel like part of who I am now is a grieving mother. It has been five years since he died and I was told that time cures everything. Well, if you have lost a child for any reason, you know that the one thing that time does not cure is the lose of a child. I parented Sheldon till he was 3 and then gave him to his paternal grandparents to take care of.This was to be temporary. I was a young mother. I was struggling with addiction and needed to go get clean. So I headed off to My home town without my son. I stayed sober for going on 26 years now. Sheldon grew up with his grandparents. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to be a parent to him he had already made a life in California with his grandparents.
At 12 years old, Sheldon was showing signs of genius level computer skills. He enrolled in the local community college to take computer programming classes to make games on the computer. Sheldon was so loving, and smart. He was also very creative. He loved writing music, singing,magic. He was a boy Scout and a black belt in taekwando. Anything he tried he would become the best he could. I was not parenting Sheldon but I was seeing Sheldon about 3 to 4 times a year. The first few months back home I found out I was pregnant with a little girl. This gave sheldon a sister whom he adored. At 12, Sheldon convinced his grandparents to let him have a cosmetic surgery that would make him feel better about being overweight.This was the beginning of the addiction to opiates for Sheldon.I knew that myself being a recovering addict and sheldons dad being an addict definitely predispositioned genetically for my son and daughter to be addicts. I really did not understand what that meant. I do now.
Sheldon was also diagnosed with A.D.D. , when he was in 3rd grade. He figured out that he could trade one prescription for another. I Jump ahead about five years and my beautiful son,my first true love had acquired a love for drawing, a love for people, a love for writing and making music. He had a big secret though. He was now completly addicted to opiates and now was smoking pot and drinking.Sheldon was starting to lose himself to his addiction. As a mother living far away it was hard for me to keep him talking and communicating with me. He was a teenager and He was all about his friends, who did not know his secret. I would talk to my son about once a week and try to dig and pry about his life. He would tell me not to worry that hes walking the line being a good person. I worried so much. The last time I saw Sheldon was when he was 17 and he came to visit me and his sister for a week. I will never forget that week I had with him. I knew he was using something but I did not want to bring it up or upset him and possibly ruin his visit. My heart aches that I did not reach out to him. The next few years my son and I would talk but he became less and less engaged. His grandparents told me his grades were slipping and he was busted stealing money from them. Although when I talked to my son he never mentioned any of the problems he was having.Finally when he had dropped out of school lost all respect and trust he had from his grandparents, finally then I asked him what he was using. He was so mad at me. But I kept on. I would tell him that I love him but i don't like the addiction. I would try to seperate his behaviour from who he really was.He did tell me that he was angry with me for leaving him when he was three. He asked me how could I do that. I told him because I love him. I knew if I stayed in California that I would not ne any good for him. He was angry and nothing I said was going to make it right. I tried to reach out but he was shutting himself down. Me living in Colorado and Sheldon living in California the distance started to grow. At 21, Sheldon had moved from taking pills to shooting up heroin. This is how I lost my son my first true love. I will never forget that phone call. The phone call that would forever change my life. The phone call that completly left my heart space with sadness and turmoil and the deepest kind of hurt that I would want no one to feel. The phone call was sheldons grandmother telling me that my son had died during the night. That they found him in his room with a syringe sticking out of his arm. I vomited and then laid in the grass on my back. I had thrown my phone. As I laid there numb watching the clouds for about 5 minutes her voice echoing through my mind it took a minute for what she said to really hit my mind. When it did I started crying and I did not really stop for a year.
The night of June 25, 2013 my son gave himself his last dose and fell asleep and he never woke up. My beautiful, smart, amazing love, my son was gone. The guilt was overwhelming. I still struggle at times. But the sun rises every day and sets every night. I remember the first few days after I found out, I went to a mental hospital. One of the counselors asked me how I was feeling and I said I feel like someone chopped off one of my limbs. The counselor said without hesitation, "Even amputees learn to walk again. They never walk the same but they walk again." I am still sad. I wonder all the time what my beautiful boy was thinking in his last hour. I wonder what life would have been like for him if I would have demanded that he come live with me. I wonder if he ever forgave me. I wonder if he is in a better place. I hope that he knows how much I adore him. How I never judged him. I only ever wanted him to be happy. I hope wherever he is that he is at peace. Hug your children talk to your children even if it rocks the boat. Confront your children and teach your children.

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