In honor of Mother's Day and the effort to recognize mothers who have been touched by addiction, I would like to recognize and honor Sharon Hendrix Black, the mother of my twin sons.
Sharon and I divorced in 1994 when our sons were only 6 years old. However, by remaining focused on the love we both shared for our sons, we maintained an open and respectful line of communication and agreed on priorities as to how we could best raise our sons. Sharon was the custodial parent during these years and therefore, had the boys within her home and possession on most days and evenings. She was a wonderful mom who worked diligently to provide for our sons with love, encouragement, and support. It's not easy raising children as a single parent as I can also attest, much less twin boys! However, she always provided them with a loving home and consistent motherly and parental love.
This past Christmas Eve, we were informed that our son, Jared Austin Black (standing to the right in the photo) had passed away over night due to an overdose mix of synthetic heroin and fentanyl. Jared was only 29 years old. As you can imagine, our lives suddenly froze. Sharon was distraught over the loss of his life. We had spent approximately 8-9 years dealing with his addiction, which started with an innocent prescription of OxyContin for a lower back injury due to a car accident. We thought we had seen the end of his addiction recently and were enjoying the "New & Improved Jared". However, the reality of his death reminded us that addiction never really goes away. You just pray and say thanks one day at a time.
Through these past 4 1/2 months since his death, Sharon has remained strong, and has shared her story with many people in an effort to help expose the severity of this epidemic crisis with opioid addiction which is now crippling our country and taking many young lives. While she continues to hurt and miss Jared immensely as any loving mother would, she understands the value of using her inner strength and energy in a positive way to help make a difference for others.
I know this first Mother's Day without Jared will be a very emotional day for her, and want her to know that I chose to write this story because of my continued admiration for her strength and courage over the years and most recently as a mother, daughter, woman, and friend. Through it all, she has been a wonderful example for our sons with her determination and persistence to rise above setbacks and to make the best of each situation and day. She has left a lasting imprint in the hearts and minds of our sons, family, friends and certainly me.
I am forever grateful that she provided me with two wonderfully handsome sons who emulate their Mom's passion and spirit for life. We are all blessed to have you in our lives and to know you!
Happy 2017 Mother's Day, Sharon! You are a loving and wonderful mother. I know Trent will be there to wrap his arms around you in person on Mother's Day, and Jared will be reaching down to your from above to shower you with his blessing of love and compassion. You are blessed and you are loved!