My son Kelly was at Teen Challenge nearly 18 months, and for the first time in nearly 15 years, he was Kelly again. It was not an easy program and no one got pampered, no excuses and, sometimes, no second chances. But Kelly grew in spirit and soul. He had his health back, he had himself back. I talked to him every Sunday and each week after that first month there was the sound if hope and a confidence that I had not heard in years. We drove from Texas to Kansas to visit our son and to to see him and hug him. It was and is a time and a memory I will treasure for forever because my boy was truly free for that time.

The heartbreak here and it has, does, and always will break my heart is that I lost Kelly November 6, 2018 to alcohol. It finally killed him. It and other drugs had been taking pieces of him for years. Kelly graduated from Teen Challenge with all the hope in the world. He got a wonderful job on a ranch doing what he loved. We took him his coe dog Woodrow that had waited for 18 months so they could work cattle again. All was nearly perfect. What happened? Kelly had forgotten about his old enemy, ADDICTION, and how it calls to you and convinces you just one time won’t hurt… then another time won’t hurt… and on and on. He didn’t work the program, he got lonely, he got tired, he stopped going to church, stopped being around those who would and could give him the support to continue his fight.

I miss him, I miss his voice, I miss him telling me about his day, I miss hearing about newborn calves. You have to work the program for forever. Now I go and speak to my boy while standing by his tombstone.

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