My son Geoff was born on a cool May morning in 1984, 6 May to be exact.
He died on 22 May 2002, two weeks after his 18th birthday.
Geoff was 18-years-old and made a poor choice; he made a judgment call
that killed him and left us, his parents, to find him dead in his bed. A
so-called friend of his persuaded Geoff to join him in ingesting a drug
that killed Geoff the first time he tried it. This "friend" left our son in
deep distress, incoherent and unable to stand or walk. He left Geoff to
die. We have been left to try to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives.
My husband and I chose a number of ways to remember Geoff. We
started the "Geoffrey P. Edwards Memorial Scholarship Fund" at the
high school where he would have graduated. We and others donate
throughout the year to this fund.
Geoff was also honored by his Scout Troop with a Geoffrey P. Edwards
Memorial Campership - awarded to a Scout who prepares a presentation
for Troop members on the deadly effects of drugs and alcohol on our
My husband and I are also committed to substance abuse speaking
engagements for young people through various county and state
groups such as schools, Substance Abuse Alliances and so forth.
We also make donations to varied charities in Geoff's name.
I hope it helps me to make sense of this whole miserable situation.
I hope that other young people will realize that one time drug use
can kill them as it did my Geoff. If we can get through to one
youngster and make them strong enough to ignore peer pressure
and make better judgments about drug use, it may help us to give
some meaning to Geoff's death.
The Substance Abuse Presentations reflect only a small portion,
albeit a deadly one, of Geoff's life. Geoff was a loving, gentle
giant with compassion for others; his family and friends adored
him and found him to be a "light" in their life. A light of love,
laughter, mischief, tenderness, empathy, warmth and sensitivity to others.
A young man with great potential in a cruel, cold world. Geoff truly cared
about himself and others, he made a great mistake and it cost him his life.
He was always willing to lend a helping hand, a kind gesture, a humane
warmth to vulnerable kids, compassion to a hurt kid, a helpful explanation
in math class to a youngster not understanding a concept, clothes to ones
who had less, money if someone needed a few bucks, and just a sheer
good-hearted-ness that so many lack.
This kind of horror can and does happen to the unwary teen who is ignorant
of the dangers of many drugs in today's world. This is the same situation
that happens on many high school and college campuses around the nation.
Drugs and alcohol have killed so many of our children.
Geoff's classmates have dedicated a beautiful weeping cherry tree at his
high school. I and a dear friend who loved Geoff, keep it beautiful and
planted with seasonal flowers and small banners and signs. His classmates
also dedicated a tree to Geoff's memory at the elementary school he
attended. We also keep that tree cared for and have lovely plantings
around it. We also bring balloons and banners on special days to
commemorate Geoff's birthday, holidays, and special events in his life.
I have a lovely butterfly bush in our yard that was planted by Geoff.
Each time I look at it, I see my son digging and working hard to plant
it for me. That bush is so very precious to me.
We have made up bumper stickers and T-Shirts to commemorate our son's
life. The money we raise goes to the Scholarship Fund in Geoff's name.
We have written stories and pamphlets to underscore the dangers of
drug use and peer pressure. We have our memories and our times of
light in our lives.
We, unfortunately, lost a beloved child to a stupid mistake compounded
by a "friend" unwilling to take any responsibility and who left our son to die.
I have my memories of my life with Geoff - but that is not enough. I wanted
more time and I wanted to see him graduate, marry, have children and live
his life. I and so many other parents will never have any of that.