It's Saturday morning, February 25, 2017. I wake up at 6:15 a.m. anxious to get to this walk I'm involved in and scream "JAY?" Tears start flowing down my face and I'm having shortness of breath. Another dream, another reminder that I can't kiss my son, smell my son, hug my son, tell him how much I love him, tell him how proud I am to be his Momma, tell him he has gorgeous blue eyes and Melissa is quite a lucky lady, watch him play with his precious niece Brinkley and little Finn man, watch him play softball, meet him for lunch, find out how his day was, or have him over for our routine Sunday night supper after a round of golf together with his Daddy!
We get up, eat breakfast and hurry to the park to meet my friends from NOT ONE MORE ALABAMA and their families. I have a best friend with me from Huntsville, Shawn Bentley and three friends from Atlanta: Deborah, Diane, and Cindy. They are four parts of my rock star friends that are ALWAYS there for me! I see thousands and thousands of people! People with shirts on slamming heroin, signs with pictures of love ones who are gone or who are in therapy, buttons on shirts with an addict’s picture; like the 13 buttons with Jay's picture on them from all of the sports he played. TEARS start flowing again.
I meet up with my group and love seeing the matching shirts with NOT ONE MORE ALABAMA on them. We get a group shot and here come the tears again. I personally know what all these people feel like. I hate it, but I can relate to the pain. I know what it’s like to feel that knot in your throat, that fear. The fear that death is coming, that you've done everything you can think of to help your loved one. You're broke, you're tired, you are absolutely longing for a day, just one day when you can feel like that loved one is safe, safe from the devil. To me, fear is this: Feeling Every Addicts Reality! Well, I felt it for over 12 years. The going in and out of recovery, praying that this time he could beat it, going to AL-Anon meetings because I thought I was crazy – are just some of the fears.
Jay Barton, my precious son, my only son was born on May 19, 1984. He died on July 5, 2016 at 3:15 a.m. in the morning with a needle in his left arm and his chip in his right hand. That needle was NOT heroin. It was mixed.
This Birmingham walk was a blessing to me. Knowing that there are thousands of people out there that you can turn to for help with recovery, addiction, love and support is a very heartwarming feeling to me. It's a feeling that I have longed for since July 5, 2016.
I'm a Momma who cares, who is not ashamed, who feels a calling to help others get through this fear, this nightmare, this train wreck. Not One More Alabama is a way for us to fight! God set my son free! Free from the devil! God also set me free, Free from FEAR! I do not feel alone anymore. The only way to fight the devil is to LOVE! The Birmingham walk was a whole lot of Love! Not One More Alabama is a whole lot of LOVE! That walk was a day where God made the sky a gorgeous blue color just like my son Jay's eyes. God is up there smiling at all of us because he knows we care together and together we can fight this evil heroin epidemic with LOVE.
A quote from the Bible that always catches my attention is from Romans 5: 2-5:
Suffering produces perseverance
Perseverance brings character
Character brings Hope
And Hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has poured into our hearts
through the holy spirit who has been given to us.
I will spend the rest of my life helping to fight this disease because I have God on my side.
ALL MY LOVE,