Last night we got word that my cousin, Noah, overdosed yesterday and died. It's devastating and sad on so many levels. Noah is one of 4 children of my Dad's brother, Mike. I believe he was 26. He started doing drugs when he was 10 years old and has never stopped except for the occasional stint in wilderness camp and more recently in jail. Noah was sentenced to prison a few years ago for attempted murder because he stabbed a guy. This of course was related to the drugs. It seemed prison was the best thing that had happened to him. He had transformed himself inside and out. He was released from prison shortly after thanksgiving and only survived in the real world a few short months. Here is an excerpt from an email my Dad sent about Noah's release. It seems so hopeful which makes it all the more sad.
"I visited Mike after Thanksgiving, learned this good news: Noah gets out of prison tomorrow. Mike and Norma say he is profoundly changed inside and outside. Outside, the skinny, unhealthy kid has become a competition bodybuilder. He now weighs 210 pounds. He'll be living at Mike & Norma's, working for Mike. You might want to drop him a note to tell him that you care and that you're praying for him. I don't think he has many people who do either."
I feel horribly guilty. I didn't write him in prison. I didn't write him a letter when he got home. In fact, the last time I saw Noah he was probably 10 and before that he was 2. I don't even know what he looks like as an adult. I want to post a picture of him but I don't have one. And yet, he's my family...and he's gone. My dad has been asked to speak at his funeral and I know he is agonizing over this. He is devastated by this loss. And, what do you say?? We know Noah read the Bible in prison but we don't know if he was saved. I don't think there are many positive things to say about the way this drug addict behaved - he wasn't himself , ever. At least not after the age of 10. He wasn't the person God created him to be. He was a drug addict. I wonder who that person was under the addiction. I wonder what the plans were that God designed when He created him. Before the enemy had him in his clutches and took him down. I'm just sad. Really sad. Sad that I didn't try. Sad that I didn't share Christ with him. Sad that he's gone. He was in North Carolina. I could have visited him. I could have gone and come home in one day. One day. But, I'm sure the deeds of "that day" were too overwhelming. Like any of that crap matters. Not really. Not when it comes to salvation. Life or death.
I'm learning a lesson and it's a painful one.
Please pray for our family and my Uncle Mike, Aunt Norma, and Noah's siblings, Shane (wife, Deepa), Josh, and Claire (husband, Preston).
UPDATE: Noah was a Christian. He gave his life to Christ in 2005 while in jail and completed several formal Bible studies which he was very proud of. He lost his battle with addiction. He fell asleep in this world but woke up in the arms of Jesus. Praise God! Therefore, we can be sad and miss him but rejoice that his struggle is finally over and he is truly free.