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One family loses two sons to opioid epidemic: It's 'overwhelming'

by Donna Freydkin / / Source: TODAY

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The Savage brothers died from an acute alcohol and oxycodone overdose. Learn more about how this family turned grief into action at 525 Foundation. Becky Savage shares her deeply personal story below.

June 14 was a Sunday, which started out like many other weekend days for me. As I was gathering laundry out of Jack’s room, I remember looking at him and thinking he looked like an angel. I went to wake him and those next few moments still haunt me to this day.

Jack was lifeless … lifeless as I picked him up and placed him on the floor and started CPR ... lifeless as I ran to get my cell phone and call 911 ... lifeless when the paramedics got there and took over.

I cannot even begin to describe the numbness that took over me. It is the worst feelings I have ever felt in my life. The next worst feeling was watching a paramedic leave the resuscitation attempts on Jack and head down the stairs.

It was a short time later that I heard him in the foyer talking to someone about calling a coroner. Why do we need him? I remember looking at the police officer that was with me most of the morning and asking him what was going on and that look on his face told me the unthinkable. My son Nick was in the basement sleeping with his friends, and little did I know that they were calling the coroner for him.

At some point that morning, I called my husband who was out of town with our other two sons. He arrived home to a cul-de-sac full of lights, sirens, ambulances and police cars. I'll never forget his face as I opened up the front door for him.

My husband collapsed to the floor. Our minds are not meant to process a situation this extreme. It is hard enough to begin processing the loss of one son but two is unbelievable.

But the worst thing was yet to come, having to tell my younger two sons that their two big brothers have died and are gone forever. The look of sorrow and heartbreak on their faces as the reality of the situation sinks in is something that they should never have to experience and something I will never forget.

Nick and Jack died as a result of acute alcohol and oxycodone ingestion.

It still takes my breath away to say that. What we now know is that they were participating in underage drinking and at some point during the course of the evening someone, offered them a prescription pill and they made the decision to take it.

I still think about them every day and the loss of them continues to be overwhelming at times. I am still getting used to the person I never wanted to be, the mother who has two empty seats at her dinner table. There are times when grief makes me feel like I’m losing my mind. Like my brain has been hijacked. Could we have done anything differently? I thought we had done all the right things as parents. We spent time with our kids, hockey weekends, family vacations. We were involved with their schooling and we loved them.

Bad choices are made by people every day, and unfortunately theirs cost them their life. What I want you to remember, as parents is that every moment with your child is a moment to cherish and remember. Each moment is creating a memory, and those memories are priceless.

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