Recently I attended the funeral of a young man who accidently overdosed on his favorite illegal drug. The death of a young person in any circumstances is always a tragedy. Today when large amounts of illegal drugs are available at affordable prices, too many middle class college students have become addicted. Their deaths create a new kind of vacuum, i.e., the loss of creative, intelligent minds that are lost to the future of us all. Many of them will be remembered for their good qualities by those who loved them, but none with greater insight than the mother of this young man.

During the funeral service this mother, with sincerity and tenderness, spoke to her son, not about him. She addressed her son reminding him of his unique insights and expressions to the ordinary events and circumstances of life from his nursery school days, through his pre-adolescent reading choices, to his ferocious appetite for scientific information and his young adult love of debate. With it all, she knew that he loved her because he told her so every day. His mother likened his life and passing as a candle that burned brighter than others and so extinguished before its time.

During those terrible moments of grief that lie ahead for this mother, I hope that she will review her remembrances of her son on the day that she laid him to rest. Many who heard her words will do the same.

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