Obituaries typically honor the life now ended, focusing solely on the pleasant moments. But one heartbroken mom got brutally honest, in the hopes that her son's obituary might just change, and even save, lives.
There's no question that 25-year-old Adam Richard Bear's life ended too soon.
His grieving mom, Michelle Benson, recalls the gifts from God that made Adam special. But she doesn't try to hide the terrible drug addiction that robbed him of everything.
"Adam. . . will always be remembered for his charming personality, disarming good looks and welcoming smile," she writes. "Unfortunately, he will also be remembered as a statistic."
Credit: News 5 Cleveland
You can read all about the dangers of worldly pursuits in the Bible. God instructs us to focus on treasures in Heaven rather than earthly possessions.
"Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don't break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
But unfortunately, we live in a world that promotes just the opposite. Society tells us it's how much we have and how much we make that determines success.
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It's a lie many believe. And sadly, it's one Adam believed.
"When Adam graduated from high school his only goal was to be wealthy and he pursued the trappings of success with a passion," Michelle says.
That pursuit led Adam to the bad decision that became his undoing. What started as experimentation with prescription opioids developed into a full-blown addiction to heroin.
Mom Hopes Son's Obituary Will Help Others
From there, Adam's life spiraled out of control.
"Once heroin got ahold of Adam it never let him go," Adam's mom laments.
Adam fought hard to get clean, and his loving family stood by him as he battled addiction. But sadly, it's a battle he never won.
Michelle could have kept her son's overdose a private matter. But she bravely chose to break the cycle and share the truth in her son's obituary.
"What we've learned is that there are so many families struggling and they just keep it quiet because it's shameful and they're ashamed and there's a real stigma attached to that and we have to break that cycle if we're going to do something about that suffering in addiction," she said.
Rather than feel ashamed, Michelle decided to honor Adam and his desire to help others by sharing his story, in the hopes it will inspire other addicts to change.
"All Adam wanted was a normal life, free from the chains of addiction. Even though his story came to a sad end much too soon, if a life can be saved because his was lost, his goal of helping others will carry on."
You can read the full obituary Michelle wrote HERE.
Sadly, Adam's story is far from unique. Addiction has become an epidemic, sweeping the nation and ruining so many lives. By sharing Adam's story, Michelle is showing just how God can give grief a purpose. We join Michelle in praying that the honesty about her son's struggle will inspire others, and even save lives.
Here’s a prayer for those struggling with addiction or with loving an addict:
"For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world." 1 John 2:16
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