This is Giancarlo. He was 19 years old. He died last Sunday in his apartment from a heroin overdose.
I am his mother. I don’t want to sugarcoat what happened. I want people to know the ugly truth of drug addiction. The ugly truth about heroin. The ugly truth that it can happen to anyone. Heroin doesn’t care if you’re young or old. If you’re rich or poor. If you’re black or white. Heroin doesn’t care. He is my baby boy.
This ugly drug can hide behind a beautiful sweet face. Giancarlo showed no signs of heroin use. No nodding out, no disappearing for days, he was never mean or raised his voice at me, he never stole from us… he did seem a bit isolated, but don’t all teenagers hole up in there room at some point?
Kids are DYING, and people are too afraid to be honest even in obituaries because of the social stigma. How can I go on Craigslist right now and search for black roofing tar and find heroin for sale? And clear sealant? That means meth. How do I know this and the police don’t? Why isn’t this a weekly segment on the news?
My son had been clean for 10 months and working for the County of Marin. He had his own apartment. He and his girlfriend were so proud to sign this lease
We found out he was using on July 24, 2017. We sent him to a rehab that cost $45,000 for 45 days.
Then we sent him to intensive outpatient rehab for another [three] months, and then a sober living house in Mill Valley for a year.
He relapsed and died alone in his bed. He was the most gentle soul.
He had a 6-year-old brother, Clyde. He promised to wake up on Christmas Eve so they could look for Santa together.
He was my best friend. The last thing he said to me was: ‘I’m ok mom, I love you too.’
That was at 10:20 on Saturday night.
He always answered my calls. But on Sunday morning he didn’t. And I just knew.
The only way I can explain this pain is that every cell in my body that created my son is on fire yearning to hold him again. It’s a physical pain only a mother would know. It’s in my bone marrow. Just a deep yearning to touch him, and hold him.
My husband took Giancarlo’s brother Clyde out for a drive to tell him what happened. He told Clyde: ‘I know you see a lot of family coming over, and you probably don’t know why.’
Clyde said: ‘No I don’t dad.’
He said: ‘Giancarlo had an invisible disease that made him sad and he took medicine that the doctor did not give him, and it made him very sick and he died and went to heaven.’
I wasn’t there but my husband said that my son gave a gut-wrenching scream that didn’t sound like it could come from a 6-year-old.
He then brought him home through the back door, and he laid in bed with me and covered his face with a blanket and fell asleep.
Giancarlo was buried on January 7. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I’m learning now it also takes a village to bury a child.
I don’t know what the solution is, but we have to open the conversation in a big way.
Please use my son’s story. Please help me warn parents this is out there. Even in Napa. Please help me help other families. Please, please, please. It’s all I can do now.