Red Deer, Alberta: The Argent Family lost their son and had the strength and compassion to PAY IT FORWARD… Truly inspirational!
Taylor Argent Legacy Foundation
“THOUGH NO ONE CAN GO BACK AND MAKE A BRAND NEW START,
ANYONE CAN START FROM NOW AND MAKE A BRAND NEW ENDING”
Its 4:00 am in the morning for the 100th time, a car drives by. You leap out of bed, as you weren’t sleeping anyway and run to the window, your heart racing. Never mind, it just kept going, yet another false alarm. As you turn around you see a shadow watching you from the couch, sitting in silence. It is your wife. There is no need to ask her what she is doing, as you know. The streaks running down her cheeks tell it all. All you can do is sit, blame yourself, blame each other, and blame life. Where did we go wrong, why did this happen to us, we are good people? You think back at what once was and your heart stutters as you retrace your steps. You are tired and exhausted. Your heart bleeds as it has been ripped open for the hundredth time. You have tried everything from house arrest, to psychologists, counselors, new schools, day treatments, short term recovery programs, friends, family, the police, the hospitals, the doctors, yet there is nothing. You are helpless. The sneaking out has now turned into walking out. The phone calls have stopped. You hear a siren and take a deep breath for you think the phone will ring any moment, the bearer of bad news. You are defeated and do not know what to do. Your family, your marriage, your world has fallen apart. All you can do is hold hands and cry for you know the outcome. You are ashamed, you are embarrassed, and you are helpless. You are alone.
It’s 5:00am and a car drives by for the 100th time. It stops and you hear a door slam. You know what’s coming, for you have seen it before. You are angry, sad, and happy for you know that the person walking through the door is not your child but the shell of what once was. It is a sickness, a lost soul and you know what must be done, but you’re hands are tied. You are a spectator forced to watch, eyes wide open. Today is different though. Today there is a cry for help, “I cannot do this anymore, please do something, help me”.
As a mother and father, there is a glimmer of light. Today we will save our child; yes son, I promise today we will get you the help.
You don’t sleep, you watch the clock and when the time comes, you are first in line, pleading with a counselor that today is the day when my child has come home. Today is the day we saved our child from the only fate that this evil addiction delivers. You feel elated and actually smile. It is at this moment, the counselor tells you that yes, we can get your loved one help and yes, we will put your loved one in a treatment facility…I think we can admit him in maybe 2 or 3 months. The world spins, you are numb and the walls are closing in for you know that in 2 or 3 months, your child could be dead. The counselor knows this as well but her hands are tied for the system is overloaded. Addiction is rampant, numbers are on the increase. This does not ease the pain of the blade that has just been thrust into your heart. The counselor sees this and informs you that there is an alternative in private care where admittance is immediate. Yes, that is the answer, for you know and they know that care must be immediate. There is still a chance after all.
You race home, grab the phone and dial the number. It is explained to you exactly what the program consists of, the length of stay and that they can get him in right away. You tell them thank you and how soon can I be there. Before you hang up, you ask them as it is a private facility how much? You are stunned; your head swims with the number. You hang up. There is nothing left.
A car drives by for the hundredth time. You know she is sitting up crying. You join her, hold hands and cry together.
This might not be you but I guarantee this is happening right now in your neighborhood.
Kim and I wrote this story 3 years ago but at the time felt it was too personal, too private and one that only belonged to us. When we finally found the courage to tell it last November at our annual gala, immediately afterwards a mother slowly approached us, looked up and…”That was me you were talking about sitting in that chair that was my son”. Later that same night, another family told Kim and I of their harrowing ordeal just weeks before when one night they received a call from the RCMP who were at the hospital with their child who had just suffered an overdose of Ecstasy and might not make it.
We could easily be your friends or your neighbors. Maybe we are the other parents on your child’s sports team, the ones you see at your children’s school. We are parents just like you, loving, caring, nurturing.
What is the gift of hope?
The dictionary describes hope as, “feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen”. As parents, need we say more? After years of struggle, heartache and defeat, we need not you tell how important this word is in one’s life. How many of us have asked for a second chance. Today, we have the power to grant that wish.
This is why we started this Foundation to save a life, to help one family. We are so thankful today that we had Taylor back for a couple of months. We cannot imagine how much harder it would be if we could not have been able to afford to get into treatment immediately. In the last 3 years we have met families in our home, met them at meeting places coming in from Edmonton to Calgary, Rimbey to Stettler and all places in between, we have picked up these lost souls from the hospital and transported them directly to treatment after they have all but given up after being told the waiting list will be months for Government facilities. We have stepped in when families have given up on them and will not financially help them anymore. Most of them are in their twenties and already have a hard time functioning in society today; all of them need help, all are lost and all of them are someone’s son, someone’s daughter. We stay in touch and follow up after treatment, to lend a supportive word, to give encouragement, to let them know they count.
In Taylor’s memory to date we have raised just over $100,000 and have helped change many lives. This does not include the people we have personally directed to a center for treatment that did not require financial aid but just needed to get their loved one into recovery, someone to talk to, some guidance, some support. This does not include those we have sat and talked with. Parents that needed to be told they are not alone in this, families that are suffering themselves at this very moment. Kim and I spoke openly and bared our souls at Taylor’s funeral. That night we were paid a visit by a distraught mother, whose family was on our path, living our very same nightmare, following just a few steps behind with their own child.
WE MAKE A LIVING BY WHAT WE GET BUT WE MAKE A LIFE BY WHAT WE GIVE.
To sit and watch families celebrate the graduation of their loved ones from treatment and hear their success stories breathed life into what seemed like an otherwise meaningless world.
The foundation itself has a mandate. To help those in need, to bring relief to families that are so desperately looking for help and to raise the public’s knowledge of the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs, many of which most of us know little about. Every penny donated to this cause goes directly to help the individuals. We tell of our story and of the final outcome to the choices they are making. We show them we care and we offer what most having been missing for so long… a hug.
Unconditional acceptance of each other is one of the greatest challenges that we humans face. Few of us have experienced it consistently; the addict has never experienced it – least of all from himself.
Over twenty young men and women, sons, daughters, mothers, sisters and brothers from right here in Alberta have been helped in the last 3 years. Numerous people and in turn families in distress were given relief and hope. To make a difference in one person’s life is a gift that everyone should feel, the gift of hope. Our goal is to have enough funds to not have to turn anyone away. Right now, we have limits to the funds available and so we are currently trying to focusing on young people under the age of 30 for they are our future, although we will turn our backs on no one. Our dream is one day never having to make that decision.
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE TOO SMALL TO BE EFFECTIVE, THEN YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN IN BED WITH A MOSQUITO.
Addiction is a disease that is rampant within our community; it has now reached out and touched each and every one of us in one way or another. We all need a second chance and to witness what this gift of hope can do and see the change in these young men & women from the shell that they once were to the sons & daughters once lost is one of great joy. This foundation could easily be called “families helping families”.
We might not be able to help everyone everywhere but we can help someone somewhere.
Charity is described as benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity; generosity and helpfulness toward the needy or suffering, aid given to those in need. It is through your kindness that perhaps we can help a family in need, a person wanting to make a change.
Please visit our website @ www.taylorargentlegacyfoundation.org
Mike and Kim Argent