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My son Daniel was the most kind hearted, friendliest person ever. This boy didn’t have a mean bone in his body, he even kept mom in check. His father and I divorced when he was 16 yrs old. I never burdened him with my problems, just wanted him to grow up healthy and happy. We moved within the same neighborhood after my separation when he was a sophomore in high school. He was always up on his responsibilities, started working after HS graduation at our local movie theater and attending our local college in Moorpark CA, and even became the manager at the theater after a couple of years of being on the job. He ALWAYS took his responsibilities seriously, NEVER called in sick to work nor to his classes at the college. As a parent, I never pressured him into paying for anything, my message to him was not to stress, any money he makes is pocket money, “mom’s got the rest!!!” He always strove to be the best at what he did, never reckless, always responsible with his credit card payments, and keeping the balance as low as possible.  My own father was in bad health around 2017, that’s when I started to notice the change. Daniel was 22 yrs old then. He walked out of his job, came home and was almost having a mental breakdown, it didn’t even dawn on me that he was smoking marijuana, and that was perpetuating the problem. He felt bad the next day “mom I f**ked up”, I told him “honey, people make mistakes, just talk to your supervisor at the theater and let them know that.” That was January 2018, he did speak with his manager and they were more than understanding, even told him NOT to stress about work and keep his hours low to continue his college classes. The following months he would go out to clubs in Ventura with his friends, would come home early hours of morning, having lost his keys, and his wallet. He didn’t seem like himself, but I’d think to myself, we live in the most beautiful neighborhood in California, Camarillo is a low key, farming community and extremely safe, what would my son stress about? 

 

In 2018 is when marijuana became full blown legal and not that we didn’t have dispensaries before, now it’s on steroids, heck they would even mail it to you. I personally DID NOT vote for it, then started noticing the smell of unholy cannabis even in Camarillo, it turned out they’re even growing it here so there was NO WAY for my Daniel to avoid it. In 2019 things seemed to be going smoothly until Thanksgiving where we went to my mom’s cousins’ house to celebrate and Daniel abruptly said he couldn’t stay anymore that he’s going to his dads’, I was dumb founded because I knew they had plans for much later on that day, it was only 2pm. FYI, Daniel was a Thanksgiving baby, was born on 11/22/1995, so it broke my heart at what he did. I told him ok, if he’s uncomfortable to go to his fathers’ and I’d see him later. He NEVER showed up that night, but texted me in the morning saying he stayed at his dads’ and he’ll be home soon. Well, he did come home around 1~2p that afternoon and was visibly having a nervous breakdown, said he “needs to talk to me,” I said ok son, told him just to relax and we’ll talk later, in hopes he’ll relax in a few hours. After a few hours, I told him let’s talk son. He started by talking and saying he can’t live with me anymore and he’s moving in with dad. I told him I understand but there’s a lot riding with living with me, his car insurance, his cell phone bill, healthcare insurance, all is with me. His father was never much of a provider, but I didn’t lead on just said think on it and if that’s what he wants, he can do that.  

 

His mental state of mind kept spiraling out of control, he kept biting his cuticles to the point his fingers were bleeding, he was visibly having a mental breakdown. It’s then when I noticed it’s the marijuana pens that’s doing this. We met with his psychiatrist to talk about it, and by then he was having a full on mental breakdown, kept sobbing uncontrollably, speaking nonsense and my HEART WAS BREAKING. I immediately took the 2 marijuana vape pens he had and tossed them in our apartments’ dumpster, and told him that’s what I did because it was causing him to experience psychosis!!! I also told his psychiatrist, in front of him, that I’ll immediately put him through rehab, or what they refer to now as a “treatment” center.  ASAP when I got home, I called the treatment center, told them about my son and got information about programs and costs to be sent to my email ASAP, which they did. I also spoke with my healthcare provider, they confirmed they cover 90% of the treatment after out of pocket, which was a no brainer for me. 

For the record, the treatment center director told me, since the passing of legalizing marijuana and dispensaries popping up in every neighborhood, their cases of mental disorders have skyrocketed!!!  That shook me to my core. I put Daniel in rehab and made sure he’s attending everyday, and couldn’t help but notice his mental state of mind improving as months went by. I mean it was like day and night, clear minded, concise,he spoke with clarity. He attended December 2018~April 2019.  Then he started going out with an old HS friend and she was a total pothead, every time they came to my place, they’d go to his room, play video games and the smell of weed permeated throughout my place.  I took him aside alerting him “honey, you’ve just finished rehab, PLEASE don’t smoke this s**t”, “no mom it’s her that’s doing it”.  By the end of April he told me he wants to move out and move in with his a friend he’s known since Jr. high, I know the kid, he’s a devout Christian, never smokes or does drugs, so I’m good to go, if that’s my son’s wishes, nevertheless still broke my heart, but he’s 24yrs by then, so why not. In August of 2020 I purchased my 1st property, nice model condo in Camarillo and Daniel offered to help me move, he’d such a HUGE heart, he’d helped several friends move too. One day he stopped by to have lunch and looked worried or uneasy, when I asked he said work is stressful. I urged him to cut his hours, “honey you can’t work 40 hours a week and do college at the same time”!!! He told me he dropped out!!!

 

I told him his health is more important than anything, that he’s never going to be homeless, penniless. I make good money and can help. He broke down sobbing, it broke my heart, then it dawned on me, he’s back to smoking weed and I asked him, he said yes. I was very upset and told him it’s giving him anxiety and mental break “you gotta knock this s**t off honey, I hate seeing you this way”, he told me “mom, I’m going to have to make changes.”  I’d no idea he was going to take his own life. I texted him that week on & off giving him hope, texting Bible verses. He would reply with kindness & thankfulness.

 

Friday and the eve of his birthday eve 11/20/20 he texted me his last text saying he’s coming over to do his laundry, I was so happy. He came and didn’t seem like anything was wrong, yes, he was rather depressed but was on his phone watching YouTube videos and chuckling here & there. He folded all his laundry nice and neatly tucked away in his hamper. By then it was after midnight, I told him honey it’s getting late, I’ve got an air mattress I can put in the room when you move back home, he said ok. I was up ‘til 2am watching programs on Rumble and YouTube, I don’t have cable, by 2:30am I stuck my head inside the room, Daniel was on his phone texting John his roommate and I told him honey, it’s getting late get some shuteye and said good night to him. That was the last time I heard his voice, he said, “good night and love you.”  Next morning John texted along with my ex asking if Daniel is ok. I replied back to John that he’s low in spirit because he keeps smoking that crap. John replied he wants to go back on the treatment program, I replied I’ll talk to him. That’s when I went to knock on the door and opened to find his precious and beautiful body laid down in the walk-in closet.  You can imagine my status, I started screaming and running around my apartment OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. I called 911 then immediately called my brother. That was the worst day of my ENTIRE LIFE. Some of his friends found out and came over immediately with their parents, everybody crying in disbelief. Why would he do the unspeakable? Police, county examiner, detectives, EMT no one could imagine why and I told them why, marijuana had turned my son into a nervous wreck!! They asked about the gun. I told them a few weeks back BLM/Antifa had blocked an exit to the freeway nearby and I was just trying to protect myself and all the talk about defunding the police, it’s scary, but never thought for 1 min my own son would use it. His dad, my ex, fessed up that Daniel had told him in 2019, after his breakdown on Thanksgiving that he told him that he wanted to just jump off the cliff.

 

Life’s been very difficult without that precious soul in my life. I’ve joined my church groups’ GriefShare online, that is helping but no one in that group has experienced what I went through. I called the county examiner and asked if they’ve run a toxicology on Daniel, they said no that they normally don’t in cases like this but if I ask that they would and I said yes please. Four weeks later they called me to confirm, the only thing in his system was marijuana!!!!  It’s been 4 months now, but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss my beautiful son.

daniel-marijuana-psychosis-victim

This photo of my son Daniel’s grave illuminated by the sun’s rays gives me comfort in my grief.