Submitted by his mother, Mary Jane Hall

Brendan was a shy kid who kind of kept to himself

He went to private school and loved to play golf. He was an excellent golfer, actually. He had everything he could ever want, because his father could afford it. Growing up, he was a boy who loved to have fun with his sister, Morgan. He was gentle and sensitive to everyone around him. His proudest accomplishment was his golfing skills. He golfed with his father all the time. He was also proud of his father accepting him for who he is. That’s what Brendan wanted the most, and I’m happy he was able to get that before he passed away.

Brendan and his sister, Morgan

Brendan and Morgan were as close as siblings could be

They did everything together. They were more than brother and sister; they were best friends — inseparable. Morgan even convinced Brendan to transfer colleges so they could go to college together. They were just that close. So, when Morgan died due to natural causes, it shattered Brendan to the core. He sunk into a deep, dark depression and basically shut himself off from the world. Therapy seemed only to make him angrier and more cynical. So, he went to drugs to try and numb the pain. At first it was pain pills, but eventually he got introduced to the devil himself — heroin. Heroin was cheaper and obviously not that hard to find. By this point, he was in full-blown addiction.

Drugs made Brendan into a completely different person

Brendan was living with me after Morgan died. He was my only child, and I was his mother, so we wanted to protect each other. I coddled him throughout his life. I knew he was using drugs, but I didn’t know he was addicted or what he was using. Then I noticed my jewelry was disappearing, my credit card was maxed out, and I didn’t know what to do.

I knew he was addicted because he told me

I remember I had to go to work, and Brendan was crying. He said, “Mom, I don’t have any money,” and I didn’t know what he wanted me to say. Then he said, “I don’t have any drugs. Mom, you don’t understand; I can’t function without them,” and he just sobbed. That’s when I knew this was serious. I remember I was also crying because he was my only child. I didn’t want him to leave me.

One of the hardest things I have ever done was to have my own son arrested

Brendan with his mother, Mary Jane Hall

I thought I did everything I could to help him. He had been in rehab three different times. Brendan’s father and I both attended weekly Nar-Anon meetings. I tried soft love, tough love, everything. I never thought he would steal from me, but he did. He stole from me several times, and one day I noticed I was missing a very expensive piece of jewelry, one of the few I had left.

He swore up and down that he did not steal or sell my ring. I told him if he didn’t do it, someone must have broken into our home and stolen it. I was still giving him chances to be truthful to me. He confessed that he took it, and I went to the pawn shop to get it back. He sold a $10,000 ring for $300. This went too far, and I had to call the police on my son. Maybe he would get clean in jail, I thought.

He was sentenced to one year probation with mandatory drug testing. If he failed his drug tests, then he would go to jail.

Brendan with his cousin, Juliann

The night he died, I was 15 minutes too late

We were watching TV very late. I remember going to bed at around 11 p.m., and I woke up at 1 a.m. I just felt in my heart that something was wrong. I ran into his room, and he was dead. I tried to revive him, but it was too late.

My son never met his probation officer

Even though that was his punishment, it was never followed through. He never was drug-tested, either. The caseloads are just too big, and my son was just not that important. He died four months after the sentence. My heart and my life are shattered.

If I could say anything to Brendan, it would be

I love you beyond words, and I’ve never stopped, despite everything.