My Greatest Fear

After losing Tom the fear of losing my son has become stronger.

Jennifer Estes
3 min readApr 23, 2022


Photo by Ty Tomlinson on Unsplash

I was sleeping soundly when a slight scream woke me up. I opened my eyes and looked at the clock, it said 3:03. I drank sleepy time tea before bed so I really had to pee. As I got up to use the bathroom I heard the slight scream again.

I sat on the toilet thinking of my son and his girlfriend in the other bedroom. Are they fighting? Are they having sex? I wonder about checking on them. It’s quiet as I decide to crawl back into bed.

The second I pull the covers up and settle in Angel* calls my name. Panic mode sets in, my son suffers from substance use disorder, he was recently released from prison and has been sober for several months. I ran across the house to their room.

The sight before my eyes had my soul leave my body, I’m certain of it. He was completely naked on the floor. She was straddled across his stomach doing chest compressions. The cell phone was on the bed, lit up with Emergency Services, the male voice on the speaker was counting with her as she compressed his chest. He was a scary gray color.

Shock….complete shock….as I think, well it’s finally happened, my son is dead. I ask if his heart has stopped, it’s all I can manage. Angel doesn’t answer the question and blurts out “he needs Narcan!” The 911 operator says “if there are two of you there one of you please go outside to flag down the ambulance.

I stand in the cold air, I can hear sirens approaching, I think my son’s spirit might be watching this whole thing unfold. Two police cars arrive first, followed by a fire engine, and then the ambulance.

The first officer looks me up and down as he approaches, giving me a disgusted look. I realize I am wearing my George Floyd t-shirt that says “All mothers were summoned when he called for his mama” and “Black Lives Matter” I ignore the way he looks at me asking if he has Narcan. He says “I do” in a not very nice way.

We all go inside the house, the police officer administers a dose of Narcan. The paramedics carry my son to the living room where there is more room. They give him more Narcan and hook up a heart monitor. They are asking lots of questions, what did he use, and does he have a heart problem…



Jennifer Estes

I am a widow, a mortician, a mom, and grandma. I write about grief, caregiving, substance use disorder, and the death care industry.