Meet Kim Obert
No one was more surprised on the morning of September 22, 2003 than my son Kent,
when he woke up in heaven. My name is Kim Obert and I would much rather be talking to Kent than talking about Kent.
I am the mother of two children; I have a lovely daughter, Sarah. My son Kent was my second born child. Kent was sweet, a gentle child a very normal child –He liked dinosaurs when he was little. He liked to play outside. He liked to play Super Mario Brothers. He loved to read. He was a good student. He was a good friend. He was a Boy Scout. He sang in a school choir. He went to church camp. He went on a mission trip. He volunteered in the tech booth at church. We went to church as a family – his uncle is a pastor!
When he was a sophomore in high school – he began to change and I noticed that he became restless and spent more time in his room with the door closed. When he was 15 he called me the night before Thanksgiving and told me that “he was fine, he was out with some friends and he wasn’t coming home that night - he was calling because he didn’t want me to worry.” He hung up. I was frantic and spent part of the evening driving around, and the other part calling every one of his friends to find him. I knew something was very, very wrong! Kent had always obeyed the rules.
He came home about 6:00 am and I was waiting for him.
Life changed that day for us. He went to the doctor and was drug tested. His computer time was restricted. He was not allowed to close his bedroom door. His comings and goings were strictly monitored. I thought we made it. He did not want to be a drug addict and it seemed like he made it.
I was working in Sweden at the time and took Kent with me during the summer before his junior year. He had been doing well, and I thought it would be good for him to “see another side” – to see a bigger world and get a bigger dream for his life. He asked to go to a different high school and we found a charter school, and Kent finished high school in less than one school year. I thought we were in the clear – it seemed like it. He was happy, he loved going to school, his job – he enjoyed spending time with his family.
It was the Christmas before Kent would turn 18. His dentist recommended that he have his wisdom teeth extracted, and as a normal routine the dentist gave him a prescription for a pain killer to be used after his oral surgery. I had it filled and put it in the kitchen cabinet. A couple of days later I noticed the bottle looked different – and with a pounding heart and a feeling of dread – I counted the pills and then confronted my son. After a while he admitted to taking some.I was heartsick – I thought we had made it! And I felt so bad for unknowingly putting the drug right in front of him.
I asked Kent why he wanted to take drugs and the answer he gave was bone-chilling.
He asked me to remember a time that I felt “GREAT” – “the best.” When I had the memory – he said, “okay – the first time you get high – it’s BETTER than that.” “All you can think about is feeling that way again – only it’s physically, chemically impossible.” He then explained how your brain chemicals are altered and why people take more, stronger and increase the frequency trying to get back to the feeling of that first high.
But Kent didn’t want to take drugs – he worked very hard to live his life without them.
At 18 he moved out – he was finishing his first year of college, had a great job and was able to support himself. For the next six months, Kent enjoyed the freedom of being on his own.
He would call and have us pick him up on Sunday mornings to go to church; we would always have lunch together on Sundays.
Then on a Monday in September of 2003, I had a life-changing knock on my door.
My heart dropped as I heard the words that my son, my handsome, sensitive, funny, talented, smart son died from an “accidental Rx drug overdose.”
Kent and two other kids took some Oxycontin, crushed them up and washed them down with beer. Kent got sleepy and told the other two kids he wanted to go to sleep. They left. Kent went to sleep – and as he slept, the drug slowed his respiratory system down, until it stopped completely. His roommate found him the next day – already gone.
I wish I had been better educated about drugs, I wish his friends had been better educated and more aware of what was happening to Kent – maybe Kent would be alive today.
But he isn’t. And I live with the pain – everyday. I’ll never see him grow up, get married, have children – live his life and realize his dreams.
I could spend the rest of my life being angry – I was a good mom! I put a lot of time into my children. I could be angry – but I’m not sure who I should be angry with. I forgive my son. I’m trying to honor his memory by helping other parents – and kids understand the dangers of using drugs – especially prescription drugs.
I’m hoping that by telling Kent’s story perhaps, just one person will make a different choice…
Maybe a parent will follow that “gut feeling” or maybe find out what is still hanging out in their medicine cabinets and dispose of or safeguard their Rx drugs.
Maybe just one person. . .