On this date, one year ago, I sat on my back patio as the sun came up listening to the birds, praying and trying to make sense of what my ears had heard, but my mind couldn’t comprehend. Weston and Tyler lay sleeping on the other side of the door so my tears flowed silently as my deafening screams echoed in my head. What started out as a text to a friend, became a Facebook post that would literally take what the enemy meant for harm and turn it to good.
I had no idea as I sat typing and crying what would become of the raw vulnerability that came out of me. I did not process as I typed, and simply let it all come out. I didn’t even know how to spell the name of the poison that claimed my son's life, but I knew I was going to do everything in my power to make sure it did not take anyone else’s child and I couldn’t type fast enough. I did not proofread when I was done. I didn’t need to, because I knew as the tears dried, that yielding to the Spirits leading had given me the strength to get through that day.
Mothers and fathers that had never talked about the passing of their children because of the power of stigma began to reach out to me to share their stories for the first time. Addicts in distress reached out to tell me that post gave them the incentive they needed to begin their journey into recovery. Those in recovery reached out to let me know that they dedicated that day of sobriety to Hagen.
Thousands of prayers went up for my family, words of encouragement made days bearable, and Hope Movement was started.
I remember vividly how I felt as I typed each word. In a matter of minutes I went from numb, to feeling my loss profoundly as I described who my son was. But then.... Then something remarkable happened. My tears of sorrow turned to tears of anger and determination as I took charge of my grief. I knew in a moment that the tide would change. I knew without a doubt that my fight was not over, even though Hagen’s was.
As I sat there that morning, I knew not one soul that knew my pain or the capacity to understand my loss, but I KNEW there would be others that would have the same calling and purpose that came to be that day.
In the early morning hours of March 21, 2019, just two days after learning my son was gone, I told the devil that his assault on our young people had risen up an army that was coming after him.
In one short year, and with no idea that what I was saying was part of God’s bigger plan and purpose for Hagen’s life, and mine, I’ve met so many in that Army, and it is so vast and diverse that I’m blown away by the move of God against those epidemics.
Without each of you, I truly do not know, nor do I want to think about, who I would be.
Tracie Carter, Debra Thomen, Lilly Harvey, Carrie Gall-Warren, Dawn Capps, David Capps, Michael H. McDaniel, Cheryl Juaire, Kelley Jean Blas, Jimmy McGill, Chris Dickie, Kathy Mcconnell, Kirk Lane, Jennifer Knight, Laura Elizabeth, Paula Cunningham, Angie Young, Karen Mosley, and many, many others, each of you inspire me, teach me, and encourage me. Together we are one, and each day, as new relationships are formed that army grows. The larger it gets, the more the enemy shudders.
I hope he’s terrified. He needs to be.