Mother Uses Pain of Son's Overdose Death to Wage War Against Addiction
Fifteen minutes after police told Jacqueline Perrine her son had died of a heroin overdose, the shaken woman walked toward her 9-year-old grandson.
Ryder, the boy her son left behind, glared at his laptop screen. He cut off his grandmother as she started to speak.
“I know, my dad’s dead,” he said, eyes forward.
Perrine's eyes filled with tears. When she leaned toward the boy, he lashed out.
“Don’t touch me! Don’t talk to me!"
But then he softened.
“It was drugs, wasn’t it?”
“We think it was,” his grandmother said.
A few minutes later, the boy asked her not to leave him, and he slept that night in the same bed as Perrine in their home in Spring Hill.
Two years later, though, the boy still hasn’t cried for his daddy, and rarely talks about the death.
Perrine, too, didn't speak much about her son’s death for nine months.
But then, with help from a nationwide parent support group, she started talking about it.
Talking with other parents at vigils for overdose victims.
Talking to drug offenders about what parents go through.
Talking to jail officials about getting anti-opiate nasal spray to combat inmate overdoses, talking to schools about starting drug prevention programs.
Perrine has turned her pain and guilt into waging war against addiction — and opening her heart for healing for family members of those who died using drugs.
The more she strives to help others, the more Perrine finds she’s helping herself.
“It’s very healing for me.”
She showed up for labor in stiletto heels
Adam Richardson was Perrine’s only child.
The day she gave birth to him 32 years ago, Perrine took a shower, shaved her legs, did her hair and put on makeup, a cute outfit and black stilettos. A nurse, she was delivering at Southern Hills hospital, where she worked.
Perrine was dying to have her co-workers say, “Oh my God, you don’t look like you’re in labor! You’re looking good, girl!”
Perrine and her husband named the baby Adam Lee Richardson and called him a miracle. Born four weeks premature, the baby came after four miscarriages.
Within three years after Adam was born, Perrine’s marriage crumbled. Mother and son were inseparable until he went to kindergarten.