had made with Contact, that no matter how hard it was, I could not use what she was telling me against her son, or reveal their names.
Suddenly, as she sobbed and cried, she gasped, and asked with panic in her voice, "This isn't Joe is it?" Knowing she had enough grief to deal with and that hopefully God would forgive me in this instance, I quickly replied "no".
In an instant following my little white lie (or a big black lie - however you look at it), I found myself in a very, very difficult situation. I can still think back to that moment now 25 years later and feel the helplessness I felt that night. In the background, I heard the lady's door open, and a rough voice shout, "Who the hell you talking to?" I recognized the voice as that of her son, sitting there in horror as he came across the room in a drug haze, and began to curse and beat his mother. Feeling totally helpless, as I knew I was bound by the rules not to know or reveal who she was, I just said a quick prayer - "God, you have to take care of this." The phone line then went dead.
The next morning, I made a "routine" visit to their apartment at 8 AM. The lady had a few marks and bruises, but otherwise appeared okay. Under my breath, I muttered "thank you Lord." As I talked with her that morning, I was once again in my role as "the man" to her, as she told me how her son had been doing "just fine." I later found out that some neighbors in the project had heard the commotion and called the police.
I kept up with the family for years after I left the employment of the state, and the son never really changed. One time about 10 or 12 years ago, a police officer I know said they went to the mother's house looking for the son, and as he and the other officers stood at the door, the mother loudly announced "he is not here", while pointing her finger up at the ceiling continually. The officers found the son hiding in the attic.
The mother passed away several years ago, and I went to the funeral home. The son was there, but looked like somebody had beaten him to a bloody pulp. Someone said he had been beaten up over a drug deal. A few years later, the son suffered a massive stroke, and was partially paralyzed until he died a couple of years later. I always have fond memories of that mother, but her life was filled with despair over her son. I guess you can call this a story of a mother's despair, and a son's wasted life.