Make of this what you will, I just need to get it out and I don't have anywhere to do so.
So my neighbor is legitimately one of the nicest guys I know (type that'd notice your fence needs repair or painting and just do it for you), but his ex-wife is a psychopath. They have a son together but when he was 9 or 10, she basically kidnapped him and even though my neighbor fought like hell to get him back, courts and law enforcement never took his side.
Long story short, the ex-wife used the son as a prop to hurt my neighbor. Abuse and whatnot, got away scot-free too. Moved the kid out of state and went radio silent for almost a decade. Then one day, decided she didn't "need" him any more and dropped him off at a bus station. Called up my neighbor and basically said "there he is, go get him if you want him." Of course he did, he went and got his son.
I spent about six months getting to know the kid. 18-19 years old, no criminal record but the kid had drug problems and self-esteem issues. I'd try to get him to go to church with me and I could tell there was a pain in this kid's voice every time he spoke. He was clearly used to just being neglected -- I say this because he'd always act surprised that anyone would even talk to him.
One day, my neighbor disappeared and I found out from another neighbor that he had to take his kid to a hospital because he OD'd and had a stroke. Three days later the kid died.
This all happened about a month ago. It's shitty. I wish I'd been more adamant about getting the kid some help, supporting my neighbor or whatever. I'm not sure there was much more I could do short of forcing it (which never works any way).
Holy shit. I didn't expect this thing to blow up like this; figured it'd just disappear into the ether if anything.
Some additional info -- I've seen and dealt with druggies. This kid was (in my opinion) a druggie that did it to escape his pain and could've ended up on either side of the fence. I don't think he was too far gone yet, had he made it he would've been on the cusp of a breakthrough.
The couple times I invited him to church were circumstantial; I don't go around forcing my beliefs down people's throats. I'd be pulling into my driveway and he'd come over and say "Hey Splooge, whatcha up to?" and I'd go "Just got back from church, you feel like going some time? You could ride with me." Every time he'd go "Yeah! Oh yeah! Definitely!!" But for whatever reason, one thing or another he'd fall into a slump or relapse.
One day, the kid and I were chatting about random shit and somehow or another the topic of CCW came up. I told him I carried always, everywhere, no exceptions. A few days later I saw him with a big-ass fixed blade on his hip and asked him about it. "Well, Splooge, what you said made sense, but I can't get a CCW till I'm 21. I looked up the open carry laws, this is the best I can do for now!" Like I said, good kid, just never really had a shot.
The last time I saw the kid before he was hospitalized, he told me "I gotta look into a job. Something. Anything. My pops wants to take care of me forever now that I'm here, but fuck if I'm gonna sponge off him, y'know?" Kid always had this sad apologetic tone about him, dirty blonde uncombed hair, punk-rocker-type hoodies, you know the type.
My neighbor's doing all right given the circumstances. He's got a granddaughter, about 5 or 6, and she's always coming by to hang out with pop-pop and that keeps him busy. He used to be a contractor too so his front yard is currently filled with tile, porcelain and cement -- he's redoing his bathroom. He doesn't drink, but he does chainsmoke -- makes his own rollies with a machine.
Thanks for the kind words, goats.