By Betty-Lou Kristy, Member of Families for Addiction Recovery’s Advisory Board
Seventeen years ago on Dec. 23, 2001, my beautiful 25 year old son, Pete, died of an accidental drug overdose caused by a lethal combination of opioids mixed with the newly prescribed high powered psychiatric drugs. There are no words to describe the loss of a child and the journey of grief that will be with me the rest of my life.
Pete was a local boy, well known and liked in his hometown of Georgetown. He went to Glen Williams School, then to Centennial School and then continued at Georgetown High school (albeit, one would usually find him in the smoking area as opposed to actually being in a classroom)
Pete worked at the Georgetown Cultural Centre & the Georgetown Golf Club. (The Golf Club job ended when he decided, on a dare, to drive the club’s golf cart at WARP speed, down a massive steep hill, and rolled it) LOL. He performed in plays in his junior years; did the lighting for the John Elliot Theater and Georgetown Globe Productions and he loved to accompany his nanners to every big theater play that ever came to Toronto.
He played soccer (badly), he played football (badly), he played hockey (terribly) and he bowled (badly)! He also had a love/hate relationship with video games because he played badly!
As a young adult he loved to watch football, WWE wrestling and anything Star Wars. He had a secret crush on Britney Spears and Posh Spice (but I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone). He LOVED the Muppets, particularly Kermit the Frog and he did an amazing imitation of Victor Newman from Young & the Restless (but I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone that he watched that soap opera).
Pete was a comic genius. He was hysterically funny. Imagine Jim Carey and you’ve got a full caricature of Pete. He was goofy, whacky, weird and a little off the wall. He totally entertained me. He was also a HUGE pain in my butt! He was a good, highly intelligent kid who often got himself into what I always referred to as “Pete messes”. Only Pete could make you laugh and drive you crazy with worry at the same time.
He was the love of my life, my son and my friend. He has forever been and will forever be, “the fire in my belly”, that always pushes me to get up…over and over and over again.
As a mother, I reflect back constantly to what more I could have possibly done or tried to source for this sensitive, loving and entertaining kid with the deep desire to accomplish something great in his lifetime. I continue to realize that what I did NOT know about opioids, and lack of holistic wellness treatment options, were my biggest barriers.
The one gift that I can share with you is this message of awareness. Thank you so very much for allowing me to share my late son with you, and the chance to offer our lived experience to help you guide your children and loved ones; and hopefully treatment and system transformation.
Awareness and knowledge is the key.
Below is Pete’s memorial which will be in our local newspaper this week. A mother should NEVER have to write her child’s obituary, and then a memorial each year of grief and heartache and loss that never goes away. The memorial is yet another “Pete mess moment”. Hope it makes you smile. Pete loved to make people laugh.
Peter (Kristy) Beattie
Sept 1976- Dec 23 2001
Looking out the back window last night, I remembered that time when you were a young adult, and you thought it would be a great idea to lie out there on the back patio, shirtless, and let your friends take turns running over you with a bike. (It may have been fueled by lots of beer and trying to imitate a WWE wrestling stunt).
I remember my motherly concern and irritation as I yelled through the window; “Who does that?!” “What is wrong with your brain?!” “Pete, get up, you are going to get hurt!” “Stop running over my son!!” But none of them heard me because they were all laughing so hard. I also remember the tire tracks that marked your body which you “wore” as a “badge of honour” for weeks.
“Who does that?”
My crazy beautiful son (with no common sense) does.
We miss you badly Pete
Mom & Soons