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'It's your little brother': I listen to his voicemail, years after his overdose

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Hi Mike, it’s your little brother, Randy. I was just wanting to call and touch base with you, and I know it has been a little while since we’ve talked. I’ll try giving you a call back maybe tomorrow afternoon sometime. I’ll be catching up with you over the next couple of days. Talk to you later. Bye.

That is the voicemail on my phone I can’t bring myself to delete. Eighteen days after leaving that message, Randy died of a fentanyl overdose in March 2019.

He was calling from the rehab hospital, where he had checked himself in nearly a month earlier. While the four other siblings all knew that at various points in his life he had struggled with drugs, none of us knew it had escalated to that degree.

The day after leaving me that message, he called back and we connected. He sounded great, saying things like: “This was exactly what I have needed for a long time and I’m so glad I did it,” and “I have never felt better in my life.” I was saying things like: “You’ve got this,” and “We’re all gonna be there for you.”

Our sister picked up Randy at the airport in Cincinnati. They noted that they both had moderate cold........


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