Updated: Mar 3, 2022
My love Brent Patrick Crawford, a loving, kind-hearted, God-fearing man, was taken away by heroin/fentanyl on July 24, 2021, at the young age of 31. His smile was as big as Texas and as bright as the morning sunrise. He loved to laugh and make others laugh and he loved to help others in need.
Brent and I met when he asked me for a part time job in December 2015. One day while we were working together, we started talking about our lives and that was the beginning of our friendship. As our friendship grew closer, he shared his past with me, a past that included years of opioid and drug use that started with marijuana and opioids in his early teens. He also shared with me that he had recently been released from prison after serving over 3 years.
Brent’s part time job quickly turned into a full-time job as he was a hard worker and was eager to learn. As time went on our friendship blossomed into more and we started dating. The more time we spent together, I suspected he had started using drugs again and sadly he was. I found the drugs in early 2016 and confronted him about it. I was expecting that to be the end of our relationship but I was wrong. I will never forget the moment I told him I knew as he fell into my arms asking for help as he explained how badly he wanted to stop. It was that day his sobriety journey began a journey that changed his life, my life and inspired countless others along the way.
For over 5 years I watched Brent transform from a drugged out lost man into an extremely hardworking loving, caring compassionate, God loving man. He was a loving devoted husband and was never out actively using while we were together although he had 3 or 4 short-lived relapses and then he would jump right back in and start fighting his addiction each time coming back stronger than before.
During our time together, he helped restore and rebuild my business that had extensive damage due to the lake flooding in 2015. He also helped grow the business by helping build a yurt for overnight rentals. He learned how to be a Chef, landscaper, painter, server, bartender, manager and various parts of maintenance. He also took on the marketing for the overnight rental and made it a success.
Brent had his hands full at work but he managed to find time to start a side business Photofanatics backdrops & props rental. He was always researching new business ventures as he had dreams of owning his own business, a dream that became a reality just before he lost his battle with addiction as he had just started a landscape and painting company.
The only thing Brent loved more than me was the Lord so I know he is smiling that amazing smile as he walks on streets of gold with our Lord and savior now. He would pray all day everyday so pretty much everywhere on the business property and in our house at some point he has been on his knees praying. I would be meeting with a client and they would say “what is that guy doing” I would look outside and see Brent with his straw hat on his knees with his hands held high in the air and my response would be he is praying. If he was asked to pray for someone, he would not just do it once he would do it again and again and again. He wouldn’t just pray behind the scenes if someone was around us that needed prayer whether he knew them or not he would pray with them. He also prayed over me every night, something I will cherish and miss every day for the rest of my life. He would start the prayer out by saying “Dear Lord please protect my angel your child Tina”.
Brent had the compassion of a giant; he would do anything anytime if it involved helping someone else. He went to Fort Worth to feed the homeless and to share his story to help them. He went with me to Beaumont after the flood to take supplies and didn’t just drop them off we walked the streets going house to house helping people search for precious items in the mess the flood had left behind. Under a huge messy pile, I saw a bible so Brent carefully got everything off it and surprisingly it had not been damaged at all. It turned out to be the woman’s family heirloom bible that her grandparents had passed down to her father. It was a beautiful moment seeing a family that had lost everything holding their family bible. Brent would volunteer pretty much for anything. He was compassionate about people in general and especially family so much so that night after night we sat by his Nanny’s side in the hospital ICU. As he would sit there rubbing her head and although she was not conscious, she would smile as he did it.
During Brent's sobriety journey he was happy and life was good but that didn’t take away the addiction that haunted him. When he relapsed, it was usually when things were going really good in life so nothing to trigger it as cravings always came out of nowhere as it often does for addicts. The one thing Brent struggled with was the shame associated with heroin so when the cravings would come out of nowhere, he wouldn’t talk about them because he was ashamed which would ultimately lead to him giving in to the cravings and using.
On December 31, 2018 early in the morning I woke up and found Brent without a pulse and not breathing. He had overdosed but by the grace of God answering my prayers his heart started beating again after over 9 minutes of CPR. It was a true miracle!!! This was very traumatic for me so I am sure it made it even harder for him to open up after that when he was having cravings as he did in April 2021 because he probably didn’t want to cause me to fear another overdose. On May 1, 2021, I found him as he was about to use heroin and, in that moment, I made a decision that I will forever regret as I made the choice to make him leave with pure belief that if I did the tough love approach it would free him from addiction and he would come back to me. I was praying every day that he was working his way back home to me and our fur babies. After he passed, I found out he was in fact working hard trying to stay sober and work his way back home as I went through his phone and emails. I am sharing this with you because I don’t want anyone to make the same mistake I did. I don’t ever want anyone to feel the pain and regret I am feeling right now so if any of you have a loved one or friend that is battling addiction do not push them away to try to give them a wake-up call as I did instead fight for them and with them! If you have told them they need help a thousand times tell them a 1000 more don’t be shy and if you can’t, say the words ask someone that can to help you!
I believe that the opioid epidemic is getting worse daily and it affects all ages and demographics. Yes, the government has cracked down on prescribing oxycontin and other opioids but that does not mean that those that are already addicted just let go of the addiction and were suddenly healed from it as it does not work that way. Now drug dealers are having a field day with the crack down on oxycontin and other opioids as they make faux pills mixed with fentanyl now and also lead addicts to heroin which is often laced with fentanyl. The only thing drug dealers and the people that make the drugs for them care about is making money. Making and selling these faux pills does not just affect those that are already addicted as people of all ages experiment with drugs every day and now many of them have overdosed from pills made out of fentanyl which is making experimenting with drugs and addiction even more deadly than it already was.
The point I am trying to make is that people are suffering and need our help so we need to be proactive and learn how to help them to the best of our ability. We need to educate those that have never tried opioids so they do NOT try them! We also need to educate people on the signs of using so they can catch it early if a loved one has started using. I cannot go back in time and bring my loves back but I can fight to help educate others so they don’t lose the ones they love. #BrentCrawfordMatters