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Parents walk a path of grief for their son Marshall

Ever so rarely, we connect with people so well, it feels as if we’ve known them all of our lives. That is how my husband, Kevin, and I felt when we first met Dewey and Donna Fladd.

After the Fladds lost their son, Marshall, to an opiate overdose last year, that connection has deepened in ways we never could have imagined. It’s become a friendship too treasured to measure.

Nearly 10 years ago, Dewey and Kevin developed a friendly competition while selling art photography at area festivals. It quickly evolved into regular texts and phone calls, shared dinners and brainstorming sessions in the off-season. Donna and I, initially supportive spouses, realized we see life similarly and can talk and laugh about our observations for hours.

As this friendship grew, the Fladds confided in us that their son was a heroin addict and shared some of the emotional struggles this had created for their family. Their efforts to support Marshall, research and pay for rehab programs, deal with the consequences of his unsavory and sometimes criminal actions, pray for his safety, and hope for a lasting recovery were an overwhelming burden to bear. They tried valiantly to rise to the challenge.

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