In 2012, Bill Williams ’69 lost his son William to an accidental heroin overdose when he was just twenty-four.
Writing for the Harvard Medical School health blog, Williams describes how he and his wife have a basement full of their son’s old sporting gear at their home in the Catskills: “hockey sticks… baseball mitts, a batting helmet, a catcher’s mask, soccer balls, and more. Name the sport,” writes Williams, “and it is most likely we have equipment for it, even in different sizes.”
One regular visitor to the basement is an eight-year-old neighborhood boy, attracted by the array of gear, the prospect of playing with it, and maybe even going home with an item or two if Williams is feeling generous.
One of the dilemmas currently facing Williams is how to respond when his young friend asks where his son is. Whatever he says, Williams knows he must answer the boy “openly and honestly. There’s more of William to share than some old hockey sticks and baseball bats. William’s story, like that of so many others, has to come out of the basement so that it can be the cautionary tale every growing boy should hear.” Read more.