LA GRANGE PARK – The poem April Marin handed out at her son’s funeral is titled, “You Took a Risk And The Risk Took You.”
At about 3:30 p.m. Oct. 10, April Marin came home from work and found Steven, her youngest son, lying face-up on his bed with what looked like the whitish inside of a banana smeared across his face. Foam was spewing from his mouth and nose.
April pounded on his chest and more foam came out, this time bloody. She called 9-1-1, and watched from her front door as paramedics performed CPR on Steven in the ambulance.
After being taken to La Grange Memorial Hospital, Steven Marin was pronounced dead at 4:46 p.m. He was 20. He took a risk, and it took him.
Later, April Marin found a rolled-up piece of a page Steven had torn out of a video game magazine. She also found a small plastic bag with a powdery white substance, which police later took.
April Marin said she knew Steven had used marijuana for years and she disapproved. But heroin, she said she never suspected. She went through Steven’s phone after his death and found that he had searched for instructions on how to snort heroin Oct. 8, 9 and 10.
Officially, Steven Marin’s cause of death is yet to be determined, and it could take several months for the medical examiner to confirm what April Marin suspects – that Steven was trying heroin for the first time and used too much.
“He was talking about the future,” she said. “It wasn’t like, ‘I’m depressed again, and I don’t want to live.’ This was an accident. He was trying something out and he died.”
In addition to his mother, Steven Marin is survived by his father, Jose, and brother, Jeffrey.
The night Steven died, April Marin couldn’t sleep. She scoured the Internet for answers. She started to grasp the fact that her son is one of a long and growing list of overdose victims in the suburbs. In DuPage County, for example, there had been 41 suspected heroin-related deaths this year, as of Oct. 24. Cook County’s records do not differentiate between heroin-related deaths and fatalities caused by other opiates.
April Marin’s message, while raw, is that the same thing that happened to Steven could happen to others. If recent history continues, it will.
Steven Marin graduated from Lyons Township High School in 2012. He was smart, and as a kid, he loved to read, his mom said. But the older he got, the more he became frustrated by school and lost interest.
Over the past five years, he was hospitalized a handful of times for depression. In September, Steven spent five days at GlenOaks Hospital in Glendale Heights. The day after being released, he started training for a job he had nailed down before his hospitalization, washing dishes at a restaurant in Countryside.
“That’s why he wanted to come home so fast,” April Marin said. “He was worried about losing the job.”
He worked three days a week from 3 p.m. until close. He was enjoying having a job, which would help him save money to buy a car so he could enroll in a cooking program at a community college.
He thought he was in line for a position in the restaurant’s bakery that would have been five days a week, but he didn’t get it. Had he, he would have been scheduled to work there at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 10.
“He was talking about so much for his future,” April Marin said. “He wanted to go back to school for cooking. That’s been a passion of his since he was little kid, since he was baking pies with my mom for Thanksgiving.”
On Oct. 14, about 30 of Steven’s friends were among the standing-room-only crowd at his wake at Hitzeman Funeral Home in Brookfield. Almost an hour after the service, as April Marin and her family were leaving, a circle of Steven’s friends were still in the parking lot, talking and laughing about Steven, and saying how much they were going to miss him.
“If Steven just knew that so many people cared about him,” April Marin said.
After Steven’s funeral, April Marin posted a Facebook message thanking his friends who attended. She also told them to let Steven’s death be a message and to take care of each other, even if it means speaking up to police or other authorities when they think one of them is at risk.
She plans to keep Steven’s Facebook profile active at least through his birthday, Jan. 24, and will post a photo of him from time to time.
“Just to keep him in their thoughts,” she said. “To keep them coming back to the fact he’s not there anymore.”