Family gathers for anniversary of Opana death - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Family gathers for anniversary of Opana death

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SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- Anniversaries are supposed to be celebrated. They're supposed to include parties and smiles. They're not supposed to take place in cemeteries.

But that's where Melissa Himmelheber found herself Sunday, surrounded by family members and friends, grieving over the loss of her son.

C.J. Coomer died exactly one year ago Sunday from an overdose – a combination of narcotics and the prescription pill Opana. The drug has killed dozens in this Indiana County in the past year and robbed Melissa Himmelheber of her oldest son.

On this anniversary of C.J.'s death, his family members and friends gathered for a prayer vigil and balloon release. Attached to the end of one of the balloons was a bracelet with a note about C.J. Melissa hopes someone will find it and will serve as a reminder not to abuse prescription drugs.

With the help of a cell phone, the song "Amazing Grace" streamed from the speaker, and brought tears to Melissa.

"It makes it hard seeing my mom crying, and knowing my older brother was her rock and knowing that I'm taking those shoes," said Matthew Davidson, C.J.'s younger brother.

When asked if there were a silver lining to her son's death, Himmelheber said: "If (this) helps somebody else, yes. If we can get the word out there about drugs. If it just helps one person then yes, most definitely."

Perhaps even more bittersweet than the message from the balloon release, was the message from Skylar James, C.J's 8-month old son he never met. C.J's girlfriend was four months pregnant when he died.

At this young age, Skylar is too young to understand what took his father's life. Melissa Himmelheber knows she can't change what killed C.J., but she can change his legacy.

Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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