Disclaimer: This is a raw writing from the heart of a grieving mother without editing and sourcing of statistics. Perhaps one day it will be edited but time seems better spent on other things…like adding more kindness to the world.
It has been a while since I have written. I go from having so much to say to not wanting to talk at all. I share/write because it feels “right” to do it and I know that there are people who need to hear the words. I appreciate those of you who have reached out to let me know that my words have helped you. It helps me to help others so please keep telling me.
I have heard the same version of the idea of “you are so strong” or “I can’t imagine” or “you are doing great” or “my loss does not compare” and here’s the thing…there is no strong or doing well or getting past or moving on or comparison for grief, there is only moment by moment survival. I may appear fine one moment and a hot mess another. However, I am not the only one in this situation of grief. Grief is love with nowhere to go is probably the most accurate description I ever heard. Everyone has or will experience grief in some form or another. There are no rules, there is no level of difficulty, there is no comparison. My loss is just what has been said so many times, they “can’t imagine”. I can’t either. It is a daily struggle between NOOOOOOOO I can’t do this and DENIAL that “this” even happened. Some days I go all day telling myself that the thing of nightmares is just that and some days I drown in it. There is no getting better but there is getting better at dealing with the life I have now. There is learning the new me, the new life, the new…everything.
Here’s the thing though, everyone is doing some version of this. My “level” of it may be of the ‘disability” stage (it is seriously that type of level) but that does not mean that someone next to me in the park isn’t spiraling in their own sadness (or grief ) over something lost in their life. I may have more tools, or capacity to do what is needed to survive the day than the next person and with that comes responsibility. That beautiful little boy in that photo is MY sweet boy. There are other sweet boys out there who are about to start down a path that leads to the same end. No that is not right, it is not a path, it is a muddy forest with spaces of open clearing and dense brush. It is life, plus sometimes…death. There are people right now who are facing choices that lead to another mother answering the door and falling to her knees. There is so much to do, so much to be said, so much that you reading this right now do not know yet…and you NEED to know. You need to see through different eyes, a new lens, but some of you are not ready or willing or able to comprehend that there is an entirely different world just outside the door. I urge you to try and open the door to the information that exists so that you never have to open your front door like I did that fateful day.
Information and knowledge are power. Learn what is out there now so that you can see signs of the people around you. You might just be able to help someone.
Zach will be gone 7 months tomorrow. He was a brilliant child with a high IQ, a kind heart, a wonderful sense of humor, and no idea what he wanted from life besides the money to make choices. He grew up in a world of instant everything and a self medicating society that was dictated often by greed. Have you been paying attention to the “prescription drug” commercials that are on all the time, even during the kids shows, and the beer/alcohol ones too? It is our society, and it is accepted everywhere because most of us do not know what is really going on.
Over 100 people have died of an overdose in Rhode Island alone since July of 2018. Every minute counts.http://www.health.ri.gov/data/drugoverdoses/
Zach started his “trek through the forest of experimentation” like most kids in their late teens but times are different now and addiction comes hard and fast sometimes. There is a national crisis. Overdose is not just a TV word. It is a real thing happening to more people today than at any time in the history of this country. Addiction is happening to people you love and you don’t know it yet. I didn’t. I didn’t know a lot and I thought I was pretty educated. I was wrong and that will haunt me forever. I asked so many questions before that first adderal prescription he was given for A.D.D. and questioned him when he talk XANAX to sleep. I mean this was a kid who could not take cold meds as a child because he legit reacted like a crazy person. How did I not see all this coming? On July 19,2018 my son died from an overdose. I will never say or type that without wanting to throw up or scream. There were an estimated 27 million people who suffered from opioid use disorders in 2016. And that number is going up. This is one of the reasons I get up everyday and fight through the pain, the exhaustion of grief, the unimaginable thought that I will never again hold that boy in a giant hug. Someone else needs me and what we are building at Intentional Heart to add some light to the world. And we are building something glorious. We are building alternatives…we are building opportunities to fuel your heart with positive, empowering, life building experiences. We are going to shine a light so bright that the “forest” is missed. I would love it to be missed by all but even I don’t dream that big. One person at a time. We want to be a place for people of all ages to find the spark inside them. I may be some grief stricken mother who needs to do something good to drown the bad inside but that doesn’t change the truth. That passion I had as a child to “save the world” combined with the absolutely incredible people who are working with me is pure magic and that is exactly what we need right now. The world needs magic.
Bud I will never feel like I did “enough” or “my job” but I know you are with me everyday and helping to guide me on this path. I see your light everywhere. I hear your laughter everywhere.I recognize the people that you have put in my path and will continue to try and lead them into the light. I love you to the moon and back.