Over the last two weeks, I know of eight moms who have shared their child has died from an overdose. These mothers fought for years to help their loved ones in multiple ways. Today came a shocker from one of the ladies in my support group,
“I am meeting with a funeral home to plan my son’s funeral while he is still alive.”
Everything in me took a pause. Unfortunately, being desensitized to the realities of addiction comes with the territory. However, this one hit home.
I just spent almost two months wondering if my daughter was alive or dead. I cried at the possibility of an overdose. Had she been beaten? Was she drunk and passed out, or high and running the streets. Each day took intentional focus to function, constant prayer, and practiced silence to calm my mind.
When she chose to go to detox, I spent five days believing she was getting the help needed to find out she had left the facility within hours of entering. I received a phone call at 1:30 am from an unknown number. I traced it to a Fairfield Inn. The hotel was within a few minutes of the detox facility. Where had she been for the last four days?
The following night I called the late shift to ask if they remembered her checking in. The sweet voice knew my daughter had been there. I had to ask the inevitable question, “Are you sure she left that room today? Has someone been in the room to make sure she’s not in there?” I wanted verification she hadn’t overdosed and died in that hotel room.
Here is the life of a parent living in their addiction. We become private investigators. I have searched for hours to find phone numbers and addresses. Then, reaching out to strangers for prayers and contact information becomes normal. Making sure your child is alive is part of this cold journey. It leaves you with a tired soul.
Now parents are planning their kid’s funerals. I have not physically done it, but I can confirm the thoughts have haunted me. As the tears fell from my eyes, my heart broke for her children. How would I tell them their mother was gone? I ran through an entire scenario that hadn’t happened yet. Just as this mother today was planning a funeral for a son who was still breathing. Her child has the power to correct his path in life. Yet, she feels compelled to start planning in the event of his death.
How did we get here? But, more importantly, how do we get out? What has to happen to change the trajectory for our youth and young adults, or even the older adults? When did hopelessness become the theme for so many people?
There is a dark cloud swirling over humanity. Faithful has transformed to faithless, and it shows. The heart and mind are bitter. Selfishness leaves a void of emptiness and contempt. When anything becomes an idol, suffering follows. When that idol is addiction, the grief hits far and wide.
I may not have all the answers, but I have a fight left in me. But, moreover, I have hope that I can help. So, I am researching ways to begin a foundation for parents and addicts. Perhaps I can create a scholarship or assistance program. We need additional, easy-to-find links for reputable recovery programs. When a person in addiction needs help, we need to be there.
Parents may need to step out of their child’s addiction to survive the trauma. Maybe we need a center of peer-to-peer parental and addict support. When I knew I couldn’t be there for my daughter, I wish I could have called and asked someone to step in. Even a meal helps someone in need.
I don’t want to plan my children’s funerals. However, I understand those parents who are out of ideas and see this being the outcome. Repetitive behaviors create our repetitive fear. Without changed actions, the worst-case scenario replays in our minds. I work hard to control my thoughts, but it isn’t always easy to do.