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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

One last thing...

On June 9th, 2014, I posted a video about what to do if you have a child who is an alcoholic. My point was that parents must do everything they can and then do just one more thing. You can find the video here: 

Yesterday, my heart sister (a woman so close to me that in my heart she is truly my sister), did one more thing for her son. It was one of the most unpleasant things she has ever done.

Early in 1991, a boy baby was born to this couple who had tried desperately to begin a family. I was there when she was told she was actually pregnant. I was one of the second to know (the first being the expectant father) that the fetus was viable and she would carry to full term. However, I could not be there when this sweet boy made his debut on earth. My father was ill and I had to move 3,000 miles away.

When I returned to this area, I actually met this young man – no longer a baby – and he was so very handsome with his dark hair and deep soulful brown eyes. He had eyelashes that any woman would kill for. He was well educated, intelligent and an avid baseball player. He had a heart of gold with a soft spot for the elderly.

So why is this awesome young man being featured on my blog? In spite of all the wonderful thing that he was, he was an addict. He fought his addiction hard and had been clean for at least three months. But, on that fateful night he did one more thing – he used for the very last time. We don’t know why he would do such a thing after fighting so hard to get a handle on his life. He was in school, had a job, and a loving girlfriend. Why? Why did it come to this.?

The answer is easy and distasteful. This awesome young man was an addict who had struggled with recovery. When presented with an opportunity to get high once again, he responded in the only way an addict can, he loaded up and lost his life.

His parents were devastated, his girlfriend was inconsolable. Everyone who knew him was in shock. These parents did one more thing for him. They laid him to rest knowing he would now be free of the torturous monkey on his back.

Over the next few months the parents will slowly move through the stages of grief. People will tell them they will get over it with time. Some will say he’s in a better place. As a parent who has lost a child I can tell you that those words do nothing but generate a twinge of anger. The best thing to say is a simple “I’m sorry” and nothing more. If you haven’t lost a child, you do not know what these parents are going through. If you’ve never endured the pain of seeing your child high on drugs or alcohol, then please don’t say “I know how you feel.” What you can say, is that you are there if they need you.

Trust me, they will never be the same. There will always be a hole in their heart. They will always doubt the purpose of their lives now without their son and no prospects of grandchildren in their future. They will fight and fuss with each other and have little patience for anyone involved with drugs. They will even seem a bit testy with their closest of friends.

They will find a way. It will be a way that they will create on their own. The way may make no sense to any of us in their inner circle. It is not for us to judge, criticize or condemn. Our job is to support, listen, smile and nod. There is nothing more for us to do.

This one last thing that the parents did for their son was dignified, tasteful, and comforting to those who knew him. In the time ahead, they will do many more things for their son – sort through his things and neatly organize and put away his life. 

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