Tonight I watched Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey. This show features the talents of children 12 and under. In between watching I was on a site called GRASP which is a support group for parents of children who died from overdose or addiction. I don’t need to be on a site like GRASP to cry, Little Big Shots does it to me too. Watching all the innocence and joy of the children and the pride of the families is enough to bring me to tears. I see my children in these kids. I see myself in the parents. All of the hope that addiction has taken from us and everyone who is touched by this horrible disease is heartbreaking. I don’t know how many people post each day on GRASP but I do know every time I check the site, there is another picture of a beautiful young man or woman who has passed. The picture is usually followed by a heartbreaking account of this unfathomable reality by the parents.
I wasn’t able to see my son after he died.
I can relate. I wasn’t able to see my son after he died. Because he wasn’t found for almost two days his body had already started the decomposition cycle. I begged to see a picture, even after being told I would not recognize him and it looked nothing like him. I was alone. I insisted and when they showed me the picture of his face, it was true. He was unrecognizable but I know my child. I saw his hairline, that was how I knew it was really him. I was haunted by that picture for months until my therapist asked: “Why are you remembering that? Don’t remember him like that, that was only his body, remember the beautiful man he was.” Funny, that was all I needed to hear to force myself not to remember that picture. I think it’s natural though in the beginning. The first six months after losing your child is like falling into a black hole. You drive, not knowing where you are going half the time, I really do not have much recollection of the first six months. Eventually, I had to pull myself out of what was turning into a clinical depression, mostly for my Dad, daughter, and granddaughter.
We had my son cremated. I have his beautiful urn in my room and we bought two little urns for his sisters. His father couldn’t bear to have his sons ashes. I find peace with him in my room. I can hold him, touch his urn every morning and tell him goodnight. I couldn’t bear him not being with me. I have whatever I could salvage from his apartment, whatever wasn’t consumed by the smell of death. I cleaned out his apartment, combed through everything and to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised not to find much paraphernalia. He had a date the morning after he died so he had cleaned his room, even putting his work boots in a bag so they wouldn’t smell if he was lucky enough to bring his date home. He was so excited. I had to tell the girl when she called his phone that he didn’t stand her up, he was gone. Forever. She didn’t know he was an addict and I didn’t tell her. He was so excited to have found a nice, normal girl, I left it at that. Every parent on the GRASP site has basically the same story. So many just like me, say their child was clean for however long and they can’t understand what happened. I questioned that as well. But I reminded myself and I will remind you that addiction is an unpredictable and unexplainable disease. We will never know why they decided to use again? God wanted our angels and I feel a bond with other parents who have lost their children because I like to think all of our beautiful, loving children are hanging out like normal young people, enjoying peace for the first time in a long time. Now though, we suffer but with the knowledge that our babies are happy and peaceful. Something I know every parent of an addict has prayed for over and over..