The Epidemic

Where do I even begin…

I watch moms walk in my office day after day. Some walking in with their heads held high and others barely able to drag their feet across the carpet as they enter my office, trying to still wrap their heads around that they have lost their child and are still trying to make sense of reality. To count how many have walked through my doors after losing a child to drugs is… something I don’t even want to do. To recount how many moms have cried each night since their child left, questioning whether they were in heaven or hell, because of their choices… again something I can’t even begin to do, the numbers are a lot. 

Can you imagine questioning if your child was even at peace due to their choices and where they would spend eternity? Being a mom myself, my heart aches each time they enter because it’s as if you can feel their broken heart before you even open the door to see their face, their longing to connect with that same child that they were able to keep them safe for 9 months, that as they entered this world they checked on them each minute of every day to make sure they were breathing, safe, healthy and happy. Always making sure that their food was cut up small enough to keep them safe while eating, brushing off the dirt on their skinned knee, kissing it and placing a band-aid on it, hugging them while they cry after their first broken heart. That the minute I see their face, feel their energy, or even more the times that I walk out and see their saddened child on spirit side, sitting closely next to them waiting… their heart is broken, broken in to a million pieces.

Most children begin with “Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother…"I’m sorry.” It’s my first indication that they made bad choices that lead them to where they are. Second, they begin to speak of all their struggles, and how much pain their parent(s) or sibling(s) suffered even when they were alive, due to their choices or lack there of change(s) in their life. How those that loved them tried to save them, tried to love them more than they loved themselves at times, that there were so many points where they were clean/sober, but truly couldn't figure out how to handle the reality of life.

As I sit, recounting the moments that lead up to them being found, being pronounced deceased, as mother(s)/father(s) beg to know if they could’ve saved their son or daughter, the anguish of regret, or remorse that the child tries to convey. Trying to convince their parent or sibling that it wasn’t their fault. The moments of trying to erase the memory of their lifeless body being found, more times than most, by one of the parents is heartbreaking. The choices that are made in the final moment of ones life, is the defining factor for some. Did an argument lead them to use again, how did months of sobriety get thrown out the window, did me asking too many questions drive them over the edge, did I love them too much, or did me cutting them off cause this? 

The amount of questions that parents ask, trying to make not only sense of it, but to find a “reason” are countless. Most moms especially feel that there was something they “should’ve” been able to do… Being a mom we feel we are to keep them safe, that it’s our job that God granted us this time to bring this amazing little human in to this world that we are responsible for everything, but we aren’t. When it comes to our children, we are to love them and try our best to help them in life. Teaching them right from wrong, manners, how to be self sufficient, how to love others, etc. However, children come in to this world with their own soul contract, as do we. We are to be there, to help to give them the tools that they need, but they have their own karma and own paths to walk.

Your child did not leave you to punish you; he or she had to leave because God called them home. The choices they make were not to punish you, even though I know it may feel that way, they too have healing to do, growth to achieve and how to love themselves differently now that the pain has stopped. You know I have seen kids who had it all and kids who had nothing all face the same struggle with addiction. I have seen some who beat it for years and relapse and I have seen some who struggled their whole life and never had a clean day, both of which in the end the drugs won. 

I have heard kids crying on heavens side because they wished they would’ve listened, ones who wish they could make their mom or dad smile again because they truly didn’t know the effect this would have and ultimately did not purposefully leave this earth. I have had parents walk in that desperately want to end it all just to be with their child again because to them there is no way they can live without them. I have others who walk in and just want to make sure that their child knows they love them now and loved them then and want nothing more than to grow the connection with their child on Spirit side. 

I’ve not only watched my clients suffer, but unfortunately have watched my Aunt and Uncle not only lose one child, but two to this epidemic, I know how the heart holds on to every last memory and moment, the real struggle is to make sense of it all. Watching nieces, nephews and younger cousins make sense of what an overdose is. Trying to not keep things a secret, but in hopes to use it as a learning tool of what not to do, while remembering their memory before drugs took over in their life.

I’ve had recovering addicts come in wanting to understand why God chose to save them and not their buddies, what their purpose on this earth is now that they have this second chance. I have had those still addicted coming in praying and hoping that with some guidance they can change, that life can get better from here. On both spectrums, both types of parties are trying to understand, “why them.” When someone is addicted or in recovery there is always a question of what tomorrow brings. We are as strong as we are each morning we wake and each night we go to sleep, tomorrow different factors may play in to their psyche, it may play on their emotions, etc. 

There is no right or wrong. There is no this person or that person… There are NO determining factors of who this takes over. It’s an epidemic, there are so many kids dying or those struggling to survive sobriety. The one thing I hear a lot from parents is, they feel that they failed at being a parent. YOU DID NOT FAIL! You did the best you could with what struggles, trials and tribulations you were given. You loved your child to the extent that they would allow you, you tried with all your heart to love your child and keep them as safe as you could. You were the best you could be and without a doubt even when your child may have not said it, you were their safe place when they needed it, when they couldn’t find their way out of the darkness.

Unfortunately we cannot erase sections of our lives that we wish wouldn’t have happened or wished would’ve ended differently. What we can do is hold on and cherish those moments and memories that make our hearts smile, that make us laugh and remind us of the good times. Your child didn’t intentionally choose to leave you. Their struggle was so much more, it was an illusion that they were trying to hide from, reality that they couldn’t grasp, that to them hiding in their mind was all they knew. Addiction is so much more than on the surface; there is a lack of self-love, self-confidence, acceptance, belonging, internal pain, emotional instability, etc. 

To all of you parents who have suffered the loss of your child, from my heart to yours, I am sorry your heart hurts. I am sorry you miss those moments you used to have, that you still have moments of feeling ok and moments of sadness. Grief comes in waves; honor each and every wave as it comes. Never for a second question that your child didn't love you, know that with every beat of their Spirit they are with you, looking over you and loving you. Know that with every breath you speak their name and every thought you send their way, they hear it, they feel it and know that they send it right back to you with open arms. 

I pray laws are changed; that there becomes more help for those who need it to beat this epidemic. I do truly believe that those who lost their battle help those that are still facing their darkness on a day-to-day basis here on earth. That there is a place in heaven where these beautiful children go to not only help others, but a place that they finally feel whole. That they get to feel what it’s like to have love in their heart, a connection in their soul and for their Spirit to truly be happy. My prayers to each and every one of you who has lost your child, to those who have not, and those who are watching their child(ren) struggle still today, remember to hug each them a little tighter today. Love to you all