Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.
This Mother Lost Her Son to Addiction Today.
A few hours ago one mother reached out to me with news that broke my heart. Her news will turn your whole world upside down and inside out. It’s the kind of news that every parent or family member of an addicted person, fears the most. Today this mother learned her precious son had died from a drug overdose. Her worst fears had come true. The phone call she dreaded, received. Upon hearing her news, you will likely feel saddened. You will think about your children and pray to God that never happens to them. Your heart will go out to this mother. You might even say a little prayer for her and the rest of her family. But in a few hours, you’ll forget. You’ll go on with the business of living. You’ll cook dinner for your family and perhaps, watch a little TV. But this mother won’t go on. She is in shock. She won’t be able to take in the devastating news she just received. She has no way to comprehend the debilitating grief that will soon be upon her. For now, she is numb. As you go to bed at night, you’ll look in on your children. But this mother won’t. Instead, she will think about her son lying on a cold steel gurney. After a restful night’s sleep, you’ll get out of bed and start organizing your day. As you sip your coffee, you think of three more items to add to your list. But this mother won’t. She hasn’t been able to eat or drink anything since she got the news. Right now she is waffling between denial – she still can’t believe he is gone, it must be a mistake – and begging God to bring her son back to her. As you eat lunch, this mother will be walking around her home trying to come to terms with something so unbelievably horrific – her baby left before her – that she can’t think straight. Her mind refuses to acknowledge what her heart already knows. It will take her some time before she is able to accept this news. In the meantime, she will be busy. Busy planning where to bury her son and what she should bury him in. She’ll struggle when picking out his clothes. As if burying him in the right outfit will make a difference, but to her it does. This mother will stand in her son’s closet. She will smell all his clothes. Maybe if she inhales deep enough, she can bring him back to life. While you call your kids to see if they got home from school safely, this mother calls her dead son’s phone. She needs to hear his voice. She will listen to his recording over and over again. As you cook dinner for your family, this mother will stare at the empty chair in her kitchen. Her heart will break all over again. As you load up the washing machine, this mother would sell her soul to have her son’s dirty clothes to wash just one more time. As you remind your kids to brush their teeth before bed, this mother can’t bear the thought her son will never sleep in his again. As you kiss your children goodnight, this mother kisses the cold glass of a picture frame. As you put your hard earned money away for your children’s college tuition, this mother uses her son’s tuition for a funeral service. As your children grow up, this mother’s child remains forever young. This mother can’t comprehend how her heart still beats when her son’s is still. She will rail at God and ask why. Her screams will go unheard in the privacy of her bedroom. Her pillow will be soaked in tears. She will be forever changed. This mother will beat herself up. She will think about all the things she could have done differently. She might blame herself. Why didn’t she force him into treatment? Why didn’t she seek help? Why had she waited for him to want it for himself? She has a new mantra. If only… This mother will live life wearing a mask. One that protects others from seeing how devastated she really is. This mother will need her mask. It will be her survival going forward. For were she to feel her son’s loss 24/7 she would not be able to get out of bed in the morning. By now you might be asking, who is this mother? This mother is not alone. 129 people will die from overdose today. Every one of them has a mother and a family they leave behind. My heart hurts for this mother. My words are of little comfort to her. If I could ease her pain, I would. I’m sorry doesn’t cover it. All I can do is stand beside her. I can get her a cup of tea and give her a shoulder to cry on. Don’t be surprised if I cry with her. I can support her, but I can’t stand in her shoes. If you know someone who has lost a family member to addiction, reach out to them. Talk about their loved one. Support them in their time of need. Share memories, tears and laughter. If you are worried about your addicted child or loved one, please call the number below. So who is this mother? This mother is anyone with an addicted child. If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 844-470-0410