Into each life some rain must fall
But too much is falling in mine
Into each heart some tears must fall
But some day the sun will shine
Some folks can lose the blues in their hearts
But when I think of you another shower starts
If you’re a Baby Boomer or already a bit older as I am, you may recognize those lyrics from a song by Ella Fitzgerald and The Ink Spots.
Although written as a torch song of sorts, the words can apply to any of us, for any loss that we’ve experienced. For me, the song speaks to my personal loss of my son.
On December 2, 2002, at 1:15 in the morning, we received THE PHONE CALL. That phone call that every parent dreads; the call that tells you that your life as you know it is now over. You will never be the same. There is now a huge black hole in your heart surrounded by enough muscle and tissue to keep you breathing and functioning to a certain degree but that’s about it.
You go by the motions. Everything you do now is done on autopilot; getting out of bed, dressing, perhaps taking care of other family members, ultimately returning to work. You have no desire to do any of these things. You just want to stay in bed, in the fetal position, lights out, with no contact with the outside world, the so-called normal world.
Your world is no longer normal, why should anyone else’s be? Why should we have to interact with them? Why should we have to look at their smiling, happy faces – smiles that once adorned our own faces – now replaced by such a sad countenance that nobody wants to look at us?
Who can blame them? Nobody wants to be around sadness and despair. After all, if we get too close, the same thing may happen to us. We may become the person who nobody wants to be near. Yes, we may be the one who lost a child. That thought is so extremely, so incomprehensible that we try to avoid all contact with anyone who has suffered this most egregious of happenstances.
Our children die from a variety of causes; illness, accidents, suicide, and homicide. When you get right down to it, it doesn’t matter that much how our child died, although some situations do seem sadder, but the bottom line is the same – our child is dead. They are gone from our lives. All we have are our memories. As Cicero said – The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.
One particular illness, a rampant disease truly, a proven brain disease that is killing our children by the thousands each year is Addiction; drugs and alcohol. In some places death from drugs supersedes death by vehicular accidents, a major killer of kids.
Heroin and cocaine deaths have now been supplanted by deaths from prescription pills. Yes, the meds we keep in our medicine cabinet for authentic purposes are being stolen by our kids who use them not for medicinal purposes but to get high.
It is my hope that everyone with children or grandchildren reading this will take notice. Keep your prescriptions in a safe place where you know they can’t be accessed by others. Moms and grandmoms , don’t leave your purse lying around if you have your prescriptions in it.
already if your child has never shown any inclination to do drugs, you nevertheless need to be on complete alert. This is not the world of yesteryear. This is a new world and unfortunately it’s saturated with drugs and amazingly easy accessibility to them. All it takes is that one time for them to satisfy their curiosity, to be coerced into taking your drugs by their friends. Don’t be caught looking at the pills in your prescription pill bottle and thinking ‘hmmm, I could swear I had X amount of pills left’ and then shaking your head thinking you must have miscounted. Always remember this mantra: Good kids do drugs too.
Some startling statistics from 2008 from PATS (Partnership Attitude Tracking Study) show that in 2008, 16% of 12th graders had tried crack/cocaine, 7% had tried heroin and a whopping 27% had tried Rx drugs without a prescription. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America 8 million American adolescents and young adults need treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and 9 out of 10 are not getting the treatment they need. however our government has drastically cut drug programs in our schools. Write your state representatives and urge them to put these programs back in school where they’re desperately needed.
But we can’t depend on the government alone. We, as parents, must take this tiger by the tail and subdue it.
My son was a paramedic and an RN who had the world by the tail. One mistake that he made, doing a line of cocaine given to him by a friend on his 17th birthday, followed him for the next 14 years until death put him out of his misery. Sadly, ours endures.
I urge everyone who reads this to understand that there is no guarantee of the perfect family, the perfect child who would never do drugs. The “not my child’ families may find themselves in for a rude awakening one day when they discover their beloved child is indeed doing drugs.
Learn all you can about drugs and addiction because you never know when this scourge may affect you and yours.
For more information, visit www.drugfree.org. This is a parent-oriented resource site.
Tell your kids – Doing drugs is easy – Quitting drugs is hard. Quite often the only cure for drug addiction – is death. Something for them… and you, to think about!