Don't grieve alone; 14,000 members and growing
We lost our oldest son, Justin on 5/1/17. He was 31 yrs old. He was a truck driver and they say he died of an accidental overdose. He had a past problem with drugs but was living with us after his divorce and doing well for years. I can still hear the sounds and words of that night the police knocked on our door over and over in my head ("We're very sorry to tell you your son is deceased"). We had been unable to reach Justin for a few days by phone but we thought the phone was dead or something like that was the reason. It seems he died in his truck in Florida, alone at a rest area and was not found for 3 days. His face was not even recognizable when they found him due to the heat so he had to be cremated before coming back to Pennsylvania for his funeral. He had his poor golden retriever in the truck with him when he died but the animal rescue people in Fla. cared for the dog and now we have her. The dog was his love but she is a handful and we are torn as to keeping her or not. I am 64 and my wife 60 and we find it hard to manage the pet but she was his daily companion on the road.. We have a younger son, Josh(24) who is taking it very hard. They were best friends and shared all the nonsense and jokes their parents didn’t understand. He does not come around much now as I feel we only make him sad. My wife is struggling with headaches and I try to keep things light but when I’m alone I just spend my time crying. I can’t tell her how I feel as she can’t even handle how she feels. People say things will get better but I wonder. We try to keep busy but have not even been able to go through and remove Justin’s things from our basement where he lived. I question over and over not having called him the day he died (as he often slept during the day and drove truck at night) or sending him a text. Would it have made any difference in what he did that day?. My wife and I are Christians but now even considering going to a medium to contact our son and see what happened that day. I’m sorry for taking up all this space but..well you all know..Thank you anyone for reading and I now share in all your losses as well and know the pain.
Clem, There are no words that could assuage the pain you're going through. If there were I would certainly offer them to you.Your son sounds like he was a terrific guy and had to deal with more than he should have with the addiction as well as a divorce. Both of those are very emotional things to have to go through. I also was a heroin addict, and because of that addiction I wasted twenty years of my life in a state prison and was released in 2006. Time I can never get back. I had been married and just had a young daughter and the day I was sentenced my wife and daughter were in the court room and I can still hear my wife say that everything was going to be okay. Three days after that sentencing I received my divorce papers through the bars of my cell and then I tired to commit suicide, but failed. So I really do understand the emotional toll a divorce can cause and I'm sure your son felt that way also. Although I had some idea of the pain I had caused my parents and loved ones, I never knew just how much, especially to my Mom. During those years in prison I had more than enough time to try and gain some insight into why in the world would I hurt those I loved most? Once I was no longer "numb", the emotions I didn't feel when I was "numb" came roaring back like a freight train and it was the most painful thing I have ever felt. Regardless of how hard you try you'll never be able to understand the reasons why your son relapsed. You may come close, but it's nearly impossible to understand an addict's brain and thought processes. I can't even understand why I did the things I did. During my time in prison one of the things I wanted to accomplish once I got out was to try and do something that would make not only my Mom, but my Dad also, proud of me. I never got that chance. My first visit to see my Mom after being released, I walked in the door and she had no idea who I was! My Mom died of Alzheimer's in 2008 and now my Dad is in the latter stages of the same disease. Reading your post it was obvious that you were blaming yourself for not doing some of the things you felt you had to do. Calling him that day I seriously doubt would have made a difference. I've learned that before I relapsed(and I did many times) it wasn't just a spur of the moment thing. My decision to use again was already in the works days before I picked up that drug. Not having had the pleasure of meeting your son, I'm sure it was the same way for him also, so calling him that day wouldn't have changed anything. It wasn't until my Mom passed away did I learn just how much I had hurt her because of my addiction. My Dad had told me that she would often cry at night, blaming herself and wondering what she could have done to prevent me from becoming addicted. Maybe you and your wife are feeling that same way? Not letting your wife know just how you're feeling I believe is a mistake. I can only imagine that letting each other know how you feel would have to be beneficial. I would imagine going through all the pain and heartache your going through now would be a lot easier together. Clem I'm not a psychologist all I can do is try and let you know how it was for me and my family and pray that it helps you. Have you ever considered going to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting for the parents of an addict? It may help both of you in understanding things a little clearer. I don't know if this is allowed here on this site, but I'm going to give you my phone number and if I can be of anymore help to you or if you just want to talk please call me!! God Bless! (717)953-6804
Thank you so much for reading and your thoughtful reply. You clearly have been through many struggles as well. You put some things in a different light for me to consider. I am sorry for your losses and I will think about all you've said. Thanks again and God bless you too.
Clem, I am so sorry for your loss of your dear son. I haven't lost a child but I felt compelled to reply to this post. After witnessing the devastation of the parents who lose children to overdose, I would not wish that on anyone. I lost my best friend and really only true friend to an overdose. on may 27th 2017, he was found dead in his bed that morning. We both struggled with drug addiction, and it really is a painful and difficult illness to endure. Now I must endure it alone. No one can replace the type of relationship we had. I couldn't reach him for several days, and regret not going to his house to look for him sooner. I really hope you are feeling at least a little bit better, and I hope that you find peace in your grief journey, or as much peace as can be found.
I too am a Christian, and I am trying to turn to God in these difficult times. My friend was not a Christian. It makes me feel so sad to think I may not be reunited with him ever. I too have considered going to a medium, or having a séance or, something like that. I just want to know that he is okay, and where he went, and if I will see him again.
SO sorry for your family's loss. i will be keeping you in my prayers.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply to my post. I am so sorry to hear about your loss as well. I struggle with the same feelings and regret of not calling our son the day he died but nothing can change that now. We are struggling to move on now. I know grief will never end but we are trying to now live a life in this new world .. a world without our son's presence. I hope you find your way in that new world of yours too. I will keep you in prayer.