I spent yesterday in the hospital with my son, who had overdosed on heroin. I’d found him that morning unconscious on the bathroom floor. I can’t tell you what it felt like to see him like that, a gray shadow of himself, limp, seemingly lifeless.
He has recovered. Physically, at least. But spiritually, mentally? I don’t know yet.
I wrote about him here, My Wild Child, less than a year ago, when I thought he’d finally made it. He’d been drug-free, working two jobs, happy, healthy, for over a year. He was in love with a beautiful woman, they had a new baby girl they adored, they were planning to marry. He was an attentive, tender, sweet father who was his daughter’s main caretaker while her mother worked days, he nights.
I was ecstatic with joy. My daughter had just married, and now my son, whom I had grieved over for years and years, had finally made it to the other side of his addiction and was living the life I had always dreamed for him. All my faith and tears and unconditional love and support, my hopes and prayers, had paid off it seemed. Finally. At long last. What joy.
I knew even while I was writing his story that there was an urgency to get it down now, quick, quick, before the bubble burst. I wanted so badly to be able to write this tale of survival and triumph, but deep in my heart where terror still taunted I was so afraid that something might happen to shatter it all. Quick, quick. Write it now. Now.
I don’t know what the answer is. For him. For me.
But what is the answer for the thousands who died in the Philippines from that recent hurricane? For the marines killed at Camp Pendleton last week during a routine demolition exercise? For the young woman shot in the face when seeking help after her car broke down?
At the hospital I talked for a long time with a sympathetic nurse who was going through similar trials with her own heroin-addicted son.
“He’s smart and good-looking, just like your son,” she said, shaking her head.
Why him? was the implication. Why our sons?
There is no answer maybe. But we keep hoping, we mothers. Between the rage, and fear, and tears, and despair. We keep hoping.
At least my son is still alive. For now. I have that. I have that.
- State lawmaker whose daughter battles heroin addiction wants to save others (wisn.com)
- ‘The Face Of Heroin Has Changed,’ Family Warns After Losing Son, 19 (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
- The Addiction Puzzle: An Overdose Lifeline (bu.edu)