I started this post as a reply to Dave’s post, “I loved my daughter to death.” But it became so long that I felt like I was hijacking his post and making it about me.
Dave, I have done my fair share of enabling with my 25 year old AS. He passed away 4 weeks ago today. I have also done my share of letting go. When that would happen, he would enter treatment because he had no where else to go. Not a great reason to go, but who knows what could happen? Every time I would get my hopes up and think, "maybe this is the time." He entered treatment on his own 8 weeks ago, and seemed happy and positive and ready. He had arranged for a half-way house, IOP, a sponsor. He seemed motivated. Four weeks ago when 3 police officers walked up to my home with a chaplain, I knew the moment I saw them that he had finally his battle with addiction. A pleasant evening on the patio ended as a nightmare from which I have yet to wake up.
I am still in shock. Still expect to see him at my door, or get a phone message. I have messages from his time in treatment...Telling me how much he loves me, how different it will be, making plans for the future. For the first time in a while I looked forward to getting his calls. We spoke every day the four weeks he was in rehab. Five days out of rehab he overdosed.
Reading the autopsy report yesterday was mind numbing…to hear your child described in such clinical terms. He was my child! He overdosed on a combination of hydrocodone and xanax, both were at lethal levels. He never even had hydrocodone as a DOC. It was always the Xanax, the Suboxone, clonipin, dorabinol, a bout with heroin. The last two years had been mostly prescriptions which he could rationalize somehow. He filled 5 active prescriptions when he got out. Hydrocodone was not one of them. The scrips were not from the rehab but from previous doctors. I don't know how he paid. I had given him $10 when I dropped him off at the start of his treatment. He had a phone card so he could call. That was it. He was staying with a woman about 10 years older that he had in rehab. Just for a few days prior to going to the halfway house, “waiting on a spot.” Not sure if that was true. She was the one who found him dead on the couch downstairs. I want to get his possessions back, the bible and cross he asked me to send him in particular, “to remind him to pray everyday he said.” She won’t answer my texts or my calls.
To add insult to injury, someone filled one of his prescriptions last week. He's been dead 4 weeks! He was a loving child, full of energy and life, a gifted athlete who just got in so deep and couldn't seem to get out. I believe in my heart that he really wanted to change. He has never been abusive but he has run the gamut of being arrested, being homeless at times, manipulating, stealing, you name it. Sometimes I replay those voice mails from rehab and it really feels like he is still here. I know that is probably not good but sometimes I just need to hear his voice.
I have been grieving the loss of my "real son" for 8 years. At least I thought I had. But the actual loss is something different entirely. I can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that I will never see him again. Wonder what I could have done, what I could have said in some of those last conversations we had, looking for clues in those voice mails that things were not really as good as they seemed.
Dave your posts have given me strength and courage. I am afraid of what the future holds. Dealing with the holidays, mother's day is right around the corner, my birthday after that. Sometimes it is just too overwhelming to think about. I came back to work a week after his death. I could lay in bed all day some days, but I force myself to get up and go to work. Do people think I am not heart broken because I came back so soon? Do they look at me and talk about my loss? Do they think it is any less painful because it was addiction, which some do not believe is a disease? I am glad he is not suffering any more but why couldn't he have been one of the success stories? Sorry for the rambling. My sadness permeates every part of my being right now.