A Mother's Journey Thru Grief

by Melanie Rowan
(Phoenix, Az)

My son Ryan at age 13 went to the Emergency room for an eye injury. He received vicodan. He liked it. He proceeded to find every opiate he could . His favorite was morphine. He then discovered Methadone. I thought I was dealing with a hateful teenager due to a divorce and hormones. About 7 years into it and breaking his door down , fights screaming at him, slapping him, tackling him, soap in his mouth and finally threatening him with jail I gave him ten minutes to tell me the truth. He proceeded to tell me he was buying methadone from a local dealer who went to the clinic and sold his methadone to buy heroin . I took him to a physician for help. I thought he was using the suboxone for this . He did for awhile and follow his treatment plan. He then kept experimenting. Ketamine, poppers, coke, dilaudid, morphine, bath salts, mushrooms who knows what else? I confronted him again in Dec 2011 and took him to rehab . He would not stay. HE promised to get clean. He did for two months. He then went deeper. I found a needle. He was doing heroin. He had a near death experience from some concoction. This did not scare him. We talked about him dying. April 12, 2012. I found him at 130p with a needle beside him . He had been dead for 12 hours. I was still screaming when the police arrived. His addiction caused me to file bankruptcy as I paid all of his medical bills out of pocket. I gave my house back as I could not live there. My 29 year old son and I moved. He was in the middle of finishing up his senior year at ASU finals no less. I have post traumatic stress syndrome. I would like to tell parents about a book and a support group for them if they have lost a child to overdose. Grasphelp.org. Grief Recovery after substance passing. There are parents all over the world. I have a friend In Iran who lost two boys to accidental overdose. The book is when a child dies from drugs. It is an easy read written by the parents who founded this group because drug overdose is a dirty subject. This book saved my life. Any parent that loses a child finds out there is a hell on earth for whatever reason they lost their child . We all joined a special club. My name is Melanie.
I am a Mother of a 23 year old Heroin addict. Please share this so that we can save someone. Please feel free to contact me. I am so sorry for your loss. The physical longing is so bad that I also wonder why I wake up each day. Thanks for reading my story. I have enclosed an article Journey thru grief. I hope it helps.

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Dec 17, 2013
My email
by: Melanie Rowan

If you need my support please contact me.

Sep 16, 2013
by: Melanie Rowan

Please feel free to look at my facebook page. There are several parents on there with me who have lost a child. May we someday find peace or less pain.

Sep 07, 2013
Thanks to all
by: Melanie Rowan

I wanted to just say thanks to all of you who wrote to me. August 31, was National Accidental Overdose Day. This occurs every year. My son Ryan's picture is on a poster along with a lot of other people who died from overdose. I also have a button that says I lost someone I love to overdose. God bless all of you.

Aug 22, 2013
Our Journey
by: Melanie Rowan

TO all of you who read my story. Thanks . I hope someday all of us find peace. I miss Ryan so much and wish his life would have been less painful. He suffered a lot. I am sure all of your loved ones did also. I am thankful you have joined me. I love the Beautiful Boy on You Tube.

Aug 19, 2013
some comfort
by: Jim Contopulos

We lost our 26 year old son, Nick, after a 13 year battle from mental illness and addiction. You are not alone in your grief.. as much as possible, I stand in solidarity with you and with the hundreds of thousands of others who live in the wake of this terrible and unrelenting disease.
In Nick's memory, I made a film for him and for the many "other Nicks".. It's posted on YouTube under Beautiful Boy..More Than An Addict.
Here is the link if it comes through.

My daughter wrote a song for those who are grieving the loss of a child. You can find it a vanessacontopulos.bandcamp.com. I hope and pray you will find comfort in this. For A Better Day

Aug 19, 2013
I am so sorry anonymous
by: Melanie

Hello, I am trying to answer all of you. First let me say that i admire you for admitting you are an addict. i do not begin to understand this . i do have to tell you that since ryan's death i have become much less judgemental. it sounds like you are recovered.i am proud of you. i do know life is hard and i do not know why some chose to go down one road and some go down another. but the road you travelled was a rough one. i am sorry if my answers to you seem scattered. i am out of town and am using a laptop that is crap. take care of yourself. it sounds to me like you are on the right road now. i am sorry about your losses. you are not alone,.

Aug 19, 2013
so sad dad
by: Melanie

dad, I want to say to you that you are one of the bravest people that i have ever talked to . My husband after I called him( he was an hour away) he thought drug addicts were disposable items, said do i need to come home? He came home the next day. he was not the father of my children. My kids dad was 5 days away on a job . he had strep throat, when i called him he jumped in his vehicle and left the job. he didn't even think of flying he was in such shock. I divorced my husband referenced above for that behavior and his comment ryan was his own worst enemy. I said bob he was a drug addict. Bob took xanax for 30 years so i said candyman or dr. same thing. anyhow i wanted to say to you i am so sorry that this happened to you and your wife. I am a Nurse and you are right it is like watching a long terminal illness drug addiction. Someone said to me it was his choice. I do not know if you read the book i mentioned. I believe that it is their choice at first. But i also think that if they are prone to addiction something turns on. They then become addicts. when i found out about the heroin i went crazy. i asked him why heroin? he said it feels like a warm blanket . I since his death have learned alot about drugs. More than i ever wanted to know. i read his narcotics anoymous book 12 step book. i wish he would have. his problem with that was that at the meetings he saw they all chain smoked and drank coffee. he felt they substituted one addiction for another. I admire you for posting on here and wanted to tell you that i am so sorry.We will get thru this. I actually have a good friend that i met that works one floor above me. she lost her daughter six weeks before i lost ryan. we cry together.

Aug 19, 2013
to anonymous
by: Melanie

I read your comments. April was recent and i am so sorry. i know how you feel . You may still be in shock. I go thru all the stages of grief at once sometimes. I went thru his withdrawl with him many times as I am sure you did. Please make sure you are eating and try to sleep if you can. I was a zombie for awhile. I am a Nurse and worked 4 12 hours shifts and moved etc to forget my grief for awhile. on Ryans 24 birthday i asked everyone to let a green balloon loose. I got messages from all over the world. it was so wonderful. People care about you and your pain. Try to take comfort in the fact that he is no longer suffering. They do suffer. The Police told me drug addicts do not suffer their families do. well i went thru his withdrawl and he suffered many times. i laid awake at night and would hear him vomiting. I then remember when he died thinking he is finally safe. I am sorry if this is scattered but i am in california and my laptop sucks.I just wanted to answer you and tell you that we will get you thru this and you are not alone. i know the pain is incredible. The physical longing for your child is so unbelievable that it is unbelievable. that makes sense right? i am still in denial ryan is gone sometimes. I have to avoid certain places in the grocery store where his favorite foods are. if you want to join his facebook page he is ryan putman and i will accept you. let me know. I promise you we will get thru this. Others have . You are not alone. please take care of yourself.

Aug 19, 2013
by: Melanie

Doreen, Thank so much for writing to me. I am searching for peace i guess now. will i ever find it? i do not know. I certainly stand humbled before god after losing ryan. He had the kindest hard of anyone I have ever known. The love we shared was so deep that When he did this i was so angry that i cleaned out his whole room the first week. My son Kevin had to write his obit. we didn't sleep for two weeks. when i went to the funeral home alone to see him as i had to see him once more i could not get out the parking lot. the funeral director had to come help me. Addiction is a terrible thing. I once asked Ryan why heroin? He told me it feels like a warm blanket. So what did it feel like without it? i put on my facebook page the phil collins song against all odds. he had a facebook page and i had all of his friends put things on there to help them. they post things on there as do i. i put baby pics on there the other day and cried while doing it. thanks for accompanying me on my journey all of you. Hopefully we will find solace together. what else is there?

Aug 19, 2013
A mothers journey
by: Melanie

Kate, I have learned alot since ryan died. I read his autopsy report. I wrote to an addiction specialist on the internet. Ryan died around 1am.I woke up around that time and got up and went into the kitchen. He had a desk lamp on. I did not check on him because he would get mad at me. I just wanted to let you know that from what i have learned it is common for them to die from polysubstance overdose. The addiction specialist wrote to me because i wanted to make sure that ryan did not suffer or call out to me. he told me that when they are messed up like that even if they realize they overdid it they do not care. so that made me feel better. I struggle with guilt, emptiness, sadness, love, anger , insomnia, I want to thank you for writing to me.

Aug 19, 2013
Journey thru grief
by: Melanie

Hello, This is Melanie . To those of you that posted thanks so much. i actually am in san diego right now. I had ryan cremated. He would not have wanted a service. we sprinkled is ashes at his favorite shooting range. His friends , dad , brother and I cried and i talked about him. I have a facebook page. Ryan Putman. If you would like to see his pics etc. I wear cremation jewelry . we shared a love of animals especially turtles . I wear his ashes around my neck in a silver turtle. There is a site called perfectmemorials.com there is cheap jewelry on there. I bought his friends all a necklace with a bullet and a cross on it as they were all gun collectors. I try to keep him close to me at all times. I am looking for peace in the future. I miss him so much sometimes well all the time that i go to bed to escape . I see a grief counselor and said to her last week that i realized i won't ever him again. she said do not go there. i said where else can i go? Thanks to all of you for writing to me. I just want you to know that we share a common bond and I am grateful for your comments. I also went thru a divorce after his death and moved across town. i lived in my area for 30 years but there is a sandbox he played in as a child. I had to move . i was walking one day and thought i saw him in the sandbox. I am so grateful for your comments. thanks and god bless to all of you.

Aug 16, 2013
A Mother's Journey Thru Grief
by: Doreen U.K.

Melanie I am so sorry for your loss of your precious son to drug addiction. This is a hard and painful subject because we are losing our young people at an alarming rate to drugs. We live in a drug culture world where little is done to help the addict and when there is help available it comes too late.
You tried so hard with your son. You shouldn't have had to go through this. If only the children/young adults could see what they do to their families they wouldn't believe the pain they leave behind. A pain that lasts a lifetime and forever. It robs families of quality of life. You are a brave mother. You are amazing to give details here for other parents so that they can be supported because this is a harsh and difficult journey of Grief. I am sorry for your loss.

Aug 16, 2013
by: Anonymous

Addiction is an awful thing. I have a son that I loved very much. He died in April of this year. Every minute I think of him. He always is on my mind. I want him back so bad. But he too had crossed that line. I wanted so bad to help him beat it, but now wished I had done more, or went in another direction. I go to compassionate friends for support, I need to talk to others who've gone thru this, because not everyone understands. I will also get the book. I read a lot about grief. Is so sad to lose a child. Mine outwardly looked healthy, he was college educated, a lot of my family didn't even know. The more I read the more I see that it affects so many. When I get it more together I will try to help others with this problem, however I can. Sorry for anyone else that has lost someone dear to them. Its just plain sad.

Aug 16, 2013
by: Kate

The loss of our child hurts no matter how it happens. I feel your pain through your words. I understand waking up everyday to the empty feeling where they should be! It is 9 months since I lost my son. He was a drinker. Occasionally he did cocaine, one night he mixed them and he died. That was all that was in his system. A third drug is created when they are mixed coaexthylene and the toxic combination took his life.
I am heartbroken,I miss him so much. I was sad to read your story. We share pain sorrow and loss on here and my heart goes out to you. The grief is not easy but we do learn to live with it,one struggling day at a time. Know you are not alone.
Words are never enough but I am sorry for your loss too.

Aug 16, 2013
Worst of both situations
by: SoSadDad

Hi, Melanie. I am so very sorry for the loss of your son Ryan. My wife and I have also experienced destruction bythe monster that is drug addiction. Both of our children, our adult daughters, were lost to the monster, Mel at 31 on 9/20/2009 and Jenn at 28 on 7/16/2011. Like parents of terminally ill children, we watched helplessly and hopelessly as our girls withered away. Then, like parents whose child died suddenly, one day we find them gone. We feared it for years, yet it was a hard slap in the face when it actually happened. Some take offense at being told "At least you have another child." Oh how I wish we could be told that now. We've been given two life sentences, without the possibility of parole. y wife visits GRASP accassionally, and even gave some thought to starting a chapter here. Another group which has helped me tremendously is The Copmpassionate Friends (www.compassionatefriends.org). It is run by bereaved parents. Again, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's hard to imagine what could hurt worse.

God bless you!

Aug 16, 2013
I am so sorry
by: Anonymous

Your story brought tears to my eyes. I too am an addict, but never have gone that far into depravity. My Mother buried her son, my brother because of addiction and a bullet to the head. I am so sorry. I wish I could hold you. You must, once they cross the line, let them go. I never been a Mom, but my two daughters Mother died when they were 5 and 11. She was an alcoholic. I am so sorry. I feel your pain just reading your letter.

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