Lost My Sweet Boy (22) to Drug OD...Feelings of Guilt
I lost my 22yr old son to a heroin overdose on Sept. 26, 2012...He was an experienced drug user and we don't know if he got some bad gear, underestimated his dosage, or what...I suppose it doesn't really matter at this point.
We had been battling this with him for almost 8yrs,( although we believe he'd only started injecting perhaps 5yrs ago...He'd had at least 5, maybe 6 ( we lost count), OD's before this one with 1 being especially bad, in that they'd "lost" him, but did get him back...I thought that would be his "bottom", but it wasn't...I think he thought he was like a cat with 9 lives...We'd also been practicing a "semi" form of tough love with him for the past 18 months...He'd stolen from us time and again and there was always one problem leading to another...We didn't feel he was trying to help himself,so we put him out of the house, but at the same time made sure he had food and a place to sleep.
The night he died I didn't even know he was in his old bedroom, ( his dad had slipped him in the night before because he said had no place to stay)...So for me the initial shock of finding him dead in his old room while I'd walked past the closed door all day/evening never suspecting, was a shock...Our best guess is that he'd been gone 3-4hrs before we found him...But, while I say finding him was a shock, the situation itself really wasn't...We knew how he was living and we'd talked about the possibility of losing him this way several times over the years...(What I can say now though is that even if you've thought you've half-prepared yourself for something like this the reality is much different)...All the "bad" times start to recede to the background and you find yourself mourning the child you use to have.
I'm sad all the time...Sad for the fact we failed to find a way to help him...Sad for the future that could have been...Sad for the little boy I lost...Sad for the young man, who when he was straight, was wonderful...Sad for my "coolness" towards him the few months prior to his death, etc...But, I don't have that overwhelming grief that I read other parents writing about...I know I loved my child as much as any other mother could, but I almost feel as though I began grieving his loss well before he died...I felt we'd begun to lose him several years back and over this past summer had felt he was slipping even more...There was a moment, before his body had even been removed from the house, where I actually thought FINALLY, he's at peace...And after the initial shock of finding him, that was almost my next thought...That finally this sweet sweet boy who just couldn't seem to find himself a way out of the dark place he was in, was in a much better place...That he was now truly at peace.
I read about "anger" being part of the grieving process, but I haven't been angry at all...My anger at him and the situation came months/years back before he died...Don't get me wrong, I've had lots of emotions in this past month and I miss him everyday...( We've already had one family event since his death and it certainly wasn't the same)...But, part of me thinks that God knew he was weary, that we were weary, and said it's time...And who am I to question that??
If someone would say to me you can have him back, but your lives ( and his) will be exactly what they have been for the past 5yrs, BUT at the end of those 5yrs, ( 10yrs, 15yrs., whatever), you're going to have your son back, healthy, happy, productive, etc., I'd gladly do it again...But, to say we could have him back the way he was and we would continue to watch him in this downward spiral, I can't say that I would want that...And that thought makes me feel very guilty sometimes...What kind of mother wouldn't want her dead child back regardless??...I just don't know.
I realize losing a child under the circumstances that I did is different than losing a child to an accident, homicide, illness, etc...My son had a hand in his own death...But, have any of you who have lost a child under similar circumstances had similar thoughts and feelings??