Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Guest Post: Our Lou is back.

 I want to introduce you to my dear friend "Lou." I began blogging in 2007 and Lou was one of the first people I "met" here. Her input and compassion along with her own personal experiences, had a tremendous impact on me. She left our blogging community for awhile as she tried to navigate her way through the devastating loss of her sweet boy, Andrew. We have kept in touch through all of these years and she recently let me know that she was writing again. I asked her to please consider writing a guest post for my blog so that I could share my wonderful and brave friend with all of you... my faithful readers. Below is her contribution, but also please go and visit her new blog at: http://runawaykarma.wordpress.com/  
Much love to all of us mama's out here who love and support each other. 

I started blogging about Andrew’s addiction in 2003, calling myself brokenheartedmom. There were no news stories about the “heroin epidemic”, no legislation being passed to fund treatment, and I had never heard of naloxone. I felt isolated, stigmatized, and scared. Ten days after my first post, a lady named Pat left a comment. She was in Ohio, and her son was addicted to heroin. I stared at the screen and started sobbing. I was not alone.

From that first comment, to the next 9 years of blogging, I became invested in your stories, your children, and your journey. And you knew my Andrew. Our rapport, the back and forth comments sustained me. Remarkable, when you consider it.

Andrew died of a heroin and xanax overdose on Feb 6, 2013. He had just turned 30.
His father, his sister, and myself are shrouded in a new family dynamic. Someone is missing, there is a sense of incompleteness. I can just now write after 3 years. I have learned much about grief and it’s timeline. Sudden death and socially stigmatized death such as overdose or suicide complicates the process. Death of a loved one “out of order” makes it more difficult still, especially for siblings.

I cannot stress how important the small (and large) gestures of sympathy and support meant to us after Andrew’s death. The landscape company Andrew worked for planted a tree in our yard. A woman I didn’t know, whose son committed suicide the year before, came to the funeral. A mother who I knew only from the neighborhood, had lost her 33 year old daughter to colon cancer the previous month. She hugged me at the funeral home, and said “we both lost our children to a disease.” Annette sent me a necklace of a bird flying out of an opened cage. It is draped over the box that holds my son’s ashes.

When you hear of a family who has lost a loved one to addiction please reach out. Go to the funeral home if you can. Send a card, an email, give a hug or an “I’m sorry” at the grocery store even if you don’t know know us well. Don’t ever believe it won’t make a difference, or that you will make me uncomfortable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Supporting the families left behind helps overcome stigma and and makes us all braver in telling our stories.

Andrew was loved and supported in life, remembered and missed in death. Our family is closer now, and more grateful. My daughter and family moved back to Michigan. We see each other every weekend, and my little Ava (now 4) sleeps over at grammy and grammys’ often. Andrew would be so happy.

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Birdie said...

Thank you for this post.

My cousin, whom I had not seen in years, died in 2013 and nobody in the family talked about it. There was no service. Just silence. My heart ached for his parents. Both passed away the following year. Of broken hearts? Maybe. When he died his sister said I was the only family member that send a card. I was stunned. Who doesn't send a card?

Anyway, I am rambling. Thank you for the reminder of the preciousness of all life and that this disease is insidious. We need more love.

notmyboy said...

Oh Lou, I am so very sorry for your loss. I think of you often. I had no idea you lost your precious boy to this horrible disease. I am so glad to see you back writing again. {hugs} to you and your family. ~lori

Anonymous said...

Lou, I had started reading your blog and had learned so much from your experiences, when suddenly you stopped writing. At the time, I had no real understanding about why you stopped. I am so very sorry about the loss of your son. Please accept my condolences.


hipswimmermum said...

Dear Holly and Annette,
I am so sincerely sorry that you lost your son to the disease of addiction. Please accept my heartfelt condolences and a long, warm 'cyber hug'.
I too have a son named Andrew who battles the disease of addiction and it was hard reading your post but I know I need to face the reality that sits just behind my shoulder. I know it could happen and I need to acknowledge this to myself but it is so painful.
I thank you so much for sharing your deeply personal story and I thank you Annette too for your blog /posts. It is amazing how powerfully Jesus works in me as I read them.

I'm with you in spirit, Holly and Annette,and all of you who read this blog.

With heartfelt prayers and love
Perth, Western Australia.

beachteacher said...

I am so terribly sad to learn of the loss of your Andrew. Your blog was one I read every word of back when I was a desperate mom of a drug addict son seeking understanding & comfort. Reading of your loss was like a punch in the stomach tonight. Back in 2007 & beyond-- you helped sustain me. God bless you & your family.

Liz said...

I am so so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son.