Last year I wrote about my son’s ongoing battle with addiction. In spite of several previous successes in overcoming his demons, he was struggling to maintain his sobriety during the isolation of lockdown. He had suffered two serious relapses but was confident that once he could access his support groups again and finally return to working on site, he would be able to get back on track. Sadly, this was not to be. He died suddenly earlier this year – in his own home, alone and undiscovered for almost a week. He was 41 years of age.
The shock to my family and the overwhelming sense of despair at his passing has been devastating. To add to my feelings of anguish, I had not spoken to him for several days. I was angry at his behaviour, which had been particularly challenging in the months leading up to his death. Although I know in my heart that his self-destructive life style would eventually, and almost certainly, end in tragedy, I continue to wrestle with the thought that maybe, had I contacted him sooner, he could have been saved.
I have been comforted by the dozens of messages, cards and letters received from friends and acquaintances, many of whom were strangers to me, but known to my son. Especially appreciated was the professional assistance and advice he willingly gave to his work colleagues and the encouragement he offered to his peers in AA. Whilst I am proud of the part he played in motivating other addicts, I find it sadly poignant and ironic that in the end, his lack of self-belief prevented him from achieving his desire to ‘live sober’.
It is said that ‘time is a great healer’ but for now my family’s grief is still raw. My son’s death has left a huge void in our lives but I know we must look to the future, however daunting that may seem.
I have much loved granddaughters and a recently born, long awaited great nephew, whose unexpected arrival has been a blessing to us all. I look forward to seeing these children grow up into happy and healthy adults.
I hope my son realised how much he was loved and that everyone did their very best, over many years, to support him through his dreadful addiction. Throughout these difficult months, I have continued to receive love, friendship and understanding from Family’s Out Loud members, and for that I am, as always, truly grateful.