This is my journal entry from March of the year my son died. It’s easy to see that I was in the anger stage of grief.
I have to get this out of my brain and maybe it will help but I doubt it. I see that sometimes the people I’m trying to protect catch a glimpse of the vacancy in my heart. I was sitting and staring, waiting at the grocery store today. A friend happened by and I saw in her face that she knew. She asked if I was doing “OK.” I put on my smile, shrugged and said I was. It makes them feel better, doesn’t it? And God knows I don’t want anyone to feel like this. But I don’t believe they can. And I don’t blame them. I am his mom and it has to be different for me. I think “why couldn’t you listen to me, Duane? You thought you could control it. You thought you were invincible and yet I know you sometimes said you thought you were going to die young. So you knew, didn’t you? You knew how dangerous it was and you just kept on doing it. And it makes me so angry. Angry at you because you wouldn’t stop. Angry at me that I didn‘t figure out some way to get you to stop. I think of how much you loved me when you were a little guy, how you wanted to marry me. I think of how even when you were a man and you got hurt they told me that you cried for Mommy. We were that close. But you pushed me away and always made everything that was going wrong in your life my fault. I see the bag from the hospital with that tag on it still that has your name and the date … the date you died and the knife digs into my heart again. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t think anyone knows how to. I don’t believe that there’s anything or anyone that can help me get over this. And I don’t want to get over it. I refuse to be comforted, as the scriptures say. How am I supposed to just go on like nothing is wrong? I see your pictures and your sweet smile and I say, “Oh, Duane.” I have the pillow in the car still. You used it just two weeks before you left me. You had the flu, remember? Or was it really from the heroin? And you laid in my car as I ran errands. It still smells like your stinky self, baby. I think of your long hair and how I brushed it back with my hand when I said good bye to your lifeless body in the emergency room. What a perfect color it was and how I had helped make your beautiful self. And I wonder what good it did … all those years of raising you to be a “contributing member of society” when it all turned out so wrong in the end and you chose that life that you did. And I wish it was different. But it’s not. And it won’t be and there’s nothing I can change now and there’s nothing you can change now. I miss you so much.
Cassie writes about losing her son, Duane to his Heroin Addiction on the blog, Duane’s Song dedicated to his memory. It is her hope that by sharing the learnings from her loss she will help another parent or addict avoid her son’s fate.