Not too long ago someone said to me, “I would have you speak but we decided on a more uplifting story–someone in recovery.”
I think it’s great to feature someone else’s inspiring story of recovery. I applaud that and I enjoy those stories, too. But not at the expense of implying that my family’s story about Charles is too ugly to share. That it’s unworthy. I never leave an audience with no hope even though I lost the most precious thing in the world to me.
No one fights harder for change than those of us who’ve lost our child or children. No one is more relentless, more determined, more passionate.
My story has warts. We were imperfect as parents. We did some things right. We did some things wrong.
Parents of those in recovery were also imperfect. They did things right. They did things wrong. And their outcome was different.
They know that one relapse could mean then end. That any day their fate could change and they’ve learned to appreciate what they have right now. They are aware of how fortunate they are. And I’m so thankful.
Every loss by suicide. Every loss from substance use disorder is painful to me. Same with all the other grieving mothers and fathers.
We don’t want this to happen to anyone else. We don’t want anyone else to join our ranks. The club is big enough already. And we’ll do anything to prevent it which includes telling our story–to keep it real so others can learn. Even if these stories are painful to tell. And even if they’re not pretty.