by Vasiliki Canotas
Dear Anne Moss,
I was so sad for him and for you.
But I am even sadder today for his and your loss because of ours: we lost Thomas to a heroin overdose on December 9, 2017.
Only now do I understand your grief.
Tom was 23 and living in a sober house in St Paul, MN. He had made a lot of progress with both his mental health (bipolar disorder) and his addiction.
We are all crushed – my husband Mark and daughter Amelia and son Matthew.
I find your blog entries so touching and so real, but feel too raw to read too many. I hope and pray that this pain softens. I am so very impressed by your passion and work. Reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction is crucial – but also overwhelming. There is so much I’d like to say and share, but it’s still such an effort. Thank you for your efforts.
Happy Birthday to sweet Charles. Thomas’ birthday is also in April, 4/14/94. He would have been 24. It was a painful day.
We hoped and tried so hard – for him to get to 25 or 26 when his brain might have further developed. He was maturing — making so much progress. He had just been accepted to Augsburg University in Minneapolis for January 2018 complete with an $18,000 merit scholarship.
Ironically, the letter arrived on the day of his funeral. Life can be so cruel. If only he had had the opportunity to see his acceptance letter. The merit scholarship would have made him so very proud.
We have the same debate as you about his ashes.
Thomas’ ashes remain at the funeral home, but we will be asked to bring them home in the next month or so. I think about taking them with me when I am buried or burying them at a cemetery near our beach house about an hour east because he loved the ocean and our time spent there–which was one of the few spots which was relatively crisis-free.
But in the meantime, I don’t know what to do or where to place them when they are here at home. It’s exhausting to live with this grief each day and to dread so many things in the future. I do know that I don’t want to spread them, for lots of rational and irrational reasons.
I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to reply to your email – and I don’t want to add to your obligations, but thank you for listening, Anne… I am trying to find someone in this area I feel comfortable discussing these things with. We know others who have lost their children to drugs/ alcohol/ mental illness (and, in fact, run a local grief group (G.R.A.S.P.)) but not sure I’m ready for a group.