I first heard this quote from my friend Karla Helbert, LPC. Because when I lost a child to suicide and drugs, I lost friends, too.
Charles suffered from depression, an addiction to heroin and killed himself while going through withdrawal. The method left no question. This cause of death didn’t scream, “Mother of the year.” And what’s more, it didn’t motivate people to seek me out to engage in conversation either. In fact, it was obvious some avoided me altogether. You can’ miss someone scurrying away from you at the grocery to avoid running in to you.
After his death, the house was filled with people, the church filled with family and friends. Thank God because I would not have made it through that first week without a packed house.
But there were friends missing, too. People I expected to be there and were noticeably absent. And I’ve not heard from them since. One or two sent an email with a picture but never reached on in any way other than that.
It’s like they vanished from the planet.
Then there was this group of people who I knew but all of a sudden were front and center in my life offering their unwavering support. They knew to swoop in and surround me. How did they know to do that? And why?
They just did and I’m grateful.
And then there are dedicated followers of this blog who have stuck with me since it started promoting and sharing it with others who need it. Steadfast and loyal, they have provided unflinching support through all my ups and downs. The people who follow this blog also share these posts.
I never, ever thought anyone would share posts about addiction, grief, suicide, mental illness on their Facebook and LinkedIn pages and more. But hundreds of thousands have done just that.
Had you asked me before Charles died who would be there and who would not have, I could not have told you. Or if I did, I would have been completely wrong. Of course my best childhood friend Martha has stuck with me through all of this. So has my family and my book club friends.
I don’t take it personally that a few have dismissed me and erased my name from their contact list. I think it’s sad that some find it so difficult or awkward to reach out. It makes me a little bit sad. But I’m not angry or resentful.
Because it’s not about me. It’s about them. At a certain point, I just have to accept change than I don’t have the power to alter and be grateful for the amazing support I have now.