For Mothers Who Have Lost Older Chidren

Dear Bea and Cynthia,
I lost my 31 year old son on 4/18/07, 5 months ago today. He had struggled with a terrible drug addiction problem for about 13 years. Approximately one week before his death, he finished a 3 month detox/rehab program and was doing beautifully. He had gained weight, he was happy again, he was involved with new friends he had met in rehab, they were going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings together, and he was playing rugby again?which he absoutely loved. Unfortunately, he met up with some old drug friends during that week and he used again. This time he overdosed. We found him unconscious on his bedroom floor. I?m a nurse, so I tried to perform CPR and I had my younger son call the paramedics. My husband and I got to the ER at the same time the ambulance did (it never hurried or turned on sirens). When they opened the ambulance doors, my son?s legs looked so blue. They worked on him in the ER for what seemed like an eternity and then told us he had passed away. I could not believe my ears (even though clinically, I know I knew they would say what they said). I walked into the ER room and closed his eyes and held his hand and cried and cried and cried and cried. They wouldn?t let me take the endo-trac tube, IV lines, etc out. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Though it?s been 5 months, everything I just described floods back frequently. When it does, it feels like it all happened just a few minutes ago. In fact, I had a complete melt down on the way to work today. Some days everything seems ok because I pretend he?s just gone somewhere. Most of the time, however, I feel sad even when I try to act upbeat for people around me. No one but my Compassionate Friends group or friends I know who have lost children understand. People seem to want to help but they don?t know what to do. My son?s birthday is coming up in 2 weeks and my husband will be out of town on a business trip. I?m not sure what I?ll do on that day. It will be hard. But everyday is hard. I have a friend in Compassionate Friends who says all you can do right now is keep trying to survive. I?ve found that is true. My faith in God is strong, my marriage is sound, I have wonderful friends/family, but this loss is so all-consumingly painful. Sometimes I go into my son?s room and just rest on his bed. Sometimes I look at pictures. Frequently, I go to his gravesite and tend to the grass, take new artificial flowers, and occasionally I take a live single white rose, which is what he gave me on the last Mother?s Day we had together. Sometimes I just cry. Sometimes I just hold my chest because it hurts like my heart is breaking. It?s very hard. I?m so sorry you both lost your sons, too.
Dear Judy,
We are so very sorry for your loss and know that there are just no words to heal the deep wounds of losing your son. Thank you for your story and for your compassion in reaching out to Bea and Cynthia. We are posting your letter and our response on the first page of The Grief Blog as well as in the comment section You can see it at Your letter will help many others who are also walking this path because they lost a child to addiction.
We are so glad that you found a group of The Compassionate Friends for comfort and support. We each need to know that we don?t have to walk this path alone.
We invite you to listen on Thursday mornings to the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart. You can find information about it and a link to it on the first pate of The Grief Blog. You might also find a number of past shows that can give you help and comfort at

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  • Bea says:

    Dear Judy and Cynthia
    Thank you so very much for sharing your heart-breaking story. We, too, go over the night our son died again and again. He was with an old “friend” who was so high that he wasn’t ableto let the EMts in. My daughter and our son’s wife were locked outside the building and the EMTs and police wouldn’t let them in. When they finally did, all they said to these two women was “sorry for your loss”. My husband had spent the day working side by side with our son and we decided to go away for a long week end, expecting our son and daughter in law to join us on Friday evening. The 2am phone call, the nightmarish ride home – it all seems too impossible to be true. We are still awaiting Medical Examiner’s reports and may follow up legally. Not that it will bring him back. We miss him so much – just to see his smile – he was our youngest and was always the funny one. I hope he knows how much he is loved and is missed.
    Our faith has been totally shaken, but our marriage and remaining family life is strong. Our friends have been amazing.
    I have melt downs daily- cry on waking and at falling asleep. Have not yet been to TCF – it was suggested I go in a few weeks.
    I will think of you all daily and keep you in my heart. Feel free to write again – I need all the help I can get.

  • Debbie Lee says:

    I lost my 20 year old son October 12, 2006 and I am so lost without him we did everything together .He was my best friend and my only child. The loss and desperation that I feel cannot be explained. There seems not to be any consoling or relief of the hole that I have in my heart. Bill was so happy his laughter and love of life was contagious, his smile lit a room. He never said a bad word about anyone or anything.My son now rests in the hands of Jesus, and lights the stars and moon at night. God must of needed a hero because he took my son. If anyone wants to share or help with this pain I will gladly listen. thankyou and God Bless Debbie Lee