On Sunday I attended the memorial for my daughter’s former classmate.

It was brutal.

I stood on the line with my friend S, who is also the Mom of my daughter’s best friend, and K, my daughter’s other bestie and former classmate. We stood and hugged people that we haven’t seen in years, and cried and shook our heads because we just didn’t know what to say.

When I got to the Mom, a Mom I sat next to at many a school event, a Mom who is funny and smart and sweet and lovely, I couldn’t actually say anything. I just hugged her.

What do you say to a woman who just lost her son?

The event was surreal- all these parents who my only relationship with was through our children. I am bad at small talk under the best of circumstances and this was the worst of circumstances. What do you say to people? I couldn’t think of anything that merited the situation…how do we ask about one another’s children when someone has just lost their child?

Of course some of my daughter’s classmates were there, the ones who go to college close by or who are still hanging around the neighborhood. To look into their faces…to see the pain…to know that they have not quite grasped this situation…

Because really, is there a way to understood this brutal scenario? I can’t make sense of it… How is a twenty year old supposed to understand?

One of the Dad’s said to me- “I hope this is a wake up call to some of them.” and while I scoffed at the inappropriateness of whispering this in my ear, all I could think was that he was right…

Some of the kids were getting high outside the funeral home…

And I cried a little bit for the lost souls that can’t see what is right in front of them, and I am one of those souls because I just do not know what we do, how we combat the crisis of reliance on substances to get us through the day…

When will we learn?

There is a Mom and a Dad and a brother and three grandparents who only have memories…

There are kids who have stories and anecdotes and snap chat pics…

But we all lost a person to substance abuse…

And I’m afraid of how many more we will lose.

Let’s fight this together.

Let’s save our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters.

58 thoughts on “Memorial

  1. My mom told me years ago, she learned her lesson in a receiving line @ a funeral for a young person. Said some short well meaning phrase to the mother. Mom got both barrels from the grieving mother. Never again. Best to do exactly what you did..hug, keep it zipped. I’m watching one of my adult (married) daughters slowing going down a path that grieves my heart as her dad… She already knows what I think, just like the young man you lost…it sucks to love someone and watch them self destruct right in front of you.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The experience, attending a funeral, in itself is enough lesson, in my view, for the other kids. They don’t need a lecture from anyone.

    The mom knows there aren’t words. Emotional support now, and check-in later, is what counts.

    This is the second blog in a week where I read of a young person dying from drugs… It was reported by the aunt of the boy, the sister of the mom.

    I’m sorry for your and your daughter’s loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And we need to stop enabling it–us as individuals, our government, and our society. This is truly a crisis that we are ignoring until it hits us in the face on a personal level. Less this sound self-righteous, I am examining myself right now. What have I done to intervene in this crisis?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. All I’ve done is voice that I do not approve of using substances to take the edge off, told my daughter in no certain terms would I let drug use slide, stated that there is no way we should legalize recreational drugs because more often than not they’re a gateway, and stopped hanging out with people who vape. But yes…I don’t know what my next step is

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think you have done all you can as a parent, but I would add to your list the positive things you have done with your daughter. You have supported her in becoming an independent, responsible, and caring young lady with high standards and goals for herself. You have listened to her, given her age appropriate supervision and freedom. That should go a long way to keeping her away from drugs. It doesn’t mean that every child who does drugs had bad parents. It does mean that you have to invest of yourself in your child as one more level of protection. And pray. I too am concerned about the gateway drugs, and I wonder whose pocketbook is behind the idea that drugs are liberal and cool and that we need them to take the edge off so we can tolerate life.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. We lost my brother-in-law a year ago to the same thing. His son, my 27 year old nephew, has followed in his footsteps. It’s terrible to see that despite losing his dad, the unwillingness to seek help before it’s too late for him. You feel helpless when the person isn’t willing to fight for their own lives. I am sorry you all had to experience this. Prayers for the family and friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my. What could be worse for a parent? I commend you for being there and paying your respects. Sometimes just being there is all you can do. There is no easy way to deal with such a senseless loss. The death will indeed affect some of the young people there and have an impact. On others, sadly it won’t. We cannot control everything.
    As parents we feel like it’s our job to make sure we keep our kids safe. Sadly, we can’t always do that. The helplessness that mother is going through has got to be overwhelming.

    I remember going to the funeral of one of my colleagues. She lost her son. It was the saddest event I’ve ever been to. I had to wear sunglasses through the service because I couldn’t stop crying. Parents aren’t supposed to outlive their children. And yet my teaching colleague sat stoically and softly smiled throughout the. Service . She was amazing. I AM a talker but didn’t say more than “ I am so sorry. I’m here for you, always. “ And I hugged her.

    All I could offer was my support. Because what else could I possibly do? She was living a mother’s worst nightmare.

    “There by the grace of G-d go I.” Parenting is a crapshoot. We do the best we can. And sometimes it’s not enough. I’m so sorry for the loss of that child. It’s heartbreaking. But, you were supportive being there. Perhaps call the mom every now and then to check on her. It will help her heal.
    Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It could happen to anyone and I don’t know if people get that. Addiction doesn’t discriminate….it doesn’t see color or gender or socioeconomic status…


  5. There are no words … really, there just isn’t. You did the best thing by hugging and just being there showed your support. Later there will be a chance for words, but right now … just tears . I am so sorry! I NEVER want to be in that Mom’s shoes, losing my kids, NO!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can imagine your pain and especially the family’s. My daughter flew to TX for her friend’s service. His sister said that my daughter made the trip helped her. One of my kids’ childhood friends died of a heart attack in his early 20s. I was very close to his mom. All I could do was hug her as she cried for the loss of her only son. It was raw emotion.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wouldn’t know what to say either…..but kudos to you for going. Sometimes a physical presence is all that is necessary…just to be there. But I’m stuck on your sentence…”Some of the kids were getting high outside the funeral home…? That is truly sad….if the only way kids/people can deal with emotions/crisis is drugs….what kind of a world has this become?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is so sad and frightening. I agree that we can do something. Intervene often and continuously. We will lose some, yet I think we have a risk of losing so many more if we don’t take action often. This one is deeply personal to me, and sits in my heart. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There truly aren’t any words you can say to someone in the situation, the best thing you did was be there for the people involved and paid your respects. I hope that this will inspire others to get help or at least shock them into action with people in similar situations.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am sad for all who have suffered this loss. May we have compassion for our young people, their parents, and their grandparents. Life is hard. Loss of life is hard.

    Liked by 1 person

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