I have tried to write this post for many days and I just could not get the words to come out in a way that I believed would be acceptable. Today, after much prayer and quiet time, I have the courage to write this post.
Yes, I said courage. It takes courage to tell the truth and I made a promise to myself and to you that I would always be honest in my writing of this blog. I also made a commitment to myself that I would not be political or write about what’s in the news.
Today I believe God wants me to tell the truth about the death of a dear friend’s brother because it might save one life. It’s not an easy subject to approach and I believe that is part of her grief. The subject is viewed in “proper” society as taboo but it is happening every day in our county, our cities, and towns and even in our communities.
My friend’s name is Anne and she has given me permission to talk about this with you all. Anne’s baby brother was in his 30’s and had had an addiction to drugs for some time before his untimely, tragic death. He apparently had anxiety and used marijuana to calm himself. Like most users of maijuana, he branched out or was coaxed into trying Heroin. An illicit drug. However, he was scheduled for a court date for a drug test and was nervous about the appointment. Someone told him that marijuana stays in the body for days and would show up in a hair sample. Heroin was suggested to him and he went looking for it but was not dealing with the source he knew and bought what was supposed to be heroin but turned out to be fentanyl, an illicitly manufactured drug.
I am crying now.
According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC):
Drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths (66%) involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Overdose deaths increased in all categories of drugs examined for men and women, people ages 15 and older, all races and ethnicities, and across all levels of urbanization.
CDC’s new analysis confirms that recent increases in drug overdose deaths are driven by continued sharp increases in deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF).
“No area of the United States is exempt from this epidemic—we all know a friend, family member, or loved one devastated by opioids,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D.
The hardest thing to accept is not the fact Anne’s brother was addicted to drugs but that someone deliberately sold him fentanyl and that is a hard pill to swallow and a bitter reality.
Let’s take a step back and flip off our shoes and put on one of Anne’s. She is a loving, Godly woman who is suffering and grieving the loss of her baby brother in a most tragic way. Some people might think “Well what do you expect when you deal with drugs.” If you think that then shame on you. An addiction is just that an addiction. It comes in many forms and anyone one of us, though we maybe Children of God, can fall into some sin against our bodies and our Lord.
Our daughter died of unknown causes at the tender age of 22. Some feel my grief is 10 times worse than someone else’s grief and I would have to say it is and it is not. You see when someone you love and cherish dies suddenly you are in shock and can be overrun with grief. It may not matter how they died you just know they are no longer an arm’s length away. A phone call away. I struggled with not having Sommer in our home. We see her face everywhere. Her special imprints on our lives are still very much alive and it hurts. It really hurts. It will always hurt sometimes a little and other times a lot. But that is the cycle of death and grief.
God tells us:
Romans 5:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
If I were sitting across from my sweet friend right now I would take her hand and tell her:
I love you.
I am here for you.
You are not alone.
You are important to God.
Your grief is real.
Cry until you have no more tears.
Scream until you can not speak.
Hold your family closer.
Don’t give in to despair, as I have done.
Laugh out loud.
And ask God to relieve your burdens that come with grief.
Anne’s brother was not a bad man. He was a good man who got lost in a world most of us can’t even imagine. The way he died is a tragedy but we can learn from it. And we need to show great compassion for those we know who have lost someone they love in this same manner. Because compassion heals wounds.
In Christ Alone,