A message for parents who’ve lost a child to addiction

I must have at least a half dozen post ideas in some stage of development — or even close to completion in my head — but my thoughts keep drifting. My last post started it. I wrote about an article a colleague wrote that told the story of a young man addicted to heroin and tried to challenge myself to write a short post.

Forgive the repetition, but I’d like to revisit both subjects today. On and off for a decade or so, I’ve been recovery support for a person who is addicted to heroin. This person is currently receiving services at a methadone clinic, and I am hopeful. After reading the article, I texted to say I was glad this person was still around.

This person’s mom is glad, too. She and I talked a couple weeks ago, and she’s grateful he’s doing as well as he is. But not all moms are so lucky, like the mom in my colleague’s story and other moms I know, which brings me to my short message for the day:

I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the moms and dads of all the wonderful people who have died as a result of their addiction. After one of my posts on the subject of addiction, a parent of someone who died of a heroin overdose contacted me to share this experience. As a parent, I simply can’t imagine the pain of this kind of loss of your child, especially after watching the demise caused by the disease.

I also can’t imagine the kind of courage it would take to work through that kind of excruciating pain. The ones who are able to share the story of their loss in the hopes of saving someone else’s child are truly heroes to me. I just don’t know if I could do that — I think I’d be too self-absorbed in my grief.

Moms and dads, you have my deepest sympathies and best wishes for carrying your pain.

Traci Brown pauses as she talks about her son, Garrett Brown, who was addicted to heroin. On the right is a photo of Garrett at 1 1/2 years old, with his mother, around Christmas in 1995. (Gabor Degre | BDN)

Traci Brown pauses as she talks about her son, Garrett Brown, who was addicted to heroin. On the right is a photo of Garrett at 1 1/2 years old, with his mother, around Christmas in 1995. (Gabor Degre | BDN)

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.