My Son Died of an Overdose

Standing for almost two hours in a receiving line following the Memorial Service for my son, giving multiple hugs and shedding buckets of tears… the phrase I reiterated the most was,

“There just are no good words, so don’t even try.”

There are certain life events that cannot be touched with words because the depth of pain is visceral and beyond words.

“My son died of an overdose,” is one of those life events.

What words can follow that?

By all means, say to the grieving family, “I am sorry” – “I am here whenever you need me,” because we need to know people are standing with us in our pain.

Don’t say things like, “Time will heal” or “At least you have other children,” because time doesn’t “heal,” it may lessen the raw-ness, but our hearts will forever be broken…and while our other children are a blessing, not one of them is my son who just died.  Our lives have been permanently altered.

No.  There just are no good words, so don’t even try.

Instead, just be there without judgment.

You see, the pain we have been suffering did not start on the day my son died.  It started on the day we found out that our son was addicted to drugs.  It continued for the years that we hid in shame, and fear, because we did not want to be “that family” with “that kid,” knowing the stigma and judgment that would follow; and sadly, we did reap those jabs in various ways from time to time, as it became apparent to others outside the family that our son was using drugs.  We wept terribly as we scrambled to try and help him and figure out how to handle this disease that our son was now afflicted with.

Underneath the addiction, our son was a good person; kindhearted, funny, and creative. He was an encourage-er to others who struggled in life and he was a protector in that he sought to stick-up for the weaker one among the crowd.  This is the son we miss terribly.  This is the son we fought for and stood alongside through thick and thin.

I suggest that you replace any hint of judgment with love and compassion because addiction does not discriminate. Do not ever think, “this will never happen in my town, to my family – to my child…”  Because statistics and the reality of our culture right now says otherwise.  Sadly, I know.

So, are there any words to say?

Yes, I have words to say and I was given an opportunity to say them at a recent, local venue promoting AWARENESS & RECOVERY in my little town of Belchertown, Massachusetts this past weekend. I would be grateful if you would take the time to hear this message and to pass it along because these are the words that need to follow “My Son Died of an Overdose.”

Click on the preceding phrase, and turn your sound on to hear my words in a speech I gave.

“For (we) can do all things through Christ who gives (us) strength.” Philippians 4:13

12 thoughts on “My Son Died of an Overdose

  1. Sheryl, When I first read of your latest trial I knew God has a purpose for bringing this mountain to you. You and your family are on a journey that will help a great deal of young people avoid the claws of the beast. You will move this mountain!!!! God Bless, Judi

  2. Sheryl, this is so powerful and raw and honest. Thank you! When one Christian takes off the mask of perfection, or shreds the myth that “real” believers don’t have problems, it gives us all permission to do the same.

  3. “For (we) can do all things through Christ who gives (us) strength.” Philippians 4:13……I believe this to the depth of my being. This was ABSOLUTELY wonderfully written and I pray that you will celebrate your son’s life. You see…I am also the mother of an addict to and every day he is still alive is a blessing. But this in not about me….it is about you and your healing. Addiction should NEVER be stigmatized. It is happening all around us. Thank you for this!

  4. Beautiful words in your blog and the speech you gave, Sheryl. My heart is there with you and Dave. You’re not alone….We’re all in this together.


    I can see you standing there.
    Do you not know…that I watch?
    The demon has taken total control
    as you slump backward… to sit and to stare.
    Another day warned, another day told…
    You shall fail, weakened by its tragic hold.
    Round after round, we stand apart.
    This ride you are on…was doomed at it’s start.

    A voice at one time not troubled or slurred,
    waited calmly at life’s open door.
    Choices were made…the demon was stirred.
    Waking this tragic, ungodly whore!
    Your life now exists in a silent gray mist,
    unable to focus on our voices of warning.
    Tomorrow will come and the grip will be strong…
    powerless to grasp what’s right from what’s wrong.
    Unable to rise, interred until morning.

    The help that is needed must come from within, clutching concern…from the voices you’ve heard.
    For those that truly love you, are never,
    “at a loss for words.”

    Henrich ‘18

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