How can a parent describe how it feels to lose a child?
The best description I've heard is:"Losing a child is like losing a leg-a piece of you is gone forever. You learn to move on and try to find a place for the loss…but no matter where you are or what you're doing, you are always aware of your loss. The emptiness never goes away."
I lost my son, Ryan, to a heroin overdose on October 20, 2007, 25 days short of his 19th birthday. He didn't choose to be an addict, nobody does, but it happens every day.
How can I tell you what it's like to watch someone you love with your whole heart and soul self-destruct; helplessly watch them morph into another person, slip further and further away, and know that a tragic end is a real possibility? From the son with whom I shared a secret handshake, to one who spent the last 68 days of his life in jail?
Incredibly, over a year has passed and all I can think of is how much I miss and love him. Emotional triggers come from out of the blue -- a red Grand Am, a song, a familiar place, and I ask myself, "Why?" I fall asleep thinking that another day has passed and just like yesterday and tomorrow, I won't see him or talk to him, but must continue trying to find a place in my life and heart to make peace with his death.
At Ryan's funeral, I decided that Ryan would not be just another kid who died of a drug overdose; that to deal with his death, I would try to help one person make better choices or help one family deal with the insanity of drug addiction. As a result of that promise I've created a website, promise2ryan.com.
I love and miss him more every day.
Love ya, Bud - Dad
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