When we arrived at the emergency room, a nurse stated she was escorting us to a room behind the general seating area. I spent a good deal of my career as a pharmaceutical rep, so the internal workings of a hospital were quite familiar to me. That room was for families about to be rendered the news I so feared.
In my despair, I began to say to her louder and louder, “No, we are not going in that room.”
The doctor came in shortly after and told us they had made repeated efforts to revive him, but to no avail. A social worker asked what she could do for us. I replied, “bring him back.”
Matt, my 26-year-old son, died that night of a heroin overdose after a 10-year battle with addiction. A big piece of me died that night alongside him.
I spent the 10 years Matt struggled with addiction fighting right by his side. Above all, I wanted him to know that I loved him unconditionally. What I did not yet understand was that love was not enough to save him from his disease.
When Matt first came to me and said, “Mom I need help,” I immediately went into execution mode. The path to recovery was unfamiliar to me; I had never dealt with addiction, let alone my own child’s battle with the disease. As a parent, it’s one of the most isolating experiences, but I was determined to do as much as I could for my son. I found treatment centers, negotiated the insurance, packed his bag, and took him to treatment many times. I was always unsure if I was doing the right thing, but I always stayed rooted in the one thing I was sure of: I was not losing my son to drugs.
I would often say to Matt, “I love you more than you will ever know.” He always replied the same way with his charismatic mannerisms and his beautiful smile, “I love you mom, more than you’ll ever know.”
As is the case with many families, my husband and I disagreed on the parenting of Matt. We argued often, with me standing my ground and he standing his, sometimes forgetting we had the same goal, just different paths of getting there. Now, that does not matter anymore. We both loved Matt.