You Smile I Smile

You Smile I Smile
Sonshine: My Journey After the Loss of My Son

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Random thoughts...

Sad day. One of the moms in a grieving parents group I belong to committed suicide this week. She was 2 years down the road in her grief journey. How can this be? It scares me because she seemed like she was doing well. I must say, though, that I totally get it and I'm happy for her. I hope she and her son had a joyous reunion. I cry for her family though. I know she was really trying to go on with her life. I am more determined than ever to try to go on and find joy. Every day I tell myself that when one door closes, another opens. I'm keeping my heart open to the love and happiness that I must believe are still possible. Please say a prayer for her. Her name was Susan.

Some random thougths that are running through my head today:

How is it possible for you to be so devastated and yet your heart keeps beating?

Tell your children you love them every day. Don't sweat the small stuff. Be grateful for every precious moment you have with them. Do it for me and do it for you.

Life is short. Live every day and make it count.

Take lots of pictures!

Most things that seem important aren't usually that important.

Be compassionate. Be kind.

Say Andy's name. It's music to my ears. Don't be afraid to talk about him because you think it will remind me he's gone. Trust me, I haven't forgotten. He's on my mind every single second of every day. It makes me happy to hear his beautiful name.

Please know that I'm not "over it" yet. I never will be, but I'm trying hard to go on in joy. If I seem distant, it's just that I'm still trying to work things out in my mind and heart. It's still hard to be around groups of people. I do better one-on-one or around a few people.

Try not to feel bad if I cry in front of you. You didn't cause it, and the tears are healing. One of the greatest gifts you can give me is to let me cry unashamed and just be there or even cry with me. The tears sneak up on me at the most unexpected and inopportune times...the grocery store when I see his favorite foods, when I hear certain songs, when I find some of his artwork in a drawer at work. Last week my realtor's associate, who was showing me houses in his absence, asked me if I had children. When I told her I have a son, but he passed away in February, she cried and hugged me and told me she couldn't imagine losing her children. She probably doesn't know this, but she couldn't have handled it more perfectly. She didn't feel bad about asking, she didn't clam up. She just shared my pain for a moment, and I was deeply touched. You'll probably never see this Rebecca, but thank you. You are a kind, compassionate woman.

Share your children with me. Tell me all the wonderful things they do. Ask me to babysit them. Show me their pictures. Tell me funny stories about them. Your children and their lives make me happy, not sad.

Thank you for letting me talk about Andy. I don't have any new stories, but I have precious memories that I love to share.

I love my friends and family. They are such a gift.

There are people in this world who love you and need you. Be grateful for that and love them back.

Live with conviction and fearlessness.

Give people the benefit of the doubt.

I am blessed.

I hope you all have a beautiful day!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just Say 'No'...

WARNING: If you support D.A.R.E., you probably won’t like this post. Just warning you up front.

Just Say No…

You may find this hard to believe given the fact that my son died of a drug overdose, but I think all drugs should be legal. The “War on Drugs” is a dismal failure, and in my opinion, just some feel-good rhetoric pretending to be a drug resistance program. It is a huge waste of money.  Let’s start with the D.A.R.E. program. My sweet young son won first place in the D.A.R.E. essay contest. He read his essay in front of the whole school. He won an impressive looking medal and certificate. He was never going to take drugs, no sir! The truth is, it doesn’t work, and there are plenty of studies to support that fact.  One example of such a study was done by Dennis Rosenbaum, head of the criminal justice department at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Dr. Rosenbaum’s study tracked over a thousand students at 36 schools for six years. His study found that Students who receive D.A.R.E. are indistinguishable from students who do not participate in the program.” There are plenty of other studies that show the same thing.

Several cities across the country have already dumped or are looking to dump the program--Minneapolis, Boulder, Houston, Oakland, Seattle and Omaha, to name a few. And guess what, DARE is hugely expensive. Despite its ineffectiveness, the program receives millions of dollars in support, and you and I are footing part of the bill.  Yet kids and young adults all across America can’t get any health or dental care because they or their families can’t afford the insurance.  What is wrong with this picture? In my opinion, it would be far better to legalize drugs, and likely wipe out most gang activity and illegal drug trafficking immediately.

Further, we need to treat the addicts with compassion and provide treatment, not throw them in jail.  Does anyone honestly believe people like being addicts? Even ultra-Conservative, “I’m always right”, Rush Limbaugh had himself a big, fat drug addiction to Oxycontin.  He got addicted because of back issues. This can happen to ANYONE. Nobody says “I think I’ll become a drug addict.” Oxycontin kills plenty of people, and it doesn’t care if you are rich, poor, lazy, wonderful, hateful, liberal, conservative, or from the best family in America.  I read recently that there isn’t a heroin addict out there that didn’t start with Oxy in some shape or form.  And how about a Good Samaritan law?  So many lives are lost because people who are at the scene could call for help but don’t out of fear of being arrested. I believe my son would be alive today if we had such a law.  NC does not have one. What a shame. We have to start treating addiction as the disease it is or I see a lot more problems in our nation’s future.

You can think I’m wrong, you can disagree with me. That’s ok. But I have lived this nightmare, and I wouldn’t wish it on any parent. Drastic times call for drastic measures. I’m mad as hell, and I won’t sit back and support useless feel-good crap programs like DARE anymore!