Gail Box lives every day with grief, guilt and loss. However, she has utilized her personal tragedy to openly discuss the national prescription drug overdose problem and lift the veil of shame associated with such addiction.
In 2009, I witnessed the accidental death by drowning of my partner, Matt. He was strong, fit, healthy – three months from his 40th birthday. It was a beautiful and ordinary morning: the first sunny day after three solid weeks of rain. An absolutely normal day, until it was not, and would not ever be again.
By all accounts, Linnea Lomax entered college a strong, athletic, ambitious young woman -- which is why it was so shocking to her parents as they watched her grow anxious, obsessive and suffer a breakdown toward the end of her freshman year.
My daughter, Camila, died of acute leukemia when she was 23 years old. There were 10 months between diagnosis and her death. I came to The Compassionate Friends to be among others who had suffered the loss of a child and to find, within that circle, a way to survive.
I was a single mom for 19 years, all of my adult life. It defined who I was and the choices I made. I put myself through college starting at a community college, through grad school, finally getting a Ph.D., while raising a thoughtful, considerate, creative, funny, and intelligent son. Then 3 days after my graduation, and 7 days after his 19th birthday, my son killed himself.
Our eldest daughter, Abigail, died aged 12, on 10th February 2013, following a sudden brain haemorrhage at home on 6th February. My mind and body have been churned up inside ever since with so many emotions, thoughts and feelings. I went to the doctor in the early days, not knowing what to do about this and she simply said ‘write about it’, so I started this blog.
Letters swallow themselves in seconds. Notes friends tied to the doorknob, transparent scarlet paper,sizzle like moth wings,marry the air. So much of any year is flammable, lists of vegetables, partial poems. Orange swirling flame of days, so little is a stone. Where there was something and suddenly isn’t, an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space. I begin again with the smallest numbers. Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves, only the things I didn’t do crackle after the blazing dies.
Scooped from Refuge in Grief. Read Megan's post, "Absence Exists because Love Exists", discussing this poem.
I know many people who have been brought back from the brink of death to tell about their drug overdoses, people who then go on to lead meaningful, productive lives. Their stories, at one time horrific, end happily. They illustrate the ability of human beings to change — and the life-saving, potentially life-changing power of a simple prescription medication known as naloxone. Then there are the tragedies, like the stories of my brothers, my only siblings.
Parenting isn't easy. And being a single parent of a child with additional needs brings its own unique challenges. But when your only child dies, you have to deal not only with your grief but also perhaps the loss of identity as the main care-giver.
My husband, Phil, and I have two children, Philip and Natalie, who are (of course) the great loves of our lives. On February 23rd, 2012, we found out that our son, who had turned 21 the month before, died. It was sudden and unexpected....The essential question, the one that seems without the answer I’m so desperate to find, is, “How do I live in the face of death? How do I make meaning in the aftermath of the unthinkable?”