Friday, July 28, 2017

It Hurts So Bad.....Why Can't It Stop

It's been a while since I've dealt with the daily drama and heartache of a child actively using. Not a day goes by since in the last seven years I haven't thought about the pain and felt grateful I was a parent that came out the other side with a child in long term recovery.

Today I am shopping in the grocery store and casually ask the butcher for some help. He was very helpful with not only the bacon but also some large wild caught shrimp. Makes me hungry writing this, but that's not the point of this story.

We continue a casual conversation and he mentioned he just lost his 23 year old son and was having a hard time. I ask, and prefaced it with I didn't want to pry or be too intrusive but what happened. He explained to me he died from a heart condition. The valves in his heart were gone and he died while doctors were operating on his heart.

I expressed my sympathy. I cannot imagine in any way how hard that must be. I went on to explain I was only being nosy because I know so many, too many people that have lost their child at a young age to addiction. I went on to apologize in that I didn't want him to think I assumed the same was for his child. Then I told him how lucky I am to not have lost my son because he was a heroin addict but has been clear and sober since July 2010.

His eyes welled up and his voice broke. My son was using drugs with needles and stuff. He never mentioned the drug of choice but he said, the needles and drugs are what destroyed his heart.

He went on to tell me it is so hard and they are in counseling. I gave him one of my cards I give out when I speak with this blog address.

He also said they have no one to talk too. He said "Whenever I mention it to a friend or someone they don't understand......they don't understand at all. "

Here we are are two 60 year men standing at the end of the meat freezer in the aisle of a grocery store with tears on our cheeks and in our eyes.

He stared at my card....."Your name is Ron?" Yes it is. "Can I call you if I need too?" You can can call me any time.

NO ONE IS ALONE IN THIS!

If you can't talk to a person, find another person. There are too many people suffering with no support. As I tell all of those young people, hands of help are extended all around you. Take the first step, reach out and grasp one of those hands. It will be good for both of you. This goes for all of us no matter our age.

I leave the grocery store after shaking this mans hand and sincerely telling him he is not alone.

Pull into a favorite vegetable stand for some home grown tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe and berries. I here a woman's voice, "Ron Grover, Ron Grover". Around the tables and counter comes a person Darlene and I had coffee with 7 years ago because they reached out to me after reading this blog and discovering we only lived 10 miles apart. Our sons shared this same issue.

After two encounters not one hour apart I come to realize I have ignored writing for too long.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Night Time Rituals

Everyone seems to have before bed rituals. For most they are personal. Seems for most people they do not change no matter where you are; on vacation, at home, traveling on business, whatever or wherever you happen to be at the time.

For the parent of an addict there is always a thought or a prayer to end the madness in that bedtime ritual. Many times tears are a part of laying your head on the pillow.

Something I incorporated into my night time ritual was to deliberate on a simple question. "What did I learn?" It's a simple short question but is so powerful for the parent of an addict.

Self care is critical for any person with a loved one suffering from addiction. Self care may include a massage or a vacation but the most important self care I found for me was knowledge and information.

When we ask our self, "What did I learn?" it opens the door to new learning and unlearning. There are 3 types of learning; old learning, new learning and unlearning. Unlearning is the hardest, when we learn what we thought to be true but find it isn't, we unlearn and find a new path to learning.

As we begin a process of self learning we build a knowledge base that works for future days.

At times as I begin to process the learning, the day and experiences I would play out scenarios in my mind on how to handle future encounters for myself and my loved one. By applying my learning each day I was better prepared to handle any crisis or drama the next day.

Learning and preparation provided me a small measure of peace each day.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Sister Has Passed

Yesterday, March 7, 2017 my sister passed away. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in July, 2016.

My sister was named after my father, his formal name was Ivan Glen Grover. Gigi was a shortened version of Glenda Gale Grover.

My sister was a homebody. Except for a very short period out of high school she lived in the same house where she was born and raised. Mom and Gigi made a home together after my dad passed in 1982.

I am not sure at times what the roles were in that home. Sometimes I think it was Mom caring for Gigi and at times Gigi was caring for Mom. Especially later in life Gigi fell into the role of primary caregiver when Mom began showing signs of dementia. I really believe it was a symbiotic relationship throughout both their lives.

As each of us live our lives we create a legacy. A legacy doesn't just incorporate a few achievements. A legacy can include lessons learned and taught. My sister left several personal memories for each person that knew her but I want to speak to an unintended legacy.

Gigi was not one to visit doctors. Maybe there were personal reasons but there was also one overriding financial reason, most of her life she did not have or afford health insurance. This is not a political statement, this is about lessons from her life.

Access to and going to the doctor and having yourself checked is a matter of life and death.

The 5-year survival rate for women with uterine cancer is 82%. The 10-year survival rate is 79%. If the cancer is diagnosed and it is still only in the area it started, called local, the 5-year survival rate is about 95%. If the cancer has spread regionally, the 5-year survival rate is about 68%. www.cancer.net/cancer-types/uterine-cancer/statistics

Gigi was not diagnosed early. She was diagnosed in July 2016 and gone in March 2017. Maybe she could have been one of those 95%, maybe not. No one could possibly know for sure. But, for sure we know early diagnosis helps.

A lot of medical exams may be embarrassing and are not pleasant but watching my sister die from this disease was not pleasant either.

Ladies, get those annual exams. Men, don't forget you need to be prodded and poked too.

Rest in peace Gigi


You will be missed by many

Friday, February 3, 2017

Teachers

Again, I get an email from a teacher asking if I have time to speak with his classes about my story.

Every school I visit the teachers tell me of the fear they have for their students. Stories that kids have related to them and the help students have reached out and ask for help to help them through terrible situations. The teachers want a way to help guide their students.

Stories come back to me from the teachers after I speak about the impression I had on their kids. They, like me cling to that hope we help them to make a good decision.

I dream of the time when a young person is faced with that choice to try something, words flash in their mind of a speaker they heard in class. I dream of a student confiding in a teacher or adult that they were presented with a choice and they did the right thing. Not because they might get caught, but because it was the right thing to do.

Even if you aren't teacher or a public speaker. Please take the time to tell a young person you are there for them. It's easy to believe in someone, it's more important to have someone believe in you. Think about what means to a young person or to yourself.

When any of us look around hopefully we see outstretched hands. Grasp a hand. We all need them sometime.

Teachers, a special message for you. 

Thank You for what you do and the hands you have outstretched to all those hungry students. I believe in you and what you do!!! 

(teachers, please share what you are doing in your class or with students. experiences you have had. the more we share the smarter and better we all become.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Another Blogger

Another mom with a son in recovery has decided to blog about her experience parenting and addict.

Please take a moment to visit and offer your thoughts.

Holding Your Breath Waiting To Breathe