Daughter Lost to Opiates
Twenty. That’s how old my daughter was when she never woke up one day. Oxycodone. The pill slowed her heartbeat, it stopped, and before anyone could revive her, she died. My heart was broken. That was eleven years ago.
The drugs didn’t define who she was. Stephanie was a vibrant young woman who loved helping others; art, music and animals comforted her when she felt depressed. Since she was so young and away at school, we were shocked she was experimenting with drugs. My family has survived with faith, hope and love. The support was overwhelming for a tragedy that has become an epidemic. Young people get addicted to opiates every day. There are many places with skilled people who can help them survive. I’m proud of the hard work my daughter did with a talented team once we realized she needed more support than what we could give her. She wasn’t lucky enough.
The absence of her presence is all around me. A day doesn’t go by when I’m not thinking of her and wondering what we’d talk about at dinner.
Today, as I walk on my grief journey, the work continues. I’ll never get over my loss but will get through it. Talking to a skilled therapist, friends and family has helped me survive. Grandchildren have renewed my spirit—such joy! Support groups are wonderful and have sustained me. I’m living my life the way my daughter would be proud of; I’m better not bitter. Often, I pray for families who deal with substance abuse and reach out to give others hope and joy of living. Steph would want that.
“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” —Vicki Harrison
I’m swimming but need a float now and then.
Links: Compassionate Friends, Bereaved Parents of the USA, Grief Haven
Book: Healing After Loss by Hickman
MSL writes from her camp in NH