A grieving father who lost a son to drug addiction
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A grieving father who lost a son to drug addiction

by Michael H.
(Royal Oak, MI )

My 25 year old son, Nicholas, died on September 30, 2016 after 7 or 8 years of addiction to drugs, but this time the heroin was mixed with fentanyl.

He was a handsome, smart, charming young man who suffered from the illness of drug addiction. For years I thought "he is either going to get well or he is going to die," so the thought of his possible death was not a foreign idea to me. Nevertheless, it was still a shock and held all the requisite emotions of anger, guilt, sadness, disbelief, etc.

I have kept myself very busy: went back to work within a few days, have been completely up-front with people as to why and how he died and have continued on with life, the same activities as before.

Somehow I feel like I am not "grieving enough" or "upset" enough about it . . . . and that makes me feel guilty. Didn't I love him enough, don't I even care that he's gone? It's been so long since he's been drug free it's very hard to remember the good times with him unless it's from when he didn't use drugs. Since then, he's lied and stolen and told all of us to "f__k off" from time to time and generally been absent, physically and emotionally.

Most of the time when I talk to myself about it, I am yelling at him, asking him "Why did you have to do that? Why didn't you stop? Didn't you know how much we all loved you? Do you know what you've done to our family?" Is that wrong?

A grieving father - at Christmas

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Thank You Michael
by: Katrin

Thank you for sharing your story. I hear you and I feel with you.
How are you today? I'm sorry I'm so late in replying to your post.
It seems to me that addictions add another whole layer to all the emotions of grief. There is less shock and sadness, maybe, yet much more potential for guilt.

I don't think there is any right or wrong in grieving, it's all just personal emotions that want to be heard and acknowledged. Quite the opposite is true, the more we try to grieve following other's expectations the harder it becomes. We lose connection to the very emotions that are inside of us. We might not allow ourselves sense of relief or gratefulness that suffering is over for example.

I felt very guilty after my son had passed away and at some point I voiced my confusion and despair over not having done enough of the right things at the doctors. I had felt throughout pregnancy that something wasn't quite right yet I didn't know what it was or what to do about it.
My doc, in his quiet, thoughtful and fatherly manner answered, that this might be a very important point to remember.

We all learn and grow from the experiences of our lives. Yet before we do we just don't know exactly. In hindsight (much like a birds eye's view) things often become clearer, yet at the time we simply don't know yet.

I think that thought helped me a lot to heal. This and "the Work" of Byron Katie (really worth googling), whose questions helped me to look beyond my cries of "Why did you run away from me". They showed me other reflections of those feelings not towards my son, but inside of me where I could better understand and heal them.

Thank you again Michael, for sharing your story and how you feel and for asking questions and wondering, and with that helping others in similar situations too.

Much appreciated.


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