I miss Emily, Or, Why I Hate Heroin

Emily died. There is nothing I can do about it, although I tried. I can only grieve and watch those I love be gutted by their own grief and loss. Emily died of an accidental overdose and she can never come back in that particular form. I too am gutted.

emilyrose_20160311.jpgxEmily Elizabeth Rose was an amazing young lady that I wish I knew better. She was beautiful, she was intelligent, she was funny and quite sarcastic, and the depth of pain in her heart led her down a path that ultimately took her life. Emily, I know you can still hear me and I miss you.

I have now witnessed my mother, father, brother and niece in the worst places of their lives. I am watching that same kind of grief play out in my family as my youngest daughter does not leave the house without Emily’s picture (Come on Emily, you are coming with me!). The loss of all four of my grandparents and so many miscarriages I stopped counting are nothing in comparison to what I feel right now, and I can do so little for the ones I love who are in a deeper greater grief than I.

I have dabbled in psychedelics. I have neither shame or regret about that. Sometimes you need to move past yourself for truth and I do not regret the choices I have made. I worked on a client in the early 2000’s that had a heroin addiction that he overcame until his dentist (with whom he had shared his history and recovery and the importance of that in regards to pain meds) prescribed him something that woke up that addiction and found himself having to get through this all over again. As I worked on him, I realized both what heroin felt like in a physical body, and why people get hopelessly addicted.

Heroin from my vastly limited experience is the one drug that will put you under deep enough to not feel the pain. Pure and simple, the deeper a person’s emotional pain, the easier it is to get hooked on heroin, because no one wants to feel that badly. Being in that kind of fog really does separate one from their pain. It is very simple.

So, why people get addicted to heroin is easy. The harder question is – what is going on in our society that people are feeling so much pain and distress that a drug that is very likely to claim or destroy your life is a viable option?

As a person of faith, I find the question disturbing. I have had hard days, felt unloved, alone, abandoned, unworthy, a failure. I have thought about taking my life and indeed I twice acted on that thought with no success. I have questioned my faith, my upbringing, my society, my religion and anything else that brought me pain or discomfort. I have lived pain, so I understand the desire to obliterate that pain. I am thankful for the discipline and the focus my parents imparted that kept me on this planet and somewhat safe from myself. More importantly, at that time of emotional devastation and futility, no one introduced me to herion. If they had, I am pretty sure I would have ended up just like Emily.

Like me, Emily was brought up in an environment of both love and dysfunction. It is a fine line we all walk in life. Emily had a wonderful loving father that did everything he could to help her break this pattern of depression and addiction that heroin brings. Why did Emily die? Well unfortunately heroin took hold long before Emily felt her purpose or realized that she really had a future with love and the pain would eventually recede. Emily died because she was young and immature. Before she could understand her true importance and her own personal meaning, Emily succumbed to pain and one night, alone and at war with herself and the family who loved her, Emily took a dose of heroin that clearly was stronger than expected and I mourn every day.

I mourn for her and for every young person that did not feel their path and their purpose and their future so deeply that they no longer exist. I mourn a society where a deadly drug (ok so many deadly drugs) is so easily available. I mourn a world where a ‘friend’ thinks it is a good idea to introduce someone to a drug so deadly it kills quite quickly. I mourn a society where kids like Emily are getting eaten up and spit out before they are even twenty. Have you noticed I did not mention Emily’s mother. Yeah, I mourn the effects of the selfish and stupid too.

As a result of the loss of my niece Emily, I am barraged with stories from strangers about their own loss. My brother two months after the loss of his daughter was asked to speak to a client at his company whose son took an accidental overdose and before it took his life, he went down to watch tv with his father. He died on the couch quietly while his family watched tv.

So, why this particular post? Because prayer matter and many of the people exposed to this blog are people of faith, or people of spirituality and this world needs help. I beg everyone to pray. Pray for the disenfranchised, pray for the lost souls, pray for those in pain. Pray. Prayer is the greatest tool we have to change the world. We can take individual actions every day to make the world a better place, but prayer, well that brings something so much bigger than ourselves. Prayer calls in the big guns and points God directly at a problem. We need a fix, we need some help and the truth is it is too complex an issue for us to address without assistance from above, because the losses are growing and we need some kind of understanding of what action to take. So pray friends. Please pray.

And yes, I really miss Emily Elizabeth Rose.