For each person that died from a drug overdose, opioid, or heroin overdose, there are approximately 20 -to 30 people left behind grieving. Family and friends. All whom are lost and sad with nowhere to go. Oceans of people left with this endless, questioning guilt and sorrow. I went to a couple of bereaved parent support groups, and am learning with life and being in it and talking about this, drug overdose deaths scare everyone. I mean, I narrowed down the bereaved parent groups, but a lot of deaths there were car accidents and health issues. I know the numbers of bereaved parents from drug overdoses have got to be higher than that given these stats:

  • In January 2017, the Centers for Disease Control has estimated that the number of people in the USA who had died from overdose in the 12-month period prior to January 2017 was 64,070. – International Overdose Awareness
  • Aug 16, 2018 – As with 2016, the 2017 death toll is higher than all US military casualties in the Vietnam and Iraq wars combined. The 2017 numbers are preliminary estimates, with the final figures expected to come out later this year. The rise in overdose deaths appears to be linked to fentanyl, a class of synthetic opioids. – VOX

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stats

There is a stigma of shame and guilt surrounding these deaths however. I feel it everyday and see the ghost look, haze that comes over people’s eyes when I do say the words HEROIN OVERDOSE. I am so used to thinking of it and talking about it. Its traumatic. Where are all of these ocean’s of people? Most of us just stay home. There is one group in Aurora and one in Durango for grief support for substance abuse. I can’t start my own chapter yet. I am barely washing my hair.

I can’t bear the looks anymore. At first, in May-Aug. I worked hard on several events with supportive friends and raised over $4000 for Shatterproof They are a wonderful, amazing organization. Many many people pulled together initially and donated and it was wonderful. I just need some time to heal before I fight before congress right now. I couldn’t even pay my rent but I got this money raised for other families. I needed to step back a minute. I need to heal myself a while longer before I can help others heal.

Family and friends have blatantly walked away, unable and unwilling to give support. I have a handful of strong support people in my life right now and other than that I am isolated and alone. I can write til I’m blue in the face here in my blog and 6 people are reading it. Google search the phrase ‘disenfranchised grief’…or check this out. I’m living it. Also this is a wonderful read: Grief of an Overdose Death Part 1. and Grief of and Overdose Death Part 2.  ‘What’s Your Grief’ is a wonderful site. Thank you Lisa Williams and Eleanor Haley for creating it!

I have this strong need to help somehow. To talk, to help other families, to get policies changed, to help break the stigma. For now I am just trying to survive. I can’t BRAND this and get it read or get my support/words out there. I will do this. I will. I want to create foundations and scholarships and publish Savannah’s poems and do so much for the world but right now I’m barely making it to work and/or to the shower. I’m sick of being the alone lady who cries everywhere. I can do that at home. So I do. Michael (BF) is doing his best. My son and I are trying to create from this and we are being brave for one another and send each other puppy photos and funny stuff and talk a bit here and there. We are going to the beach for Christmas. I can’t call him crying everyday though. THIS is being strong for him. I am estranged from my strange family. Been divorced from her dad for over 20 years, my boyfriend has a family of three small kids and can only do so much. He does a lot already. I have to do this myself when all is said and done really.

And all this talk about TALK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH is ridiculous because I am constantly telling people I want to die and they just agree and say ‘have all of your feelings.’ Its crazy. It’s on you mental health sufferers, to get your own help. Call a hotline, go chat online, read something, get the help yourself. NO ONE IS GOING TO SAVE YOU. They don’t want to. People can’t and do not drop everything. I can’t ask just stay here and sit with me. It’s a crazy, fucked up world this Planet Grief and it can fuck off.

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7 Comments

  1. There might be more reading it than you know; I think if someone reads it through an email subscription without clicking through to WordPress, it might not show in your stats.

    I’d comment more but I have no words other than wishing you well.

  2. Hey Judy, Judy. You’re in my thoughts every day, or more aptly put, thoughts of you fly through my consciousness like a lone goode headed south. I wonder about it all as he or she glides toward and quickly disappears over the horizon. Where are its buddies? Why alone? Fleeting moments over which I have no control. I know I am not my thoughts, but you migrate through my mind on a regular basis. I’m the goose flapping its wings just ahead of you.
    Keep flying. The air is cold and the headwinds strong, but the view is spectacular and amazing. You’re exactly where you should be and are absolute perfection in your flight. Love you.

  3. ugh, I wish I had some words of encouragement. But the fact of the matter as you are living, breathing and existing every second of the day is that grief is a life altering, soul altering creature of its own. Before my mom died, her son, my brother died at the age of 20. He was the passenger in a drunk driving accident. Both of them were blitzed and high and being young and dumb. The driver survived. From the moment the policeman sat my momma down to break the news to the moment she died, 3 1/2 years later, grief wreaked havoc on her and our entire world. So many people just don’t know what to do with you so they say stupid shit or disappear altogether. Other people are unexpected angels. You just never know. I really liked reading “It’s OK That You’re Not OK” By Megan Devine. That helped me understand why people in our culture behave so asinine when it comes to death.
    I think with time the intensity of the emotions change- dampen down a bit. But for me- I am different- and there is always that “they’re not here” hanging in the room, especially at family type events. All of my holiday traditions have changed completely. I try to travel for holidays and birthdays. I have to celebrate because I have an 8 year old who has known grieving and loss since 4. I recently feel a bit lighter. Able to feel real joy. The veil of loss isn’t smothering me anymore.
    Thank you for putting yourself out here. Hugs to you.

    1. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother and your mom. This means a lot to me to have you shared this with me I can’t even tell you. In the handful of friends I have in my life right now are people who have dealt with profound grief and are very understanding in ways I did not expect. It is it’s own creature as you said. That is perfect. 💛💛

  4. I wish I lived near you, I really do. Then I’d be there, to take you for a coffee, or just give you a big hug. I’m so sorry that everything in the system sucks so much. (It’s just as crap here in the UK for mental health care.)

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