I am delighted to be here with you. And back in this beautiful ballroom where some of you might remember I was the Managing Director of Bacara for five years. Or you might recall I had the privilege of serving on the CADA board.
I love to hear Molly laugh. It’s a deep guttural roll. I watch her closely. Not wanting to miss a single part of her happiness. Wanting to be a part of it. Rolling in her desperate desire to be a part of this magical thing we call life. Loving every moment of it. I watch her. I soak her into every pore of my being.
“The energy in the courtroom was kinetic. A pass-through door that divided the space swung constantly, allowing attorneys and translators to access clients and their family members. Amid a dozen hushed conversations, I practiced boxed breathing, inhaling and exhaling to an even count.
If you saw my son in Prescott, Arizona– or Orange County, California, or somewhere in south Florida– he looked like an ordinary twenty-something riding in a nondescript, however telltale, white cargo van. His mainstream appearance must have provoked speculation about the path that led another addict to take up temporary residence in the community.
Except for a toxic diet of fentanyl, heroin, and benzos, my son hadn’t eaten in the last week, nor had he changed his clothes. And because he’d lost his cell phone, I felt compelled answer the call that came in from an unknown number that evening.
In the final seconds of our video visitation my son commented, “Thank you for talking to me, Mom. So many parents cut their kids off. They think addiction is a moral issue.” I glanced at the countdown clock in the corner of the screen and quickly called out, “I LOVE you!” As I stared at his face frozen on the screen, I reflected on the journey that had brought us here.
While I was waiting for the elevator, I read a five-word text that tore apart my heart and left my stomach in knots. The elevator ride provided under a minute of privacy to process my 20 year old son’s message. As I re-embraced the professional environment, the words, “I will be dead soon” reverberated. My usual mantra, “Please keep him safe” was futile.
My son’s opiate addiction creates an undercurrent of pandemonium in my life that is isolating. My friends are often blindsided by some, unimaginable trauma when my circumstances expose them to unfamiliar topics from the realm of addiction. Most recently, patient brokering.