In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!

_________________________________


Friday, March 21, 2014

My Son Died...

I've started 5 blog entries in the past few months. I'd lose my train of thought half through writing them so I saved them in draft with every intention of finishing them the following day- which I never did. But I'm determined to finish this one. I'll probably ramble so you may want to stop reading now. Lord knows, I wouldn't blame you. This entry is totally self indulgent- I just feel the need to write it, sometimes writing helps me let go of things and stop obsessing.  

The call I had been dreading for years came in December. ROM was on the ladder outside, he was just starting his holiday light stringing and I was in the house. Actually it wasn't a call, a friend of my son's pulled up in front of our house. I watched her get out of her car, walk up to ROM and talk to him. They then came in together. As soon as I saw her face, I knew what she was there to tell me. I remember turning away and walking out of the room, if I couldn't hear her say it then it wouldn't be true. But ROM followed me into the living room and told me my son had died that morning of a drug overdose. I don't remember much after that, the following days are now a blur to me. ROM dealt with the funeral home which was out of state and made the arrangements to have my son cremated. 

My son had been addicted to drugs and alcohol most of his adult life. There were countless treatment programs, brief periods of time when he was drug free, and too many relapses to count. He'd moved in with us so many times in the past 20 yrs., swearing he was going to stay clean and change his life but it never turned out well. Over the years I watched my bright, fun and witty son become a person I didn't even recognize. His addiction devoured the person he had been and the future he should have had. But through it all, I continued to get my hopes up every time he had a crisis and entered a treatment program, and each time he told me that this time he was really through with drugs I believed him. I wanted to believe him. I continued to hang on to the dream that someday I would get my son back... that I would live long enough to see him living as a happy and successful young man with a full life and career he enjoyed. I dreamed of him staying clean and having a family- a nice wife and maybe even some kids. The years slipped away until he was no longer a young man, he entered his middle aged years still deep into addiction. But still I hoped. 

On that day in December all my hope was taken away. There would be no miraculous recovery and no happy ever after for my son. His drug addiction had taken the very essence of his spirit, his intelligence, his potential, his values and morals, his dignity and now it had taken his very life. I can't begin to put into words the over whelming pain and grief that crashes down on you when your child has died. I've dealt with many deaths in my life- close friends, a husband and my parents. But nothing had prepared me for this death. My heart always broke for parents who lost children, but I realize now I had no idea the pain they were going through. It's just not something anyone can imagine unless they have experienced it. Even now after 3 months, it's the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of before falling asleep. 

I'm trying to get back to some sense of normalcy. As my Twitter friend, Mary, told me- "fake it until you make it". And I added "act as if". So I'm making myself do some normal things- going to some area art festivals, stop avoiding the neighbors and actually chat with them, gabbing and being silly on Twitter, spending time in the studio every day even if it's just doodling... and watching over a rabbit nest. 

Last week when I took the dogs out for their morning potty I was horrified to find a torn up rabbit nest and dead hairless newborn babies. We have a real problem with feral cats in our neighborhood and it's not the first gory mess they've left for me. They also dig in our flower beds and crap in them. And walk on our cars at night. Nasty bastards. Anyway, I kept the dogs away from the area of the carnage and left the mess for ROM to clean up when he got home. 

This week when I took the dogs out we found a tiny little rabbit sitting in our yard. It had fur and it's little ears were up, but so tiny. Of course Emmy wanted to eat him but I kept the dogs away from it. After I had taken them back in the house, I went back out to look for the wee little thing but it was no where to be found. I kept checking through out the day but no sign of it. When I told ROM about it that evening we went out and looked around. We found a small shallow bowl shaped place in the yard and there was the little bunny all hunkered down. But no sign of mama which worried me. Had it been abandoned? I did some googling and found that our rabbits dig out a tiny area to birth their babies. They don't stay with the babies because it would draw predators to the nest, but the mothers visit the nest several times a day to nurse. The rabbit nest is so shallow I was afraid the mowers would drive over it and kill it. So I used my metal shish-kabob skewers as stakes and stung bright red Christmas ribbon on them to keep the mowers away. And I spend most of my time checking out the window to make sure there are no cats around. I was lucky enough to catch the mama rabbit visiting this evening to nurse the baby. She sat over the nest for about 10 - 15 minutes and then she was gone. I did notice that she tore up some grass and covered the nest and baby. I hope that's enough to keep him hidden from the cats. I got this picture of her this evening- 


I so want this baby to survive, thrive and happily hop away to live a long life. I couldn't save my son but maybe I can help save this tiny rabbit. 

I'm not going to even spell check this entry because if I do it will probably end up sitting in my draft files like the others I've started and abandoned. 



62 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for the loss of your son. I can't imagine how u feel & what u are going thru. Parents aren't supposed to outlive their children. I hope & pray on your continued outings & trying to find some normalcy, even though that would seem almost impossible. I wish there were some words of comfort but all I can say is I pray u can smile, laugh & enjoy life again. Prayers for u, ROM & your son! God bless u! ~Tammy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tammy. Life doesn't always turn out the way we planned and hoped. When life throws us a curve it can knock us off course, but if we're fortunate enough to have people that love us we can endure just about anything. ROM has been my rock and I'm so very lucky to have him.

      Delete
  2. I'm so so sorry for your loss. You are right that unless you've lost a child one can only imagine what the pain of that loss is like. I have watched helplessly as my close friend suffers the loss of her 28 year old son to suicide Nov. 1. All I can do is be there for her and hold her hand as she goes through this. I hope and pray that you have people in your life who are there for you as well. There are no words that can ease your pain, so just know that even though we've never met I am praying for you and holding your hand as well. Hugs, hugs and more hugs. -Beth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Beth, for your kind words. Being there for your friend is the best thing you can do. We can get through the tragic times if we're lucky enough to have friends like you. My husband and friends have been my heros through this. Even if your friend pulls away, just keep being there for her.

      Delete
  3. I'm having a hard time finding the right words to express how sorry I am for your loss. My mother lost my brother when he was only 22 and I was 21 and she was never the same. I hope and pray that you can find peace, even though that may seem unimaginable right now. We've certainly never met, but you've entertained me over the past few years with your wonderful, humorous stories and adventures. I've checked this blog every day for the past few months and I was happily surprised when I checked this morning and saw your post. However, the title devastated me and as I sit here typing this my eyes are filling with tears over your loss. It's very brave of you to share this with us. Sending you big hugs. You're in my thoughts and heart.

    ~Linda aka NoHoHousewife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Linda, I'm so sorry for the loss of your brother. It must have been so hard on you to not only lose your brother but to also watch your parents go through so much pain. I hope you and your family have found peace and have joy back in your lives.

      Delete
  4. I can't think of anything more difficult than a parent out living their child. Prayers and blessings to you, may you find peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I'm trying to stay aware of all the blessings I have in my life and to appreciate them.

      Delete
  5. My heart aches for you. We are NOT supposed to bury our children. I'm a military mother whose sons were deployed to the Middle East. The anticipation of that visitation with bad news is nearly unbearable! I also was married to a cocaine addict. It is such a frustrating existence to love someone who loves drugs. My heart truly goes out to you. God bless you and give you peace. Thank you for turning your pain into a gift to save the rabbit. By opening your heart, to share with US, you may help another person who is going through unspeakable pain. Thank you again n

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope your sons made it back home safe and sound. I can only imagine the worry you must have when your child is in a war zone. The baby bunny is still safe in his little nest. But I'm getting questions from my neighbors as to why I have bright red Christmas ribbon in my yard-LOL

      Delete
  6. How courageous of you to share your sons struggle, and your struggle and hopes for him. Drug addiction robs people of their souls. Leaving an unrecognizable shell but, you know that. Keep writing, I'll keep reading. You are helping everyone, your son would be proud.
    Moxie25

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Moxie. Too many people have lost loved ones to addiction.

      Delete
  7. You're always in my prayers, ROH. Sending you hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Such unspeakable pain. You are so strong and courageous. When my brother died at the age of 33, I will never forget the look on my parents' faces. I didn't think my mother would survive it. But she did, living another 30 years until she succumbed last year at the age of 90.

    Putting your feelings on paper is what you do...and you do it so well. I am proud to know you, and I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Love, Sharon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure having you helped your parents survive the loss of their son. But how hard for you to not only dealing with the grief of the loss of your brother but also cope with the hurt your parents were going through. It's so hard to watch someone you love go through such devastating events. Your parents were blessed to have you to lean on.

      Delete
  9. Words seem so small and appallingly inadequate here, but others have poignantly expressed what comfort they can offer, so I will only add a thank you, for sharing your life, your love, your heart and soul with us in this hard world.

    WhiteTrashGal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dottie. I know the time will come that I'll get through a day without crying. I didn;t know that 3 months ago and thought this would destroy me. I discovered that I'm stronger than I thought.

      Delete
    2. I can not image the road you had to walk on. Someone once told me that the drug is a demon,stronger than a soft hearted soul. It will make the soft hearted soul do things that they normally would never even consider. It takes over every inch of their lives.

      You were there for him through the years. Do not ask yourself, what else could I, what if I tried, only if, is it my fault? Know in your heart, your son is soft soul a gentle soul. His demon was stronger. Do not blame yourself.

      No one nor any words can take away the pain. Time doesn't heal, it lets you exist. From the bottom of my heart, I am so very sorry for the loss of your son. We're here to help you talk, scream, yell & laugh at some fond memories.

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Ghostly. I admit that at times I'm overwhelmed with guilt, wondering what I could have done differently and replaying scenarios in my head. My rational mind knows I did all I could but the emotions sometimes drown out rational thought. I know it will get better. It I've learned anything in all my years, it is that eventually things get better.

      Delete
  10. My heart hurts for you ROH, you are such a loving, caring, and giving friend. This has shone through so often in so many ways since I have 'known' you. I know there are no words I can offer to help this grief you endure and have endured over the years. I am glad you have ROM to comfort you, my heart is with you and I wish you peace. This is a long difficult road I traveled with my very best friend, things are never the same but you are right, fake it and keep moving forward. It is what you can do now. Know that you are loved and hugged by this friend as much as possible. Tuz <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tuz. The support of my online friends is so appreciated. ROM has been so good to me. He took off work most of the month of Dec, and did everything he could to make things easier for me. I have so much to be grateful for.

      Delete
  11. I am so sorry for your loss and for once words elude me. I am weeping. What a tragic loss. I have two grown boys and cannot even imagine how you feel. Thank you for writing such an eloquent blog. I am hugging you and rooting for your bunny. Luluinsandiego

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lulu, As of this moment, the bunny is safe and sound in his nest. I keep checking on him and am on the look out for the cats.

      Delete
  12. ROH, first let me extend my deepest sympathies and condolences. I lost my son when he was young, only 20 months. I have 2 children who are 6 & 4 (almost) now. My son would have been 17 by now. Nothing prepares you. I read in a book, written by a man who had lost his wife, mother, and young daughter, in a car accident with a drunk driver, single parent to 2 surviving children, that his view of grief was like chasing a sunset. Fear of the impending darkness of the impenetrable grief to come and the devastation that the loss of loved ones brings. He reminded his readers that if we stop, remember to turn around, we will see the sun rise again. That we never forget, and we will continue to live, even with that dark sadness but life continues with the rising and setting of the sun, returns to the ebb and flow when we are ready.

    I often hear how parents aren't supposed to outlive their children. It almost seems illogical, but there are no set rules to life. We just deal with what we are dealt as best as we can.

    My heart grieves with you, even if a bit selfishly because of my own loss, and we are forever changed and connected through our experiences. I send you love and hugs. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though I'm sure we both wish we weren't a member of the mothers who've lost children club, it is comforting to know we aren't alone and other women have survived such a loss. I'm so sorry you lost your sweet little son. I hope your 4 and 6 yr; olds have helped you cope with such heartbreaking loss. Thank you for sharing, Mina. Big hugs to you xoxo

      Delete
  13. I lost my father on 12/26/13 and celebrated 20 years clean on 2/4/14. I have thought of relapsing over the years but one of the many things that prevented me from picking up that first hit was that I didn't want my parents to go through another bout with my addiction. If I do no more in this life, at least there is that. I am profoundly sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have no idea what a gift you gave to your parents with your 20 yrs. of being clean. Sometimes what we can't do for ourselves, we can do for the sake of our loved ones. What a blessing that you used your love for your family as a motivation to stay clean. I hope you continue with your sobriety if not for yourself, then to honor your father's memory and the love he gave you.

      Delete
  14. I'm truly sorry for losing your son. No1 knows that feeling unless they are in your shoes. Long story short, I've been totally clean from pain meds for 10 yrs. I deal with the pain because I don't want to lose what I worked at regaining. I also have 3 beautiful kids, 20 & 18 yr old daughters & my 3 yr old son...they need me...Unlike your son, I didn't have parents who tried to support me, they know my medical issues but don't understand addiction. A comment above said something about a soft hearted soul & the demon of drugs..that's so much the truth. Don't blame yourself 1 bit for what could have, should have, would have..It sounds like you're a mother who would do any & everything to take the demon away & remove it from hour son's universe. You don't deserve to suffer & I'm sorry u are. There are no words to help take your pain away...even in time. The power of addiction, whether thru street drugs or prescription drugs for a legitimate issue, is the same. It's a battle & even though u didn't sign on for this journey, drug addiction drags innocent family members in, whether they like it or not..U proved your love by supporting your son & doing whatever u could..I'm just sorry the only peace u have is maybe when u sleep & can't think about real life. I'm sure your son was a good hearted man especially due to the fact, u raised him. I truly believe your words will help another family/families. You're a great soul & I believe there's a reason u found that lil bunny. I'm praying for u & ROM...I will continue to follow u on Twitter & read your blog, whether u know it or not, u have already helped others with your words. (((HUGS)))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations for 10 years of clean living. Im sure its not easy due to your pain issues. I'm so glad you've been able to stay clean for your sake and your kids. I'm sorry about your parents lack of support and appreciation for how hard you've worked to stay clean. Some people just don't understand the power of addiction. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you sharing your story.

      Delete
  15. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for caring and taking the time to leave a comment.

      Delete
  16. I'm reading and sobbing. I'm so very sorry. Sorry for coming late to this story, sorry for what must be unspeakable pain and sorry that I can offer nothing to comfort you. My condolences.


    "Death is nothing more than a doorway, something you walk through." - Dr. George Ritchie


    C. Hall

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It helps knowing that so many of you care. I know everyone has their personal struggles they are dealing with in their own lives so it touches my heart that each of you have taken the time to reach out to me. Thank you.

      Delete
  17. OMG your post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry for your loss. You're right. I can't imagine what you are experiencing right now. We don't know each other, but I offer you a long, warm virtual hug. I think you are a pretty strong woman and you will get through this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Terri. I appreciate your kind words.

      Delete
  18. Im sitting here at the Dr's office crying. That is the most tragic thing that can happen to a parent. It hits home with me also. My daughter is a young adult dealing with a drug habit. Your reality is my fear. We would take a bullet for our babies 1000 times over.
    I fear it may be too late for my daughter. So sorry. If I could hug you I would

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry your daughter is dealing with addiction. It's the worse thing in the world to have to watch your child self destruct. But don't give up hope, I've known hard core drug addicts and alcoholics who suddenly saw the light and entered recovery. Hugs right back to you!

      Delete
  19. My dearest seashell buddy. No words to express my sympathies to you and your hubby. Hugs & prayers from AsianPosh in Ohio. Xo

    ReplyDelete
  20. You did the right thing each time. I love you ROH. No regrets. My little brother is going through something similar. He made a comment a couple weeks ago while I was up in Washington about the gun he has and putting it to his head. My heart hurts for you. But will smile for how long you had him here. Hugs to you & ROM. xoxoxxo Your Hipeegrl Jana......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Jana, I'm sorry to hear this. You must be so worried for your brother. Sending hugs back to you xoxo

      Delete
    2. Thank you love. I pray every night. And thank you for sharing. Xox
      Jana

      Delete
  21. Thank you for taking the time to respond to each of these posts - it means a lot considering all you're going through. Also thank you for your kind words about losing my brother. xoxoxo

    ~Linda aka NoHoHousewife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the least I can do for all of you who have reached out to comfort me and shared bits of your own stories. xoxo

      Delete
  22. I am so sorry for your loss. My daughter has also been struggling with drug addiction and reading this brings my darkest fears to life. Again in Rehab, we hope and pray she gets better. Thank you for sharing and again so sorry ❤

    ReplyDelete
  23. This just may be the time she decides to turn her life around. People find recovery in rehab every day. Let's hope this is just the beginning of a whole new life for your daughter. Sending good thoughts your way! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am so very sorry for your loss. Sparky texted me as I have not been on twitter in quite some time. Reading your blog broke my heart. No mother should bear the pain you are bearing.
    On a lighter note, reading your blog reminded me of the silly banter we enjoyed on twitter. It also reminded me that whatever falling out we had was silly in a sad way.
    If/when real life calms down someday I may return to twitter... I hope we can pick up where we left off before the silly falling out. I like being silly, in a good way.
    Take care ~ Grace

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Grace. Yes, we did have some fun times on Twitter. All the bickering seems so silly now. Sad as it is, real life tragedies sure put things in perspective. xoxo

      Delete
  25. ROH, so sorry to read about the passing of your son. My own son was into drugs for awhile, but thankfully he turned it around. I didn't even know about it until he stopped it, and I think with me moving to Florida in 2002, knowing I will be around him, he had to stop.

    My heart goes out to you and ROM and I do hope each day gets a little better.

    Hugs,
    @True_Thoughts aka Thoughs of Truth

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm sorry I'm late...but I have the same feelings as everyone, my heart aches for you. Just..aches.
    It makes me try to smile that you are still saving and helping animals. It's not even an outlet for you, because I Know that's just the way you are, regardless I am sending you all my love today, truly. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww.. thanks, Linds. Such a sweet thing to say xoxo

      Delete
  27. I just happened to click on "iseeoldpeople" on Empress's site tonight and found a blog I have loved to read but then could no longer find (ReallyOldHousewife). I was so saddened by your loss and just add "I agree" to all the lovely things that have been written above. Please know you are loved and appreciated - you have given a lot of pleasure to those who have been fortunate to have found your site. I found a tiny hole with "moving fur" in it last spring and learned about how rabbits leave their wee ones in these holes - later we had 3 little bunnies and a momma hopping all over the yard. Amazing how these little creatures find a place in your heart. Many blessings for you and ROM. Marti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Marti, for your kind words. Isn't it amazing they birth their babies in such a tiny hole and this one was right in the middle of the yard.

      Delete
  28. today I think of you with a heavy heart......💔

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm overwhelmed with emotions this weekend- grief, anger and soul crushing guilt. So many "if only" thoughts... regret for things I did and said- and for things I didn't say and do.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm so sorry for your grief, I just can't even imagine. The goose bumps crawling all over my body and tears flooding my eyes. I want to hug you and tell you it's okay but we all know it couldn't possibly help. As I said before, this is my darkest fear for me as well. I check up on you often as I fear your emotions are my future...

    ReplyDelete
  31. I am so sorry for your grief. I'm sitting here with goose bumps crawling all over my body, tears flooding my eyes. I want to hug you but know none of that would make a difference. As I said before my darkest fear is what you are going through Know that I check on you often. I fear that your emotions is in my future and it scares me to death. You are a strong woman that I look up to. I love you on twitter and for your strength to carry on......❤

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope with all my being that you don't have to experience this. I wouldn't wish this on my worse enemy. But I understand your fear, have lived with it for years. I hope there is a miracle coming for your family. People do recover, so don't give up hope. Thank you for your kind words. If it wasn't for a promise I made to ROM I don't think I could carry on.

      I've white knuckled it all weekend, trying to act as normal as possible when around ROM. Lord knows he's had to watch me grieve over too many things during our years together. I save the ugly crying for when he's asleep.

      Thanks for checking in on me and caring. xoxo

      Delete

Talk To Me!