(Image used with permission from www.michaelshope.net)
We are brought together by the unspeakable, forced into a group no one wants to join. Membership is permanent and there is no escape. Once you join this group (www.HeroinMemorial.org), life as you know it stops. It will never be the same again. Your circumstances have changed and you must find a way to adjust. You were not prepared for this, you feel like you are on a raft in uncharted waters, lost, in the dark and all alone. How do you adjust to the unbearable emptiness , the anger, the fear? How are you supposed to live the rest of your life when a large part of you has died? How do you keep yourself from bursting into tears in the checkout line because of some trigger no one would understand? How do you stop looking to see if he is there waiting for you to get off work? How do you stop checking your phone for messages or texts? There are so many questions...and no answers. We are left to fend for ourselves, tending our wounds that no one sees.
Losing a loved one to a drug is a special kind of pain. We continuously torture ourselves as we sift through each and every decision we have ever made. We carry the overwhelming guilt that we failed. We failed that person we loved so much, now they are dead. And if that isn't enough, society tells us it is our loved ones fault for trying drugs in the first place. Our loved one could quit if they really wanted to stop using. Our loved one is labeled a junkie, a waste. No one witnessed the horrifying effects of detoxing. No one cleaned up the vomit and helplessly listened to the excruciating crying for relief, holding them as muscle spasms took control of their legs, believing heartfelt promises they would never do drugs again.
We go to counseling, we join support groups and we brave a fake smile when someone asks us how we are doing. Inside, we are grasping at any explanation of this travesty that we think will help us feel better. Why did my loved one die when there are such evil people in the world? Why was it my loved one that succumbed to his demons when others go on using for years and years? But deep down inside, we really don't care about the answers, we just want our love back. We would give everything we had including our lives just for five more minutes...
We are the loved ones of those lost to drugs.
- Danielle Suiter - Share Your Addiction Journey! Addiction Awareness
#HeroinMemorial | #GoneToSoon | #AskMeAboutMyAngel
We want to thank Michael's HOPE for giving us permisson to use the photograph here which includes one of their wristbands which you can purchase on their website.
Michael's HOPE is an organization that educates, prevents and spreads awareness of the current heroin and opioid epidemic we are facing. We understand it is very important to speak to kids in schools, we have made it our goal to not have to charge schools for our programs. All donations will go into this organization and allow us to spread the awareness to our communities and school districts free of charge, while also hosting Narcan trainings also at no cost.
PAUL MAFFETONE - FOUNDER
Born March 31st 1989, a lifetime resident of Laurel, NY lost his older brother Michael Maffetone to a heroin overdose on February 11th 2012 at the age of 29. Although Paul has never suffered from addiction himself, after the loss of his best friend, has dedicated his life helping others who are suffering from addiction themselves or suffering from the loss of a loved one to these horrific circumstances. Spreading awareness and education on the current epidemic and fighting the negative stigma associated with addiction in particular is his greatest passion.
Learn more about them at www.michaelshope.net