For personal reasons, this week I sought solace in the words of others who have faced loss by addiction. I found a series of obituaries, publicly denouncing the epidemic we face. Elegies, written by the grieving, furious and anguished families.
Some are shocked, raging against fate, others speak of surrender. They can almost acknowledge a relief. The night mare is over, for themselves as well as their child, their sibling, their friend.
These unknown poets attempt to create sense in the midst of a senseless loss, to warn, to plead, to express their outrage. They describe their fallen angels and lost souls. The many souls who have crossed over, in the throes of opioid addiction.
They ask us to stop and pay attention.
I wrote my own poem for the people we’ve lost this way, stringing together the words of the aching families, who found the strength to hold up a lantern though their dark forest of grief.
You, spent your last evening talking with your parents on their front porch.
. . .loved to take the family dog on long walks.
… had dazzling blue eyes and a mischievous spirit.
…were a mother, doing the best you were able.
You are finally at peace.
You, had the light of an intelligent and inquisitive spirit.
… had the pleasure of loving a beautiful woman.
… had laughter that could be heard for miles.
You are a beautiful soul, a philosopher and poet.
You, were able to meet and hold your newborn niece.
…left behind your five year-old son.
… loved your beautiful nine month old daughter.
You were rediscovering the beauty in life.
You, grew up a happy, spirited child.
… said visiting the Salvador Dali Museum was the highlight of your life.
… rescued pit-bulls, and loved all creatures.
You had a heart as big as your beard.
You, are reunited with your brothers who awaited your arrival to heaven.
… loved your little dog, Roo.
… quoted lines from Shakespeare as soon as you could talk.
… graduated from college, proud, in 2016.
You had dreams.
Heroin, will steal your baby girl right out of your arms.
Heroin, more powerful than the words a mother could say to her dying son.
Heroin has claimed your body.
But there is no doubt that heaven claimed your soul.
You were the light in every room,
… loved Harry Potter and red lipstick.
… stitched your dreams in the back of a pillow.
You had just found the love of your life.
We, tried everything.
. . . are heart broken.
… have a hole in the family we cannot fill.
. .. loved you with every fiber in our bodies.
We will break the silence.
. . .