I am really getting reflective as the year comes to an end. It has been a really hard year. Not that any of the others weren’t hard, because for the last 5 years have been very difficult as a whole. I have spent much of these five years questioning many things including my sanity. It’s hard not to doubt yourself as a person when you’re watching your child fail at life. I can recite verbatim the information parents are given about addiction not being our fault, and that it’s a brain disease and that often parenting and environment have a slight factor on addiction. I’m not sure I believe all those facts. I imagine a child raised in a shooting den would have a more likely chance of being an addict then a child born in the suburbs. If for no other reason that children tend to follow in their parents footsteps. For that reason I believe that environment plays a bigger factor and that under privileged neighborhoods need more drug prevention resources and support.
I also believe that indirectly environment plays a big factor. A child can be raised in the most supportive and functional atmospheres yet still die on a cold bench with a tourniquet and a needle. Mental health plays such an important role. Mental health encompasses so much more than ones mental ability or stability. Experience and station in life are also important. If a child of a preacher is afraid to tell h/her parents they are gay, it will be detrimental to their mental health. If a child is abused by a relative or neighbor when they were young but never spoke up or even if they did but didn’t work through the trauma, they will seek out a way to calm the feelings inside. If a family of Doctors expects their artistic child to follow in their footsteps instead of going to art school that child will grow resentful and distance themselves, sometimes in the form of drugs not miles.
It is difficult to hear anyone bashing an addict of any kind because no one really knows how that person came to be. How did that person end up on the street? In the gutter? With no teeth or hair? With pickled skin and thinking delays that make it hard to form a sentence? I can’t begin to work out the ways in which life is lost while still living while simultaneously receiving zero sympathy or empathy from society. So my difficult question is how can that change? How can an entire society see things from a different perspective? When someone starts smoking, especially in the last 20 years, they are well aware of the likelihood of getting lung cancer. Or any cancer really. No one ever says that a lung cancer patient deserves whatever they got. I know some people never smoke a day in their lives yet still get cancer. Isn’t that the same with addicts post injury? Those addicts followed the advice of physicians until their bodies because dependent on a drug that they supply, i.e. the physician, cuts off when they decide it’s no longer warranted.
Sometimes I believe it is the little big syndrome. I probably made that name up but often people have to make others feel little so they can feel big. If I talk about how terrible someone else is it is in effect saying that I am better than them. I’m sure that many of those that have hurtful and awful things to say about addicts have their own skeletons in the closet. This sort of redirect will certain assure them that those skeletons are not nearly as bad as the person targeted.
One of the toughest questions I ask myself is why does this keep happening? Why is anyone picking up a drug now? We all know the consequences. No one is immune. No one is unkillable, undeathable, invinsible. The reason that no one knows the answer to that question is because they are looking for the wrong one. We can not solve drug addiction, but we can solve or try to prevent the problems that lead to drug addiction. The system in place shuffles addicts from one program to another, shoving drug facts and 12-step literature down their throat. Families, like mine, do everything in their power to help the addict put the drug down. But the problem started long before an addict picked up that drug. And without the proper information, understanding of the reasons the addiction developed we are simply keeping embers from burning into flames, but they are always smoldering
My last and hardest question I ask myself is why, as this weekend begins which should be the celebration of her birth, the day to honor her coming into the world, a day to spent with her mother, and son, and sister, are we mourning the loss of a beautiful soul. Why are they planning final service arrangements and telling her son she will never come home? Why is my wonderful friend looking at life mothering her grandchild while grieving the loss of her own child? Why did this happen to a family that I know has fought with everything they had, and done everything they could? I don’t understand why a wonderful mother and friend is crying an endless river of tears and afraid to close her eyes because of the image that haunts her dreams. Brittany was an immeasurable asset to the world. She had more to offer than her addiction allowed which now will never be realized. When a life is lost it is a tragedy. When a life is lost for something so senseless and preventable it is a travesty. When society points fingers and makes the victim of said travesty a villain by means of nasty comments, judgments, alienation and dismissal it is a perversion for all humanity. Remembering Brittany for anything other than the beautiful, amazing and giving soul she was is a crime
In loving memory of Brittany Michele Medlin 12/17/1989-12/14/2016