My dear sweet Neil,

I wish this letter was to you, not in memory of you.  As my pen hits this paper, my thoughts of what I want to say, escape into the otherworld.  Perhaps that’s where you will hear them best.  The words are of frustration, anger and despair and most significantly, of love.

The words wrap their arms around me.  Sometimes they try to suffocate the life from me. The words that I wish I had known to keep you here on this earth never graced my lips. Others’ words still assault me as they once did you…words like… drug users belong to a sub culture and are weak and lazy.  They should be put out on the street…words of hate, of shame, of worthlessness…words of fear.  Some words were of pseudo support… as in “Let me write you another prescription for oxycontin.”

You struggled.  You searched, you lost your friends, you fell down, you got up again and you died anyways.  You died alone with your pain and with the weight of society’s stigma dehumanizing you. You died, and I could not save you. I could not stop your pain or the demons of the world who took you from us.  How I wish the judgement was gone.  How I wish you had been offered suboxone.  How I wish a system was in place to honor and support your needs. How I wish the edges of the torment of your leaving so soon would soften.

And then… I see a ladybug crawling up a piece of grass and am brought to tears. Since your leaving, beauty shows up, as does grief, when least expected.

I love you,

As always,

Your Mom

P.S.  In the words of Dylan Thomas… I continue to not go gently into that good night and I will rage, rage against the dying of the light.