Susan’s Story, Part 2: ‘Missing Michael – A Story by Blog’

P1010975Susan lost her son Michael to a drug overdose on the 22nd January, 2010. I, for one, cannot begin to understand what someone must go through after such a loss.

However, I gained some appreciation from the Susan’s extraordinary writing in a blog she published on our online recovery community Wired In To Recovery. I was captivated and deeply moved by Susan’s writing, as were many other people in our community.

This is Part 2 of a slightly edited version of Sue’s blogs. Check out Part 1 if you have not seen it.

Stuck! (4th March, 2010)
I can’t do this. As much as I want to move forward, I am finding it extremely hard. I couldn’t even get the breakfast thing right and all I am doing is eating crap.

I have no idea how you people out there ever recover from addiction. You are such marvelously strong individuals. I can’t even do this small thing. I just stuff my face with crap and cry. What you all have to do is climb a mountain – how do you get the strength do this? I wonder at people moving on from addiction and the determination, the grit, the strength. If I could muster up some of your character then I would be a stronger person.

Funny really, but it’s easy for people to blame addicts when most of us can’t give up smoking, over/under eating, laziness or overworking, and all those seemingly small things that we seem to need or are addicted to. I can’t even seem to return to work at the moment, to a job I really enjoy, because any little thing seems to be reducing me to tears. I was so determined to write a daily diary, do this and do that.

I have also been reading the lovely replies I have received and marvel at your strength and for some reason want to kick myself because I am none of those things people say. Oh yeah, hear we go again, wallowing in self-pity!

Jon, my partner, said that he thinks I am obsessed with writing this blog and maybe I am. However, although it has been so therapeutic for me, I want to know how I actually ‘move on’. I seem to know and understand the process of moving on and have the tools, but that is no good without the action.

I remember one day thinking about Michael’s addiction and saying to myself, “Right, I am going to give up chocolate as it gives me headaches. And if I am expecting Michael to give up a huge part of his life, that in some way he needed both physically and emotionally, then surely I could stop eating silly little chocolate?”

Some of you might be thinking how dare she compare chocolate and addiction, but I am trying to say that I could not achieve this small insignificant thing. But we, that is the world, expect addicts to suddenly give up their addiction, get clean. How? With sheer determination. And let’s face it, most of the population are sadly lacking in this strength of character.

I seem to be stuck and unable to move forward and yes I know it is about choice. Maybe I am not ready, but deep down I know I am. It’s like my feet are stuck in concrete, but my body is leaning forward. Except – and this is a big one – part of me wants to stay stuck in the concrete. What is that all about?

I need to unravel these things in my head and sometimes blogging is not enough. It is not quite the same as sitting and talking with someone or a group of people. Ah! I see another excuse. Wow, the power of reflection!

Just writing here makes me feel privileged and thank you to you all. Sue

Choice (7th March)
There has been a lot written on this website about choice. And in some ways I am choosing to be stuck, to overeat, to binge, to spend, to be miserable, to hate myself, and to feel, ‘What is the point?’ Today was difficult for me even to find the energy to get dressed and I guess I chose to do all these things, to make these choices.

So tonight, I choose to be miserable and go to bed and I still think all you recovering addicts are bloody marvellous. Love and hugs, Sue x

Confusion (9th March)
Today, I tried to go into the office to say ‘hello’. I was on my way, when my daughter called to say her partner had been arrested (another story). She was sobbing down the phone.

I went straight around to her house, where she lives with her three children. She was so upset and it all became too much and I started sobbing whilst trying to comfort her. Then there are the children to consider, who live this mad life of emotions. Especially the oldest, who didn’t want to go to school as he wanted to stay at home with his mum (I could fully understand this).

So having ‘calmed’ the situation down (despite my emotional outburst), I managed to go into the office and it was terrible. People looked at me with a kind of shock and disbelief and then said, “Can I give you a hug?” They all meant well, but… I found myself sitting at my desk sobbing and sobbing. I left work (I am still signed off) and the day then passed in a kind of haze.

I feel confused. I feel confused because so much of life is about choice and I have read and re-read Laurance’s comment on the ‘Choice’ blog I wrote. He has made some very valid comments and although I don’t feel I have a lot of choice at the moment, another part of me feels that I have.

Laurance has stopped me in my tracks and I have also started reflecting on the way I work. I would hate to think that I say to my clients, “Well, you have a choice”, because I know it is not as simple as that. Choice is hard and when you are in a difficult place, choice is sometimes not an option.

Yet, I seem to beat myself up about me having a choice. I don’t know what to do. Laurance, I am mixed up, but I feel it has made me realise that I am beating myself up.

Wow – what is going on? Love and confusion, Sue x

Passing thought (9th March)
‘Sometimes the best helping hand you can get is a good firm push!’ Joanne Thomas

This was one of today’s passing thoughts and I thought it suited me to a tee. Today, I visited one of the schools I work in and it was difficult. I literally had to push myself through the door and again there were those well meaning, sad, “Oh my god, it’s her!” stares. And well meaning comments such as, “He’s in a better place” or “Have you thought about changing jobs, as your job is so stressful?”

I know everyone means well, but it is as if I am having to visit my grief every time I meet someone I have not seen since Michael died. And, of course, I haven’t mentioned to  you all that on Thursday it is… the meeting!

I am meeting with the staff who cared for Michael, so we are able to talk together about Michael as a person and the events of the night before he died. I am also collecting Michael’s belongings from the ward, so I will definitely need a big push to go through those doors. And yes, this is another step on my journey and my own recovery.

It still amazes me how I have had so many lovely supportive e-mails and yes, challenging comments, which have been good to think through. So goodnight my friends and I will not need any push to snuggle into my bed. Love and hugs.

Analysis paralysis (10th March)
Today, I didn’t even get into work to say hello. I was planning to visit yet another one of the schools in which I work, but I just sat at home and cried and cried. A friend happened to call around, and whilst I tried to disguise the pain in my voice, she picked it up and we spent a couple of hours together just talking, which was good.

Anne Marie made me stop and think when she wrote about me being busy and maybe not allowing myself time to grieve (she didn’t use those exact words) and she is right. But I do not know how to grieve. I keep trying to ‘get over it’ and get on with things, but I don’t know how to do anything. It’s as if I have forgotten how to be.

Also, Andrea brought up an interesting point about when she felt she had ‘analysis paralysis’ and was always trying to analyse things. I think this is me. I seem to be trying to work things out, to be a certain way, to think certain things, and to be busy doing and getting over my grief.

What should I do? Shut myself away, cry, sleep or at least stay in bed. Or should I try and get back to work? I don’t know how to do ‘nothing’. I don’t mean nothing as in lazing about, but just nothing. I really don’t know how to act any more. Is it years of being in the business of ‘reflective practice’, or years of training to analyse everything. And of course, as with many of us who work within the ‘profession,’ the training I undertook meant many years of personal therapy!

What a laugh that is – years of personal therapy and I don’t even know how to be me anymore. Who am I anyway? Am I Sue, Michael’s mother, who misses her son so very much, or am I the together professional who knows the ‘stages of grief’, etc, etc?

Of course, I don’t know the stages of grief. I don’t know how to act, and this has been a fantastic learning curve for me. And I know in the future it will enhance my work (here I go again, work hat on). I wish I could just shut up and be me, but I no longer know who I am.

I feel lost and so very confused. I wonder if I should go for some grief therapy as suggested in one of the comments, but again my work hat goes on and thinks, “But I do that in my job.”

Just shut up Sue and be Sue. Sad, lonely and desperate Sue, who no longer knows how to be herself. Somehow sitting here typing, feeling so detached. I want to speak to Michael and ask him what he would do as he used to have so many insightful thoughts.

What do I do? I can’t ‘just be’. Anyway, what exactly does that mean?

And as for choice, what is all that about? Am I choosing to sit here and be some kind of confused mad woman who doesn’t even know herself any more? Or should I leap up and down and scream, or calmly start writing a plan of action?

I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to behave. How do I choose when I don’t even know what to choose or how to act? Who are these people with all these answers? Who are these professionals who are meant to know and support/help? Every day I see them in my job and I want to shout, “Shut the f… up!”

What was that remark on Monday? “Well, Michael’s in a better place now”. What the hell does that mean? He’s dead for God’s sake!

Sometimes, I feel like knocking some sense into myself. Literally banging my head with my fists so that I can sort of get some sense into my head. Or screaming and leaping, so that I can get some of the energy that is locked inside. But no, I calmly go about my business, with the odd outbreak of sobbing.

Michael come home and give your mum a hug – just a little hug would be nice. I can’t believe I will never see him again and yet I just sit here and type. Why – what is the purpose behind all this?

Still I am analysing and trying to work it out. How do I stop? Even sleeping brings little peace and certainly no rest at the moment.

Maybe I am depressed and maybe some little pills might help (Prozac – the happy pill). But you know what I do not want – some false sense of feeling, of being detached. And then who am I? No better that someone who chooses (oh that word again!) to take drugs or drink – ah, but someone might say Prozac is on prescription.

Don’t make me laugh – the whole bloody thing is a farce. Actually, life is a farce and I do not know how to live my life and be Sue anymore. How do I just get up or move or speak and be myself – how do I do it? Sue x

Nothing (11th March)
Nothing to say, nothing to feel.

It’s me (13th March)
Hello, it’s me. Except I do not know who is me any more.

Yesterday, I was numb. I cannot find the energy to talk or write about the meeting that took place and how some members of staff were supportive. However, there was an element of justification and defense (understandable, I guess).

At the end of the day, Michael is dead. Let’s just sort out what went wrong and learn from it. Speak soon, Sue x

Paveitwithgold (13th March)
I have been floundering ‘in the mud’ and, as paveitwithgold wrote, “That is where the miracles happen.” I have just read his blog and it is has been so uplifting for me. Where he writes about ‘being powerless over this ride’, very much reflects the serenity prayer that Ann Marie reminded me of.

I love how he has written about ‘Recovery being very personal’. About each of us having to do the work – and that ‘no one can do recovery for me’. I am still trying to move out of the weeds, and it’s such inspirational blogs like this one, ‘Top of the List’, that helps me along the way. Thank you so very much to its author and I wish you well on your journey. Love and hugs, Sue x

Sunday – Mothering Sunday (14th March)
Well, it came and it has almost past. I found today difficult, wondered whether I am now the mother to two or three children and everything felt so pointless. Do you cease to be a mother once your child has died?

However, sitting here thinking about what to write has made me wonder how my other two children are feeling now time has passed. I have asked them, and do try to talk about their brother Michael, but they are completely ‘closed’

But what I think is troubling me is that maybe I have become quite obsessive about Michael since he died. And yes, I do have two surviving children and also a stepson who must be feeling even more isolated. Have I got too caught up in my grief that I am failing them as a mother?

I am also worn out with my grief and it is so soul-destroying. I wondered if I was frightened that if I started to recover it meant that Michael was becoming even more far away.

Today, I didn’t want to get up, but tonight I feel like I am ready for a little recovery. You know, one little step leads to another. So I went and laid some flowers where Michael died with a little card from me to him and then lit a candle in the chapel where he had his funeral. It was peaceful and sad.

Being sad is okay. Thinking about Michael is okay and I need to move on and start to live my life again. Perhaps a little differently, maybe take a different path – but who knows? And as paveitwithgold wrote in his blog, “The joy of life can carry me gently.”

And you know what? It is me that is making it more bumpy and I love how he wrote, “No one can do my recovery for me, I need to own it, cherish it and be proud of it.” Thank you so much for these beautiful words.

Well, maybe I am ready. Thank you and a special hug from a mother who has love to share. Love to you all, Sue

Dual Diagnosis (15th March)
Look, I know its late but I have just spent the last hour or so putting together a letter to the local area Joint Commissioning Manager about my concerns on their dual diagnosis strategy and how it is sadly failing this often excluded and high risk group of people.

I have had concerns for a long time and recognise that dual diagnosis can be one of the most challenging areas or work within mental health care. It can also be one of the most rewarding. Unfortunately, many of these clients find themselves ‘falling between’ the services, never fully meeting the criteria of mental health services, addiction services or social care. They are always ‘somebody else’s problem’.

“Increasingly, psychiatrists and drug counsellors agree that both disorders must be treated at the same time.” (Dott, 2002)

Anyway, my letter continues outlining concerns raised by workers within the field and inviting him to contact me to discuss further so that a positive way forward can be achieved. Hope I don’t p— him off, but then this is about positive outcomes, not blame or criticism and certainly not somebody’s hurt ego.

Wow – did I really say that and did I really write this letter – sending it tomorrow. Nervous Sue x

Flowers (18th March)
Today, I spent some time with the ground staff at the hospital where Michael died. A few weeks ago I would have written ‘was found dead!’ as this was the reality of what happened, but I feel a bit softer now.

We discussed planting spring flowering bulbs where Michael died and I am writing to obtain permission to have a bench placed there. That will be a lovely place to sit and reflect. Not just for me, but also so many people who use the grounds of the hospital.

I like the ideas of spring flowers as they burst through the ground every spring, bringing a renewed sense of hope and colour and sunshine to the world. And that is how I want to remember Michael.

Interestingly enough, I find it difficult not to think, “Well, that is where Michael was, at the place of hope and sunshine.” After he died, I discovered how much sunshine he brought to so many people.

I met someone today when I was at the hospital who had worked at the homeless shelter for over 20 years and had attended Michael’s funeral. He told me that although Michael had troubles he brought so much generosity and sparkle to so many people. How wonderful to have someone say that about him.

Flowers. It reminds me of Christmas when a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived for me and Michael had attached a note saying he wanted to buy someone some flowers. He knew how much I liked flowers and he loved me very much and I received these wonderful flowers.

My sister said to me the other day when we were talking about Mother’s Day that she doesn’t like anyone to buy her flowers as they die and they are a waste of money. The remark made me sad, as I love flowers and I know they die and it reminded me of Michael and how much I loved him. Sadly, he died but his life was never a waste. How sad.

Thinking of Michael, my heart is aching and it is still difficult to believe that I will not see him again. Unfortunately, unlike spring bulbs, he will not burst through the ground and bloom again. But I hope that I will be able to start to move on in my life. I doubt if I will ever burst anywhere, but I would like to ‘bloom again’ – just little steps, as my friends would say. Love to you all – I hope to get a little more sleep tonight. Sue x

Sadness (19th March)
Today, I have felt this overwhelming sadness. At times, I have felt an immense feeling of emptiness and I have had no control over the tears.

At this precise moment in time, I feel more ‘in control’ – you know how I like to feel in control and more able to cope. But it is quite scary, as it comes over me like a wave of intense sadness. A feeling that seems to drown me in a huge feeling of loss.

I have been thinking about Michael on and off for most of the day and just can’t believe that he is dead. I just can’t seem to get my head round the fact (and it is a fact) that I will not see him again. I won’t hear his voice, or see his smile, or feel the touch of his hand. I just can’t believe it.

I know some of you might be thinking that it is true and in a sense I do believe it. But you know what, it is difficult to describe, that although my rational brain believes it my ‘other’ brain won’t believe it or accept it. And somewhere in the middle is this feeling that it’s just unreal.

I know I have ‘good’ memories but I want the here and now. I need to speak to him and touch his hand and laugh with him. I don’t just want memories, as good as they may be. And let me tell you there are also some terrible memories.

Seeing his picture and looking into his eyes – how is it that he no longer exists? Where is he?

“Dearest Michael, it is true that we didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye and you know what, I normally speak to you every day. Yet the day you died I was busy at work and I didn’t get round to it. Well, there is no more chances, no second time around, no chance to make a difference – no chance for nothing.”

I can’t even put into words or express what I want to say? I just want him back and I feel like a child jumping up and down because they cannot have their toy or their own way. And this is not about a toy, but my son. I want him back, I need to talk with him and see him.

Dearest Michael – I will always love you. Your hearbroken mum Sue.

A few days away (19th March)
Hello everyone, I will be going away for a few days break. I do not know if I will have access to the internet, but I’ll take all your love, encouragement and prayers with me. You are very special people. Love and hugs, Sue x

Other side of the world (28th March)
Hello everyone. I have access to a computer for a short period of time. I am not literally on the other side of the world, but it seems a bit like that. My pain has come with me and it is so difficult to try and be happy and enjoy the sun. I have missed writing my blog as it has been very therapeutic in many ways, and has kept Michael close by me.

I sent him a postcard today, like I always do and was going to send it to ‘heaven’, then to the hospital where he died, but I do not know where he is. So I sent it to my home where I can keep it with his other things – remember, I picked up his belongings (less than a bin liner full).

I can’t believe he has been dead for two months. I have tried to imagine him swimming in the sea and sitting in a sailing boat, and maybe he is in all these places.

So much pain and so much pressure to be normal, to be happy. Yes, the sunshine is absolutely lovely and I have tried to be positive. It’s just difficult. At lease I can hide here, but my internet time is up and I miss you all loads and your words of support.

I know I am so very lucky to be here. I just want to be home, in my bed, in familiar surroundings where I feel safe and closer to Michael.

Thank you, my lovely friends. Hope to read your messages and replies when I get home because the internet clock is ticking and probably I wont be able to post this blog. Here’s posting with love and hugs, Sue x

My son’s birthday (8th April, 2010)
Today is Michael’s birthday and he would have been born at around this time 29 years ago. Except he is dead and I feel dead. It has been a terrible day and it is a terrible evening. I am crying and can hardly see the screen for crying.

Tomorrow, I am supposed to go back to work. And yes I will cope and days will pass into weeks and time will heal. It’s just at this moment in time I feel awful. It is as if I can’t breathe and I want to write so much but I do not know what to say and words fail me. Instead, I cry and cry.

The pain is real, sort of stuck in my chest as if my breath is catching and I just wish it would end and I could see my son again and talk with him and be his mum. If only we had taken different paths and then maybe things would have been different. How can I return to work… how I go on… how?

Sometimes I feel as if I am being self-indulgent, but I cannot talk to my other children as they are in pain and angry. My daughter and I end up arguing and my other son feels like he is stuck in the middle. My partner wants to cuddle me and I want to push him away.

On Wired In, I can rant and rave and cry and shout and say that I feel shit and life is crap and I want Michael back and I hate drugs and drink. Yet at the same time I want to get drunk and have something to take away the pain.

I sometimes feel as if I can’t go on pretending everything is okay when it isn’t. I want to talk to people who understand and those who at least have some level of understanding.

Michael had so much life ahead of him and I wanted him to live. I just want to feel better. I want, I want, I want to stop feeling this pain – it is terrible.

I just want to sleep for days and not face the morning. I just want to hide and not go out and to stop pretending that all is okay. Because it isn’t, it’s crap. But then time has passed and surely I should feel better, yet I don’t.

Sorry about this, but I can’t begin to describe this feeling of despair. I am sorry if I am making people cross for going on and on. But this is a place where I can be, and at the moment I feel shit and the pain is unbearable. Sue

Return to work (9th April)
Yesterday was a terrible day and today has been much better. I know that yesterday I seemed like a mad demented woman, but this is the only place that I can really say how I feel – otherwise I can see myself being sectioned! Seriously though, most of the time I can put on a front, act okay, keep myself removed from the emotion and not feel. And then I can let it all out on my blog.

Today, I was up earlier than normal and into work at 08:15. I sat in the car for about 20 minutes and then went in and it was okay. Some colleagues cuddled me, another chatted. Since I work in the mental health services, people don’t normally shy away from talking about the ‘unspoken’. But some did; they said hello and quickly shuffled out of the room or were suddenly engulfed in their computer. Others were visibly upset and shocked that I had returned to work!

However, it was good. I just sat and worked through my e-mails in a systematic way and sorted some paperwork and had lots of cups of tea and felt a real sense of achievement. It was as if the sorting, filing, sifting and organising helped me both emotionally as well as practically.

It was good and whilst I feel a little shaky tonight, tomorrow will be another good day. Thank you – with sincere love and gratitude. Sue x x

A stuck record? (13th June, 2010)
I am not sure where to begin. Beginning to blog again doesn’t seem to flow as it did when I was in my early stages of grief. I wonder how everyone is and I am sorry I just disappeared for a couple of months. But I have always withdrawn myself when things are difficult but not overwhelming.

How am I getting on with life? Getting up is easier most days, but still I look at pictures of Michael (especially his last photo) and just think to myself, “Where has he gone?” I still can’t believe I will never see him again. It still somehow feels unreal.

I have wondered how you all are. So many lovely messages that I just didn’t get around to replying to. So many lovely poems that I didn’t say thank you for.

Sitting here reflecting on the last few months is like being in a haze. I wonder what the future will hold, the new friends I will meet. But most of all I know that things will be different, just as they will be for you. Let me know how you are? Love and hugs, Sue

NHS Inquiry – my son! (14th June)
Hey folks, guess what? It’s been confirmed that the NHS external inquiry will start on Thursday and I will meet with those undertaking the task. I don’t know how I feel about it, as it is already bringing up some emotions I don’t want to feel again. But then the ‘little’ tablets are giving me some kind of grounding.

I want to find out what happened and the events leading up to Michael’s death. I know it won’t bring him back, but it might possibly lead to some changes for other patients with dual diagnosis.

I have been given some advice from MIND and RETHINK, but at this moment in time they are unable to offer me a case-worker. You know what it’s like. You go along to these things, and because you are emotionally involved, it can sometimes be impossible to be rational.

My partner Jon is coming along with me and we will put together a set of questions we want to ask. However, at the end of day my lovely son Michael is dead and it might be too painful to go through it all again, to relive the events of that tragic day and the days beforehand.

I can’t even begin to imagine the following days, but it was like a nightmare. This is just the start of a long inquiry, which will ultimately be followed by a Coroner’s Inquest, which I guess will then let me grieve properly. What is to grieve properly?

So I will keep you posted and thank you for all the lovely messages I have received. Love and hugs, Sue x

Resentment (1st July, 2010)
Hello everyone. Maybe ‘resentment’ is too strong a word, but the reason I have not blogged for a while is because I feel resentful that everyone else is still alive, that so many of you are in recovery and my son is dead.

Please do not get cross with me, because I would hate for you not to be in recovery or considering recovery. But I do not know how to handle these feelings of resentment that everyone still has hope and I don’t… and Michael doesn’t.

I wonder if any of you can understand what I am saying, as maybe I should be getting over it by now. But somehow I want to be involved in the drug community, but feel somehow as if I shouldn’t.

I miss you all, but sometimes it is too painful reading your stories and your hope and all the recovery work that is taking place and how agencies and rehabs seem to be rethinking and making things better. Even Portsmouth is relooking at their dual diagnosis strategy. I wonder why that is?

Anyway, I would welcome any support so that I can throw away these feelings and start engaging in the wonderful world of recovery. Love to you all, sue x

It’s been a while! (31st July)
I feel a bit of a fraud blogging after so long. Especially after so many of you have been supporting me over the last six or seven months, but… (why do I use that word – what an excuse?). I have been just about living recently, putting on a brave face and dying a little inside.

Michael has been gone a while now, although it seems just like yesterday when I had the phone call that started an emotional roller coaster, “Sue, Michael is dead!”

I have been busy getting a little more involved in the whole drug recovery scene. I have returned to Families Anonymous, as I missed that close comfort and being able to talk face-to-face with others. All of it has helped, but it would be nice to have a Wired In support group in person – if you know what I mean.

I am booked to come along to the Recovery Walk in September and it will be my first time in Glasgow. I am sure that it will be an emotional time – both happy and sad, kind of mixed together. Happy, that I will meet so many of you in person. Sad, that my son Michael will not be walking alongside me.

So many special people have supported me and I have heard from so many who say, “Sue, it is important your story is heard”. Yes, I know that I can and hope to make a difference. I just wonder that it came at such a cost.

I have recently started reading Tim Salmon’s book ‘Schizophrenia – Who Cares?’ and it is very difficult reading for me personally. I can only manage a couple of pages at a time.

I think one of the things I must do is keep in contact, instead of just isolating myself and just working and living. To all of those people who have continued to support me – I will not write names as I am sure I will leave someone out – Thank You. I think of you all often, but (that word again) I chose (that word to do with choice) to withdraw, be alone and not reach out for support.

So I guess I am more ready now to reach out for that support and maybe get to know you all a little better. Love and hugs, Sue x

Holding Hands (10th August, 2010)
Guess what? I have had so many lovely messages and it is like you are all there reaching out and holding my hand.

I was very moved by the replies I received to my recent blog, especially when someone suggested that when I do the Recovery Walk, my son Michael will be walking alongside me, holding my hand (metaphorically speaking – wow that’s a ‘good’ word). And holding my other hand will be so many others who too will be walking the walk.

As I sit here typing with tears flowing down my face, I wonder what it is all about and in a way I know. It is about ‘holding hands’, supporting each other, and whilst I can no longer support my son, I can love who he was and through that love support others.

You know what? It really makes you question life and I will be changing my lifestyle in quite a bit way in September by reducing my paid working hours and giving something back to society. Yes, I will have to make financial and other sacrifices, but what do I really want out of life? I don’t want to be on this financial treadmill, but feel a real draw to working/volunteering in the world of addiction.

Maybe I could be a supporter or a listening ear. Some of you might think I am too emotionally vulnerable. And yes, I admit I am still emotional and at times very vulnerable. But with that vulnerability comes a strength and understanding that cannot be taught, but only experienced and at a very high price.

I really feel inspired by all of you and especially those in recovery. In my own way, I too am in recovery and am very excited about meeting so many of you as I walk the Road to Recovery not only with my son in my heart but with you too. Speak soon, Sue x

Poetry (21st August)
I was wondering whether it would be worth having a forum on Wired In in which people could up put their poetry or inspirational writings. I know that in my early stages of grief, many Wired In users sent me some lovely poems and passages and indeed many of my friends did the same? What do you think? I would be interested in seeing and reading poems that have been inspirational to you and indeed if you have written any poetry.

This was a particularly poignant poem that was sent to me a couple of months after Michael’s death, when I seemed to be crying all the time and was full of despair and sadness:

“You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that

he’ll come back or you can open your

eyes and see all that he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because
you can’t see him or you can be full

of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow

and live yesterday or you can be happy

for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only

that he’s gone or you can cherish

his memory and let it live on.

You can close your mind, be empty

and turn your back or you can do

what he’d want:

“Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

Love to you all, sue x

Reaching Out: UK Recovery Walk (20th September, 2010)
Hello everyone.  I will be coming up to Glasgow on Friday for the walk on Saturday and I am nervous. Yes, I have talked to so many of you online that at times I feel I know you really well, but I will not know anyone by face. And yep, I am feeling slightly nervous.
 My friend suggested I blogged just to get a few hands to hold and someone to sit with whilst I have a coffee, so this is my blog.

I am from Emsworth, near Portsmouth, and wondered if any other ‘southerners’ will be going. I know I am rambling, but I do that when I feel a little nervous.

I want to come to celebrate Recovery. But also I know it will be very difficult for me because my own son Michael died from a heroin overdose in January. And whilst he will be walking alongside me in spirit, I will be sad.

I will definitely be listening to the Recovery tunes, many of which are key players in my car, and if I am particularly brave will be talking on the open mic. So already I feel a little better about coming to Glasgow and look forward to meeting you all. I will be the one in the Recovery t-shirt. Whoops, so will you! Love and hugs, sue x

Isolation (31st December, 2010)
Some of you may know my story and it is one that at times is still too painful to share. It is because of that pain I choose to isolate myself. By isolating myself, I do not have to pretend, to share, to relate to anyone, put on a front. And ultimately I do not have to feel; because not only do I isolate myself physically, but also emotionally.

Ultimately by isolating myself, I am slowly destroying who I am. It is as if the person before my son Michael died no longer exists, and the person after Michael’s death is sad and weighed down by despair.

Following the Recovery Walk, I sank into a dark, dark place and have struggled at times to see any daylight. I met so many lovely people and recovery was all around me. But it seemed to highlight that I had no hope, and despite so much love, I crashed.

I know the only way out of that isolation is to reach out to others. Many of you here have embraced me with open arms and offered unconditional support and love. And I know that I have to open my door again; even it is only ajar.

So to come back to Wired In and to see your blogs, and read your stories, has given me fresh hope. Hope that will support me as January approaches.

So I send this message with humility to all those who strive forward in their lives and with love to all of you who have experienced those dark days, yet still reach out. Thank you, Sue x

 > Part 3

> Part 1

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