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From parade.com

From parade.com

I’m angry today. Angry and sad and disappointed. Usually, Wednesdays bring us a WARRIOR to recognize, someone who is doing something wonderful to help themselves or others. I’m sure there are many I could mention today, but my thoughts continue to swirl around the death of “Glee” star, Cory Monteith. I laughed out loud at the headline on The Daily News today that read “Glee star heroin shocker!” There was no shock, not even surprise to learn that what killed the 31-year-old was a mix of heroin and alcohol. Duh, he was a drug addict. So was my brother. I’ve talked about him before and I’m sure I’ll talk about him again. My brother Jonathan, was 32 years old when he accidentally overdosed. That description has always annoyed the hell out of me, by the way. There was no accident, he put a needle in his arm and injected poison in to his body, eventually if he continued to do that, he would die. Someone once asked me if I thought my brother had a death wish, without hesitation I answered, yes. If you shoot heroin, you have a death wish, plain and simple. My brother tried to get clean, many many times. He even had a beautiful girlfriend whom he met in treatment and they were getting clean together. It was the first time in years that I had let him in to my life and even then it was only peripherally because I was protecting myself and my family. They were on their way to becoming productive members of society when my brother turned to his girlfriend and said “One last time.” She begged him not to go, but there’s no stopping an addict. I got the call that night that Jonathan was dumped on the steps of a hospital by his “friends” who were more concerned about not getting caught than about the guy in cardiac arrest. Hey, at least they took him to the hospital, right? Jonathan was on life support for several days. They were some of the hardest days I have ever had to face. I had to figure out how to say goodbye to someone who hadn’t been my brother for a long time but who still looked like my brother, who still lived on in my memories both good and bad, who I still loved and wanted so much more for in life. Jonathan passed on his own, sparing my mother more tragedy by thankfully not having to turn off support. There was a startling sense of relief when Jonathan died. Now we didn’t have to jump every time the phone rang, now we didn’t have to worry if he didn’t show up to dinner on time, now we would always know where he was and that he was safe and at rest. His funeral was packed, standing room only. He would have been psyched to see it and would have stood like a rock star to greet everyone with his trademark bear hug and smile. I spoke, my opening line pretty much all I can remember, “Hi, my name is Julie, and my brother is a drug addict.” I cry often when I think about Jonathan, I cry often when I hear of another life lost to drugs, I’m crying now thinking about Monteith who seemingly had everything going for him when he thought “one last time,” not considering it would end his life. I think of my brother’s girlfriend, Ashley, and standing with her so proud when she collected her one year chip from Narcotics Anonymous. I think about the one year anniversary of my brother’s death, when we got the call that Ashley had died shooting up, whether to honor my brother’s memory or to go be with him in some place beyond the pain on this earth, we’ll never know. I think about her funeral that was almost a carbon copy to my brother’s. It makes me angry. Angry and sad and disappointed. That’s not all though, I do have hope, really, I do. I hope that in the loss of my brother, his girlfriend, Cory Monteith, and the others who have passed and will pass, that somewhere in there, a message will come through to my children, all our children, that will help keep them safe and keep them here.

Ghosts of WARRIORS past.

Ghosts of WARRIORS past.

Stay well.