13 Months: An update after a death from addiction

August 31, 2019

Dear Dave,

It's been 13 months since we lost you. And it's been 17 years and 13 months since you and I were a married couple, but our parenting partnership never ended despite the fact that our marriage did. Until you died, we had an understanding that when it came to our boys, we were a team.

This letter is to fill you in on what's happened over the last 13 month.

After a really rough year, our older son has decided he needs a change. Next week, he's moving halfway across the country to your hometown, a place you had always wanted to return to but never did. We are seeing this as an exciting fresh start for him, and he's looking forward to it, but I think he might be a little nervous too. Rightly so. He's never lived outside of our state before, and he's never been so far away from us before either. But your family has offered to help him get settled, and he's going to live with your niece and her kids. It's going to be great for him especially since he'll get to use those incredible fatherly instincts he inherited from you.

I wish you were here to see it.

Our younger son is almost finished with college. He's got one more semester to go for a political science degree. I can't help but remember the way you used to walk the halls of the high school where you taught with a miniature copy of the Constitution in your front pocket. Our boy is studying what you loved. And he's a research and policy intern for our agency this semester. His work will involve researching and supporting legislative efforts related to mental health and addiction. He is figuring out his life and his future. He's going to do great things.

I wish you were here to see it.

And I've been focusing our advocacy work more deeply into the issues of addiction. Now, when I train or consult, I have a more personal view on how a person's life, as well as their loved one's lives,  can dramatically change when substance use disorder is involved. I don't share the details of our story, your story, but I do talk about the fact that it affected us all. I do say it cut your life too short. And I say it stole you away from us years before you actually died. We watched you slowly fade away, a gradual suicide.

I wish you were here to see how hard we are all working to make our lives and others' lives better. Each of us in our own way is trying to make losing you have a purpose.

Forever your parent partner,

P.S. Did you know September is National Recovery Month? How I wish you were here to celebrate it.

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