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July 11, 2008

Everywhere And No Where

Those first few days...weeks...and months following my son's death from inhalant abuse at 16 I felt  like a derelict ship in a gale force storm battered constantly from all sides by a relentless and merciless sea.  My son was everywhere around me and no where all at the same time.  Memories crashed upon me without warning from all aspects of my existence, sights, sounds, tastes and touches.  I was powerless to prevent them from bringing me to my knees as tears flowed and sobs took my breath away.

My wife called them blindsides but to me they were more like emotional land-mines because they seemed to blow me to pieces when I came upon totally unawares.  It happened a lot that first year.  To say that I missed David does not even begin to describe the emptiness I felt in my soul or the pain that emanated from my heart whose pace had once quickened at the sound of his voice, his footsteps on the stairs taking them two at a time or the gaze from his hazel eyes. 

But slowly, over time the pain has dulled and I find that I have become better at controlling  or anticipating what causes the explosion.  It does not mean that I am "over" David's death or that I have "moved on", no parent who has lost a child can ever do that.  What I did find that worked for me was that overtime I slowly began to integrated his death into my own being.  My memories of Dave have become my soul and today I can once again take refuge there and let the glimpses of the past roam freely in my subconscious without the pain of grief.  His memory also became the light in my heart that had been so tragically and brutally snuffed out that warm sunny day in June so many years ago. 

And most remarkable of all, today the land-minds and the blindsides have become moments of serenity and comfort for me because I do not fear them anymore.  Today I embrace them and by doing so find that at those moments David is more near than ever, touching my cheek and whispering in my ear..."Love ya Dad".

July 11, 2008 at 10:51 AM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2008

Inhalant Abuse And War

An odd confluence of events has led to a rise in inhalant abuse among a population that has not previously been considered "at risk".  America soldiers in an unpopular war, in countries dominated by muslim theology whose teachings forbid the use of alcohol and drugs, coupled with strict US military policies prohibiting the use of drugs and alcohol have for sometime now been turning to inhalants as a way to get high and escape the fog of war.  As most probation and treatment professionals know when abstinence policies are strictly enforced inhalants, which are cheap, easy and accessible, become a likely substitute.  Add to the equation  the fact that troops have more high tech gear in this war that requires constant cleaning with products like computer dusters and it's no wonder soldiers have been abusing inhalants since the invasion of Afganistan.

The recent death of a decorated returning Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD who turned to inhalants as a means to help cope with his disorder is a warning to us all that some of our young men returning from the overseas may be bringing home more than just their memories of war.

July 6, 2008 at 09:25 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack