I just had a conversation with my 8 year old daughter about drugs. Why. Who. Where. When. Everything I knew, I told her. She asked smart questions, I answered her smart questions the best I possibly could.
In the newspaper, I showed her a photo of a boy that used to be part of our life a few years ago. He would come to our house, have dinner with us (he was shy, so shy, but sweet, so sweet.) He was my niece’s boyfriend. They were in high school, Brian and I were married with two kids. They would come over and play with Anna and Noah.
Long story short, years went by, roads turned bad, drugs introduced. I can’t go into the deals of their lives because it’s not my story to tell. But we watched things get bad. Suicide attempts, an abusive relationship, details I don’t even know, details I’ll never know.
All I know, after 4 years of the two being together, the two broke up. My niece, now married, a Mom to two, and he? Well, he died this week. He overdosed on drugs. 22 years old and now he’s gone.
From my view, I felt like the parents’ role in his life was not strong enough. I had always felt that way. I’m not going to lie when I say that I felt that they failed him in many ways. I hate that I’m judging them, my heart aches for them, I just wish they had parented him and not friended him. I wish they knew they difference. I wish they knew better.
I played such a small role in his life, so small, yet even I feel like I failed him.
As I talked to Anna about his death and the evil power of drugs, I explained to her that this is why, even now, I ask questions about who she is talking to, making decisions about why she can or can not do something, I’m skeptical of children, I raise eyebrows, I listen to neighborhood kids, the way the talk in my driveway.
Brian and I let her know that we’ll always be in her business, we will always be in her business and it’s not because we want to control her it’s because we want her to live a long, healthy, happy life.
That’s our goal. Plain and simple.