Bleeding out on my blogspot....

It's been seven months.  Seven hard months.  It started with a phone call, with desperate pleas and prayers.  We hung on the phone in desperation as they worked on my boy, I begged them not to quit and when the ambulance drove off without a siren, I knew.  I ran to the bathroom and hit my face on the toilet seat cover and vomited.  My boy was gone just like that.

Shock set in, people came.  Days came and went, pain clouded everything.  Lovely people, family surrounded us like a cocoon.  Protecting us, giving us time. Seven months. Life keeps happening.

And so as a writer friend of mine told me, you bleed out on paper.  I am not much of a writer but I do bleed out on this paper (I know it's not really paper but same concept).  You write to release the pain, to share the pain, to share the love because without love there would be no pain.  Sometimes I feel naked and broken for all the world to see and it feels liberating to write that pain and not care what anyone thinks.  Bleeding out for all the world to see. 

Seven months and not a day goes by without thoughts of him.  I struggle to sleep less now than then, but it is still a struggle.  I wake up shocked sometimes, heart racing and nauseated.

I wasn't there with him but I have a powerful imagination.  I heard them working feverishly, in my mind I see it.  I wish I didn't.  I wish I had been there, I wish I had gone, even if just to hold his lifeless body.  To have held him, my baby. 

He was 6'2" of strength and love.  He was funny and wounded, engaging and compassionate, tortured and kind.  He was a contradiction of fun and sad.  He was the best and the worst of me.  He was challenging and strong and yet like a wounded bird that you desperately wanted to hold and heal.  He was lovely in so many ways and heartache in others.  My love for him ran through my veins like blood but I could never seem to fix the broken parts.   We are all broken to some degree, but he was fragile under all the laughter.

Jesus was His savior, back and forth He ran to Him but sometimes healing comes in different ways.  The rehabs and altars for whatever reason didn't seem to be able to keep him from the grip of addiction.  The disease ravaged his mind and body and then he was clean and going to church.  We had hope.

And then there was this.....this one last time.  The text back and forth with a friend saying he was in pain, he had been to the dentist and had a root canal.  They needed the "h" they had said.  Heroin.  There I said it. 

And then there was nothing but questions, who was there?  Why was the scene so strange?  Why was it a crime scene?  Questions we will never have answers to.

Rescued was the word that came to mind.  Rescued from the entanglement of addiction.  Died a sinner but with a savior.  Won't we all die sinners, saved by grace? 

It was always spoken of in hushed did he die?  I suppose some would be embarrassed, try to keep it a secret.  I have learned to bring all things into the light.  You never know who you might set free by being honest.  What mother out there might be struggling to hold unto her sanity in the darkness but by talking honestly you bring light.  The shame that wants to overtake a mothers heart can be broken when we speak openly and honestly about the struggle of addiction. 

I don't know why?  I never will.  Most days I am okay, some days I am sad.  Life goes on and I laugh and I smile and it is honestly not fake.  When someone ask me how many children I have, I tell them three, but one is in heaven.  It is a bit of buzz kill and I know it shocks people but I kinda like saying it, "he is in heaven."  HE IS IN HEAVEN.

I am thankful for a God that escorts me through this valley.  That I am not alone.  He is always with me.  I feel like I have grown in my love for God, while others may find that hard to understand I find it impossible to have lived through this without the love of my heavenly Father.

I am thankful for my sons and my husband that teach me strength and tenderness as we walk through this together.  We are not alone.  I love them with a fierce love that believes the best is yet to come for us all.

He has carried me through, He has carried us through. He has redeemed the pain and continues to unfold purpose in this pain.  It's not over...we are still walking through this valley, but every once in awhile I feel like we have gotten up the mountain and we see the sun.

It is true I have been pummeled(black and blue) by this tragedy,  but then reshaped into someone different, someone deeper, someone more compassionate than ever before.  I love deeper, I hope more.  I see differently.

Turns out I didn't fall apart and somehow things instead fell in place.  I wrote in my journal one time...I don't know if I am falling down or falling up?  That is how it feels sometimes.  Falling. Like suspended animation but this I know the one holding me in that place is Jesus.

I knew that already, but now....I really know it.  He spoke to me so clearly, I'll save that for another time but trust me, it's some good stuff. 

Redemption looks different sometimes, differnt than what we expect.  I look in the mirror and I see someone different, older and wiser. I see redemption of so much.  I see pain but I also see hope.  I know Justin beat me there, I know he is happy there with Jesus.  He is redeemed and sometimes redemption comes with a higher cost than we expect.  Jesus blood was shed but sometimes our tears must be shed too.  Sometimes we pay the price too.  We lose something in order to gain something.  I will lose Justin in exchange for knowing he is with Jesus.  He is not lost.  I know that I know, that I know.... God knows best. 

Redemption on Calvary's cross was traumatic and painful.  Redemption isn't always pretty, sometimes it's messy, heartbreaking and confusing.  Even Jesus asked why, as He hung on the cross. 

So today, I am messy and heartbroken.  I will pull myself together and be thankful for those in my life that have left a profound mark on my life through this.  They have made me kinder than I ever was, wiser, better, stronger, better dressed, bolder and have lead me to the cross countless times.  They have helped me cultivate honesty in this place of suffering.  They have held me and pushed me and for that I am forever grateful. 

So today, I tell my soul to be thankful and I am.  You can be thankful and sad at the same time...just in case you didn't know. 


  1. I did not lose my son but my precious grandson. Your words, the pain I felt is much the same. I know Gods love even more now because of that loss. I like who I am now better. I am so thankful we serve a God who even overcomes death. I know I will see Zephania again, he is being raised my God! Your Justin is alive and with God! What a joyous image! The day will come when you will think of Justin and feel only joy and peace. You will always miss him, but the sadness you feel now will slowly be replaced over time with a confidence that God is totally in control and although there are no answers to the many questions you ask you will know it is OK because our God reigns!!

  2. Beautifully said. Grief is all consuming and so so painful, but with Jesus walking with us, we will be OK. Your handsome beloved Justin is with our Living Loving Savior...and he is alive!!! Not just alive, but thriving, happy, joyful, and having lots of laughter!!!! Just knowing this brings so much peace....I know it doesn't take the pain away...but Gods promises keeps our Hope strong. I also lost my son...he was 17 yrs old. He died of an overdose of Rx pills. Opana and valium were in his system. My family did not want me to mention how he died, because they said it would ruin his reputation. Really??? What??? How could family be so insensitive??? The shame and stigma of addiction or an overdose death is very real, and so many parents struggle with the shame on top of the grief...compound complicated grief. I am glad you are speaking out, and sharing Justin with us. I too choose to speak out, and raise much needed awareness. My friend Natalie Costa made a film, "Behind the Orange Curtain", about Rx abuse, which so many times leads to heroin. My son Mark, was the inspiration for the film. Mark was childhood friends with Brianne, Natalie's daughter. <3
    Natalie does a lot of public speaking may want to contact her...both of you would make a powerful impact in the community!
    Sending you love....May God grant you some peace and comfort.
    Rest in Paradise Justin!!!! (((Justin)))) <3

  3. Thank you Sylvia, you encourage me.


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