Is There Anything Worse Than Death?
A little over a year ago singer Amy Winehouse died.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Winehouse, she was an immensely talented singer and songwriter who won five Grammy awards off of two albums, whose immense talent was only rivaled by her drug and alcohol addiction.
I don’t own any of Winehouse’s albums, so I can’t really comment on her music or life. I had heard “Rehab” on the radio, loved her voice and was drawn to her pop / jazz / R & B fusion that I heard, but my knowledge of her music and life didn’t extend beyond that.
Winehouse died from an overdose of alcohol (her blood alcohol level was five times the legal driving limit) joining the “Forever 27” club of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain, who all died at the age of 27, with Joplin being the only one who didn’t die from drug abuse.
I have an addictive personality. So, I’m glad that I never touched drugs.
I’m also thankful, that – although I’ve had friends who have used – I’ve never lost a friend to drugs.
I really don’t have much of a right to comment on drugs and drug addiction with any authority.
All I can do is comment vicariously from the various families, whose paths we’ve crossed as they’ve traversed the last stage of their loved one’s drug drama.
And there are two themes that I’ve heard: 1.) drugs are some of the most insidious evils to befall humanity. 2.) there may be something worse than death.
I’ve heard a number of parents express to us that death was a welcome event for their drug addicted child. Such a view of death – I must admit – makes no sense to me. I can’t grasp something so awful that death is better than living.
The ups and downs a parent experiences as their love inevitably intimately connects them to their beloved addict. It’s as though they (the parents) go into the world of addiction, experiencing all the downs without the highs, living life on the edge, with all the fear the addict sees, but without the adrenaline rush.
Now that I am a parent, I’m beginning to understand what it’s like to have another life become more important than my own, where I feel the pain of the scrapped knee; where I too feel the failure of being cut from the team. Of course I love my wife more than I love myself, but … from what I understand … the love of a parent to a child is of an entirely different kind, where the child’s joys, fears and pain become our own.
So, how must a parent of a drug addicted child feel?
What’s it like to never know where your child’s at, who your child is with … if this night is indeed the last. To feel a powerless love, where all you want is freedom for your child, but realizing all your love has no power over the power of drug addiction. The tears, the prayers, the worrying, anxiety, the questions … “What did I do wrong? What can I do to change him?” The insanity of loving someone who is destroying themselves as well as you. To have hope killed relapse after relapse.
And then the story ends.
The police end up at your front door and you already know what they’re about to say, but the tears still come … you’ve been waiting for this day. “Ma’am, I regret to inform you that your son is dead.” Word’s you’ve expected.
Is there something worse than death? I don’t know. And I hope you don’t know either.