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Finding Peace

by Jeanne D. Flynn

June 21, 2021

My son Brian once shared with me the fact that he had overdosed seventeen times.  He said, “Mom, some of my friends have died after the first overdose, but I am still here.  God must have a plan for me if I haven’t died.”

I am here to tell you that heroin addiction stole the last ten years of this family’s life.  It stole the future away from our beautiful son.  It stole the present away from all of us as we waited for a miracle or the next phone call.  Would it come from a hospital, a cop, a friend, or Brian with his standard greeting….” I need a huge favor”? 

We needed a huge favor, too:  A promise, a guarantee, a wish, and a hope that would never materialize.  Our favor was never granted as Brian overdosed for the eighteenth and final time on May 3, 2015.  He died on a bright, clear, sunny, blue-sky day, in the middle of the afternoon in our own home.  Alone. 

As the next several days unfolded, I began to find small snippets of gratitude.  I am grateful he was home and not in some back alley, some basement, or some random bathroom.  I am grateful I was the one to find him, not get a phone call from some other person leaving too many questions unanswered.  I was able to backtrack and have a reasonable assumption of how the events unfolded and ultimately ended up fatally. 

But still, there are so many questions that are left unanswered.  I will never have answers as to why this insidious disease was gifted to our son.  There are no answers as to why the last ten years killed us a little more every day.  It robbed us of the happiness we felt we had earned and deserved as a family. I know that nothing in this life is guaranteed, but the heartache brought on by this nasty disease was never imagined. 

My mind continues to run like a movie reel, always threaded in the machine and always running nonstop.  It continually plays over, movie after movie of Brian.  It runs from his early days of learning and laughter to his middle days of discovery and looking towards his future to the last days of frustration, sadness, love, and hate, hope for recovery, and doom at all his attempts and failures at making things normal.  I’m not much of a movie goer so seeing this continual thread of footage in my mind is killing me.  The admission price to this movie is unimaginable.  As the footage continues to run, I pay too steep a price, but it also never says THE END.  It runs when I am awake; it runs when I am busy doing things and when I am not doing something, when I am quiet or when I am noisy.  It runs when I am sewing, driving, vacuuming, showering, playing Words with friends, and grocery shopping.  It’s a non-stop movie reel that will never end.

Additionally, in a sad and ironic twist, his father died 54 days later of lung cancer after a two-year battle with it. I take solace in believing they are now together and at peace.      

In the tragedy of losing my boys, I have found my faith again.  It was on vacation for a long time.  No, more than a vacation; it was put into a bottle and thrown out to sea, bobbing in the waves and all but lost from view.  But in finding my faith again, I realize that God has a bigger plan than I imagined.  How could he let me have my soul ripped apart in such an ugly and sad manner like I was dying a bitter death on a very slow treadmill?  And then they died.    

In the most tragic ways we have all found our peace; only mine has been found on this earth.  I believe that my purpose is to make sure that Brian’s journey remains as a story to be told and shared so that he will not have died in vain. 


Jeanne Flynn


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Jeanne D. Flynn

Peer Grief Facilitator

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