Tuesday, July 16, 2013

shades and spectres all around

On Sunday morning the first thing I read after a lovely and too-infrequent sleep in was of the untimely and sad death of Cory Monteith. No, I didn't know him. Yes, he's 'just a celebrity' whose performances I enjoyed. He's also the 'nephew' (in the most modern sense) of someone I value and respect, a local boy, a son, and an uncle. And he was the place I'd hung my hope.

As the mother of an addict, I know deep in my bones that the only options for my son's escape from addiction are death and recovery. And 'knowing' Cory's back story, knowing his struggles as a teenager, his bout of homelessness, his history of addiction, and his story of overcoming, hearing about what a gentle soul he was, his creativity, his humanity, his compassion. Hearing his willingness to re-visit rehab this spring to continue moving forward in his life, I pinned my hoped for The Oldest on him. If he could make it, The Oldest could. The Oldest could overcome adversity and addiction. The Oldest could steal a joyful life out of the jaws of addiction and death.

And then I woke up Sunday morning. And Cory was dead. Still, I clung to a thin and desperate thread - maybe it wasn't drugs that killed him. Maybe his heart gave out for other reasons - maybe I could still believe that drugs are beatable. Today a preliminary autopsy report says that Cory died with both heroin and alcohol in his system.

I never met Cory Monteith. And, today it hurts to look at pictures of him. To see how charming, how well and whole and healthy someone can look even while addiction steals them away. I can't imagine how his mother, who just last month lost her long-time partner and Cory's step-dad, will survive this hit.

Today The Oldest texted me that his 31 year-old cousin had a massive heart attack last night and is being kept alive by machines. The same age as Cory; a fit, hard-working husband and father of two young sons, who has "worked and partied" too hard for too long, according to my son.

It is hard, most days, not to see death everywhere. Too often, lately, it seems that drugs are death's mistress, seductively enthralling young men to their deaths. It's more than a mother should have to take. My heart tonight is with Cory's mom and with my former sister-in-law. I fear for us all.

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