Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Fred died today.

Fred died today, not a problem, he was old and had been ill for a while and it was just his time. Why am I telling you this? Trauma Queen has a post here which reminded me of a couple of sets of parents. the first was a mum who worked in the hospital, her son had 'gone off the rails' when he was 12. The usual, he was being bullied so started missing school then he joined in with a few others and began shoplifting then more serious thefts and assaults until he was spending most of his life in jail. I first met him after he had been assaulted, fairly serious but the police still came and arrested him on discharge. Mother was absolutely distraught but was completely aware of what her son was doing but as she said "He's my child and always will be." I still see his name in the local paper being involved in theft and assault and his mother still cares about him.
The other set of parents had 5 sons, they grew up in the same area that I did so I was aware of them but never knew them. Throughout the 70's, 80's, and 90's the parents, and us in A&E, watched these young men become more and more dependent on drugs. They would sometimes get clean and settle down. Could not get jobs but at least were going straight. Then one by one they would slip back into drug use. This became their lives, cycles of drugs, prison then release and a methadone programme. Eventually, one by one they all died from HIV related illnesses. Their parents, Fred and Joan, both very nice people could not understand how their family turned out the way they did. What did they do that caused all of their sons to become dug addicts? This thought has haunted their lives and yet throughout it all they remained supportive and loving. I once watched Joan take one of her sons shoes home when he was in hospital to keep him in - her words were "If he has no shoes I know he will be here where he is safe", did not work. He discharged himself against medical advice with a chest drain in (we took it out before letting him go) and he walked out in his socks. He had managed to stay with us for 2 days but the call of the drugs,and his equally addicted friend, were too strong. Strangely, every time I met the sons they were never violent or aggressive, they had been well brought up and never gave us any trouble. They were just drug addicts.
So, rest in peace Fred, I have often admired you and your wife that you never gave up on your kids and hope that if I was in your place I would be as tolerant.

7 comments:

Elaine said...

It makes me appreciate all over again how lucky I have been with my children.

grumpyoldwoman said...

The menace of drug addiction is always there. It doesnt care about race or religion or social status. Kids get sucked in at middle school level and sometimes they are not able to beat it. It doesnt make them bad people. I have had some personal experience of this and am eternally grateful that we came out the other side. God bless Fred - and Joan, wonderful people.

whittle said...

I was a heroin addict for ten years or so until not so long ago. One thing that sticks with me is the range of health and law enforcement professionals I ran into over this time. Many were, sad to say, judgemental and prejudiced - I too had a decent upbringing and have never stolen or been violent to anyone, neither do I blame anyone else from either a nature or nature point of view. Drugs can make you desperate (I once took a knife in the torso when someone tried to rob me of a five pound bag), but they do not turn you into a monster, it's just lots of people who take them were monsters to begin with. In the end, I met enough good people within the health service to help me overcome the addiction and I am now a registered nurse myself. On the ward we of course have drug addicted patients and it shames me to hear the way they are discussed behind closed doors ("we shouldn't have to treat scum like that", "probably got AIDS" and so on), knowing that in a previous life they would have been talking about me. Anyone who knows my history (which I have learned to keep very few) tells me I should be in mental health/rehabilitation nursing 'with my background' and my reply is always that I feel adult nursing needs such experience just as much if not more. Thanks GRN for such a moving and well observed, empathetic post. (Returns to radio silence)

Glenda, saved by grace said...

I have 3 sons who have been on and off drugs, jailed, rehabilitated, back on drugs, back in jail ect...I love them all, nothing could ever change that. I guess it has to do with carrying them 9 months and nursing and nurturing and loving them unconditionally. I always say "But for the grace of God there go I." It could have just as easily been me.
On the other hand I have a son who just graduated with a BSN,RN. I'm so proud of him. They are all from the same mother and father, and raised in the same home????
I feel for Fred and Joan, but Fred is finally not worried about his sons! Sweet peace!

Boniface said...

It cannot have effect in reality, that is what I think.
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