"No one got to see the kind and caring beautiful boy you really were."
Caroline writes a letter to her son, Kevin, who died due to drugs in 2001.
Hello Kevin, my lovely boy.
How I wish I could reach out to you and give you a big cuddle. You always loved a cuddle, seeing your gorgeous smile looking up at me. This would have been your 50th year. How I would have loved to see you be the man you should have become, celebrating with the family you should have had.
Instead, we are left with the memories of a life that was tormented by substance use and plagued with feelings of self-doubt, worthlessness, and anxiety. I later found out you had been the victim of childhood trauma which led you to self-medicate to deal with the pain you were experiencing. It was the only way you could tolerate the memory of the abuse you suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to be helping.
Tragically you died age 28. They said it was an overdose, but I called it suicide. You found life so very hard, Kevin and you couldn't deal with the daily fight to just get by. I am so very sorry Kevin, that I couldn't take that pain away. To see you tortured was so hard to deal with. As your Mum I felt I had failed you.
We had some great memories of family holidays. You loved the swimming and football, and you made friends so easily. I miss you cooking for me. Thinking of these happy times sustain me Kevin, and allow me to feel closer to you, I miss those times so much.
Kevin, I miss you so much. No one got to see the kind and caring beautiful boy you really were. You were defined by your substance use and the stigma society placed on you. Kevin, please know that you were loved and are still loved by those who knew you best.
You are always in my heart and thoughts.
With much love always, Mum
Kevin's death was preventable.
Caroline's story shows the devastating impact the loss of a life to alcohol or drugs has on the family and friends left behind.
We have the power to create change, especially when we come together to take action. You can support this work by agreeing to the "See Beyond" pledge below.
“I pledge to be respectful and compassionate towards those affected by substance use, including the families and friends of those who have died from alcohol or drugs.
I will show respect by using kind and non-judgmental language about those affected by alcohol or drugs.
I will show compassion by reaching out to someone who has lost a loved one to alcohol or drugs and asking them how they are doing today.”
Thank you for making a difference.
We have compiled some resources to provide support to people who are affected by someone’s drug/alcohol use as well as those impacted by the death of a loved one due to drugs/alcohol.