Two Years Greiving an Overdose Death

“THEY” say… that the second year is the hardest.

So I braced myself.

Stealing the words of my husband, he says, the second year is more reflective.

Does that make it the hardest?

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see my reflection and I am pleased with what I see; and other times, well – you know… I do not like what I see.

So perhaps it is so.

The second year may be deemed the hardest because it is reflective; reflective of both the good and the bad.

We, who grieve an overdose death, know that there are both kinds of memories. The before-drugs-and-addiction-memories and the after-drugs-and-addiction-memories. Built up hopes and dashed hopes follow too. PTSD is residually strong, even with a firm foundation in Jesus Christ.

Two years in, things are changed and being remade. Holes in the walls are patched up, his room is repurposed, his clothes and car have a new owners, and his garden space is reclaimed by nature. One small shelf in the kitchen holds a tiny basket of Caleb’s trinkets, his photo, his Bible, and exudes his constant presence.

Occasionally I flip through his childhood album. I can hear the chuckles and the family babble as I turn each page that reflect the early years of my son’s life. I can feel the energy and surge of pride, passion, and compassion as I turn each page during his athletic accomplishments. I see his heart as I pause at his baptismal page and strain to recall the words he spoke as he commited his life to Jesus. Graduation pictures fill the last pages. Yes, all good memories and tears flow as I wish for a 3-D hug with my son. The before-drugs-and-addiction-memories are so sweet.


Yes, missing the good memories is hardest.

Yet, often, my mind rolls the not-so-good times over and over: the angry, scary, anxious moments, the hurtful, deceived, numbing moments. The things I did, that I thought I would never do moments. These are PTSD fuel. The “what-ifs” and “whys” flood like the 40 days of rain and my raven never seems to come back. Dents in appliances remain as constant reminders of hard times, for him, and for me. Regrets fall like dominoes across my heart: more PTSD fuel. The after-drugs-and-addiction memories are painful.


Yes, reliving the moments that have left scars is the hardest.

All the grace and heartfelt help, spun with urgency and love so deep, built up hope – hope for a redeemed future! The “Mentor” sweatshirt he earned in detox, friends made at the soberhouse, a job with a second chance, and a wedding to attend… hope on the horizon. Faith, that things would work out and that everything-would-be-okay, buoyed me along.

Then all hope was dashed.

Caleb’s own pain, his own suffering weakened him towards relapse; he knew it, he was scared, and the Beast overcame him that one night of mistakes…. despite our prayers and the prayers of many. My son died of an accidental overdose May 27, 2018.


Yes, dashed hopes are hardest.

What now?

A blue heart marks my calendar; one week til I meet the two year mark without my son.

What now?

Will the third year be any different?

I think not. I think every year will be the hardest. What do you think?

Time from here on in will be reflective over both the sweetness and the pain. This is life for me now.

Enduring the hardest times, God is still good and He sustains me and blesses me, even still. All jargon aside, the joy of the Lord is my strength. And so, I live on, taking the love I hold in my heart for Caleb and doing good with it, I hope, to honor his life.

…still loving you deeply, Caleb, til we meet in heaven!







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I am a daughter of the Most High King, just following and being willing to be used by Him!

6 thoughts on “Two Years Greiving an Overdose Death”

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I can relate to every word. It was 4 years on May 15 for us. Our son, Jeremiah, was 25. Praying God brings you peace and comfort as you remember your beautiful Caleb ❤️


  2. Dearest Cheryl, Your beautiful, embracing words resonate through my heart as though they were mine. I mean EVERYTHING, doing things, holes in walls, excelling in sports – primarily soccer – accepting Christ. your list is my list. We can rejoice on knowing that we will one day be reunited with our sons because simply stated, God does not erase names out of His Book of Life. Our precious Roy died of an overdose only one year earlier. Your emotions duplicate mine for the past 3 years. Contrary to what people may say – it does not get easier. Those words are usually spoken by one who has never lost a child.There is no pain worse. I have lost my parents but nothing prepared me (or could have prepared me) for the loss of my son, or for your son. You are in my prayers. Just as you, having Jesus in my heart is the only way to bear the loss of a child. Oh my Goodness, as I prepare to close this “Cry Out to Jesus” by Casting Crowns is playing. I will close as it is becoming hard to type through my tears.


    1. Sorry for the delay in response – life got in the way … I thankyou for your words and as I come up on the 3 yr anniversary of my sons death – the message is the same. I am recalling more sweet memories of my son these days – but the ache in my heart never goes away. I pray that you are finding peace in your days and resting in the faith and love of God these days. Casting Crowns a good band to listen to – we played “Praise you in the Storm” at my sons memorial service…gets me EVERY time I hear it since. HUGS to you momma! my response is a year late – but it is still relevant , yes?


  3. A couple nights ago, sadness came back again. It really doesn’t end, as you know. It does change, though. So I distracted myself in a very grief-sort-of way. I grab my tablet and type in the search “my son with two years sobriety overdosed and died from heroin, why?” Your site was one of the search results, with the “Where was God…” entry as result. Since this was one of my loudest and longest arguments I had with God after my son’s of death, I chose your site to read. I was able to read it and I did not break up completely because I had found something from someone who had come to the same belief. God was there, and He took my son home. He had just turned 35. His sobriety and faith had changed his life. His faith walk made his death more unbearable, for he was strong and active in his church family and recovery family. Wasn’t that worth a save from God? As I let my best friend know of my son’s death, as both of us cried, she gave me Isaiah 57:1. In the months to come I would think of this, and shout it out with God (He is strong enough, and knows me). During the worst days and years of addiction, I would ask God to please protect my son, please bring him home. I have been able to acknowledge the many times there was Grace for my son’s life, and many “saves” from slipping away, possibly traumatically. Whatever pulled my son back into risk, even once, will not hurt or chase him again. I cannot know the thoughts of God, or what God knows, but at this point I believe I know of His love. My son was loved and cherished. With Love, God took him home.
    Thank you for your words, and all the replies. We are starting our second year.


    1. so sorry for the delay in reply – my heart mourns with yours, and yet, God is healing us as well. We are coming upon three years now…and the pain is dulled, but my momma heart still aches…I guess right now, I feel a sort of contentment in God’s wisdom and knowing what was best for my son and for us. I have more sweet memories of my son now that come to mind and I hope you do too.


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