From Heroin to Hope: Making Sense of the Loss of a Child

by Marsha I Wiggins, Ph.D.

“In the early morning hours of August 9, 2013, I received the phone call I had dreaded would come, the phone call somehow I knew would come, the phone call no parent ever wants to receive. On the other end of the line was my son’s dad, voice trembling, choking back tears, informing me that our precious, 26 year old son, Cameron, was in the ICU on life support as a result of a heroin overdose. In the midst of my shock and horror, unable to fully take it all in, I remember hearing my hollow voice speak these words, “Then, we will have to let him go.”  And every day since I uttered those heartbreaking words, I have been on the journey of letting him go.”

These are the opening lines of my book, From Heroin to Hope: Making Sense of the Loss of a Child

heroin to Hope AfterTalk Grief Support

In it, I write about the excruciating pain of losing my only child to an opioid overdose—a loss that is compounded by the stigma and shame our culture places on drug abuse.

As a professional counselor, author, educator and clergywoman, I kept telling myself I should have been able to do something to prevent my son’s tragic death. After all, I had tremendous knowledge, training, experience, and faith. And none of it was enough to turn the tide of my son’s heroin addiction. In walking the circuitous path through the grief process, I learned to accept that my son’s illness and death was not my fault. I loved my son prodigiously, but I could not control his substance use, and I could not save his life.

In search of my own healing, and as a means of helping others cope with such terrible loss, I reviewed current research on grief and loss, and in my writing, illustrated how these concepts rang true in my grief experience I learned how to accommodate to the loss, to honor Cameron’s life, to practice forgiveness, and to make peace with the “new normal.”

You can order this book by clicking the book cover above, or this link:

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