Bitter because the sting of death is painful to endure. Sweet because victory over death was overcome at the cross of Christ. Death of our earthly bodies is not the end of the story. One day we get Gabriel back, in a new and perfect way.
Since Gabriel’s death on April 12, 2013, it has been difficult to blog. As a matter of fact, if you read the last blog, on his birthday, Sept. 30, 2013, you will see part of the blog’s 32 Reasons to Rejoice is missing.
While editing the blog for some typos, many of the comments were accidentally deleted. Only 8 reasons to rejoice in his life remain on the post. The 24 other reasons will one day be reblogged, but for now, I can’t seem to force myself to retype the words.
But yet, my recently released short resource book for parents who have adult addicted children was penned with my fingers feverishly typing away: Parent of An Adult Addict: Hope for the Broken Road.
Crazy, I know.
No wife. No house. No children. Heroin had tricked him again. The deception and evilness of addiction hijacked my son’s brain and stole his life.
While some addicts use and die alone, there are those who are left to die when they overdose while using with others. Their friends often bolt out of fear. The scenario with Gabriel was different, his friend did not bolt. When Gabriel overdosed, his friend stayed by his side, performed CPR, alerted emergency responders, and stood vigilant with us at the hospital.
Some families would find it unthinkable and inconceivable allowing the person who used drugs with their child to be present at the bedside and in the hospital waiting room. However, our family decided to embrace this young man. We made a resolution to view him with eyes of grace and gratitude. Not haughty disdain, hatred or blame, but with love and appreciation for not leaving Gabriel to die alone.
I kept thinking to myself, “What if the shoe were on the other foot? What if it were this boy lying in the ICU hospital bed, and my son Gabriel was the one who chose to try to revive his friend? How would I want another family to treat my son?” The answer? “Respect.” And so that’s what we did, we showed regard for this gentleman. We thanked him for his endless efforts at reviving Gabriel. His friend’s actions allowed us to be with our son, to hold our child, and lavish our boy with much love.
My sister Tinker made a comment: “Gabriel kissed you. God knew he was not able to kiss you. This was the way God allowed him to kiss you goodbye.”
Wherever you are on this journey, as a parent of an addict, or if you are someone who struggles day by day with addiction, there is a God who offers His grace to you. God invites you to come as you are, in your brokenness, laying down your rights to yourself, exchanging your sins, your struggles, your short comings, for God’s merciful righteousness and salvation. He offers this to anyone, coming to Christ believing and receiving, by faith alone.