Ann Farabee: Love U 4-Ever
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 23, 2017
The call came. The one where your heart sinks before you answer it, because you know something is wrong. It was my 19 year old daughter. That morning, she had found her boyfriend dead, from an overdose. The police had arrested her, charging her with drug-related violations.
This mother’s heart was broken – forever changed. Broken for this young man’s family, for my family, and for all who had to suffer – and still suffer – as a result of this tragedy. Addiction became more real that day. The life story I had envisioned for my smart, honor roll, cheerleading, state gymnastics finalist, beautiful little girl, finally came crashing completely down. The story of her life would not turn out the way I had planned.
Her secret, unspoken, mostly private addiction that we had dealt with as a family until this day, suddenly became very public. We had tried everything we could to help her, but addiction enslaves and entraps its victims.
After a long day and a sleepless night, we posted her bail, so she could attend his funeral. We met with his parents, who hours ago had lost their son. They wanted to hear about – and cling to – every detail of his last few hours on earth.
I felt strong emotions. Heartbreak. Pain. Guilt. Anger. Emotions – yes. Words – no. I had none. Just tears, resulting in cries of pain. I withdrew from the world the best I could, but since overdoses were not as prevalent then, the story made local TV news, and was on the front page of the local newspaper, so the news traveled quickly.
She and I spent much of the next day at the funeral home. Standing by the casket, she cried constantly and uncontrollably. I just sat with my head down, unable to offer encouraging words, like a mother should.
For some reason, I glanced up and saw the vase with a single rose that she had sent to the funeral home for him. It had a card attached with the words she had requested, Love U 4-Ever. The word love, however, was replaced with a picture of a heart. I stared at it for a long time, shaking my head.
A heart. Of all things, I thought. Her heart was broken. My heart was crushed. Love U 4-Ever? She had gotten herself into something this mama could not fix. Why had God allowed my child to become an addict, bringing suffering to herself and to our family? I mean, she had grown up in CHURCH! My goodness! I had tried so hard to teach her the right way and instill Godly principles in her life.
But… on this day, I had lost my battle. And a mother had lost her son. Here I was, in a funeral home. Grieving – on so many levels. As I looked at those words, Love U 4-Ever, they began to cut deeply into my spirit and seeped right into my heart. The anger I felt toward her and toward God began to slip away… because love began to take over. As I continued to stare at that card, those words became my battle cry in this fight, and still are – almost two decades later. Love U 4-Ever. No, the story I had planned for her life was not going to turn out like I had hoped, resulting in the story I had planned for my life not turning out as I had hoped, either. But, God knew that all along – and He had plans for her – and for me. One thing I knew was that I was to love her forever. Just like God does.
*Love an addict? As a child of an alcoholic, sister of an alcoholic, and mother of an addict, I truly understand. You are not alone. Many suffer as we do. We do our best to make the best decisions, based on our knowledge of our loved ones. We are too busy to worry about what others may think. I believe that God CAN do a great work in the lives of those we love! Our love and prayers may be all we have to give, and sometimes that love may be ‘tough love,’ but it still counts as love. Proverbs 3:5 says to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. I trust You, Jesus!
*Are you an addict? No matter where you are, God is right there. God knew you before you were conceived. He knows your heart. He knows your pain. No one wants to be an addict. When your life is at its worst, God is at His best. Ask for help – and mean it! Love U 4-Ever. And… others love you, too.
**The writing of this column was daughter- approved. She allowed the sharing of her story in order to help others.
Ann Farabee is a speaker, writer, and teacher and can be contacted at email@example.com or annfarabee.com.