This isn’t something I talk about all that often and have rarely (if ever) posted about it. I have discussed it a little in comment threads.
I’ve always worried discussing it in public would hurt or embarrass family members. That it wasn’t really *my* story to tell…but the truth is it’s more my story to tell than almost anyone else still living.
This opioid crisis we have on our hands? It hits home pretty hard some days.
I remember talking to the state coroner. I remember him telling me it was cardiac arrest as a result of morphine (and others) overdose. His exact words still ring in my ears, “the amount in his system would have killed a normal person…the amount of damage to his heart from the years of drinking and drug abuse…it didn’t stand a chance.”
I never got a copy of the death certificate. I just handled all the legal parts as the next of kin and had everything forwarded to his father, my grandfather.
For some reason I always envisioned his death certificate reading cause of death as “Cardiac Arrest” and it never occurred to me it would say anything else despite my conversation with the coroner. It was like I didn’t believe there would be any validation for my perception of his mental health or my childhood.
It would be more than a decade before I held the actual death certificate in my hand. I was shaken. There it was, in print, on an official record of my father. The reality of both his life and his death.
49 years old.
Addiction and Mental Illness – End the Stigma
This was originally a facebook post.