See You Soon
A mother's story of drugs, grief and hope
Published by Spoonbill Publications 2012
ISBN 978-1-907228-29-2 in association with Presence books.
Paperback. 126 pages.
A second edition has been printed by Care for The Family in Spring 2015. The Chinese symbols mean 'Mother' and 'Son'.
After Jim died in 2007, Philippa and Graeme experienced the whirlpool of emotions and questions that follow the loss of a daughter or son of any age. Jim's death by a heroin overdose brought some additional factors into their experience of bereavement. As well as coping with the loss of a precious son they had to cope with their sense of failure as parents, and feelings of shame and stigma connected with a death from drugs. This is because many find it hard to understand or feel sympathy for people who suffer from addictions, and believe that they only have themselves to blame for their problems.
The first 2 years were very hard. We felt very lonely. Though many people were kind and supportive to us, it felt that unless we met someone whose son had died of drugs in a similar way to Jim, then no one could really understand. That is just how it felt to us in those bleak days. Then, of course, father and mother are 2 different people. Yes, we had a shared loss but we also had our own ways of expressing it, so though we did help one another, it wasn't always easy.
On top of all of this, we were so worried about what people would think of Jim. May be that shouldn't have mattered so much, but it really did at the time, and we felt so defensive of him and also of ourselves.
We eventually found 2 groups who were able to offer us help. The first of these was Care for The family: Bereaved Parents Support. The second was more targeted: DrugFam, UK, a smaller charity which had been recently established to help families in anyway affected by drug and alcohol problems.
The book, 'See you Soon', tells some of Jim's story in the hope that through the life of one ordinary and much loved son, we will see a microcosm of a drug user's story. One story can't cover much ground, but the bigger point is that all drug users have stories, all have someone somewhere who cares about them, all began with hopes and dreams for their life- and we can be sure that their dream was not to become an addict or to die of addiction.
There are many theories on the 'why, how, what' of addiction and we are not trying to give answers but simply offer a story.
We hope, in offering the story, to keep company with others who have their own story, and to be one small link in the chain of breaking feelings of isolation and stigma for those facing similar or related issues.
We also hope to encourage others to be informed of some of the issues around bereavement and drug use in families so they feel more able to offer help to people they know who are similarly affected.
Charities we are supporting
All profits from the sale of this book will be given to St Stephen's Society in Hong Kong and DrugFam in the UK. Both charities work with families and individuals who are struggling as a result of addiction.
The second edition directly supports DrugFam and Care for the Family. We continue to support St Stephen's Society through the book too.
We have received a personal message from the well known author Philip Yancey (Used with permission)
"I just read your book, and am overwhelmed by your journey of sorrow. Your love for your son shows through so beautifully and strongly. Grief is a sign of love, and you prove that. I believe your book will be of great help to people who go through something similar."