Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Inside Out

Here is some food for thought about a topic we all try to avoid, but as the Daily Times Newspaper pointed out, is a topic that we cannot escape. "The Heroin Epidemic." 

Drug abuse, pill popping and now heroin-- is and has been running rampant through Delco. When I read the cover story in the paper yesterday it had me reflect on my own experience watching a friend, become destroyed by drugs. If anything, this article, this epidemic, is speaking to our 20something generation. We have to stop thinking that "partying" "doing pills" or "getting high" is cool, normal, or socially acceptable.

I am taking a class this summer for my Master’s Degree called “Writing the Unspeakable” and so the Daily Times Article inspired me to write this piece...

Inside Out

I haven’t decided what’s worse? Knowing he was lying dead in a coffin somewhere or knowing he was "dead", killing himeself each day, but still dragging himself through life?

The latter had to be worse. At least when you’re dead… really stiff as a board, eyes stuck open, mind off, dead, then there isn’t any hope left. You’re gone. You have to accept it and everyone left behind has to accept it as well. There is no more space in time for “what if’s” no more “maybe’s” no more prayers or wishes or hopes. They too have all settled into what we affectionately call closure.

We can allow ourselves to grieve and eventually to forget. We allow our minds to manipulate the memories—we forget the tragic, the dark, the heart wrenching parts and we let the happier, “before” memories take over. Eventually we allow ourselves to let go of the hurt, disappointment and loss. We “let go” because we want to, and because they are dead, so we have to.

So don’t get me wrong, I am not wishing death on him. God No! It’s nothing like that. It’s just that for me—the bystander, the friend, the outsider; I had no control. I have just had the displeasure of watching the beautiful person I once knew fade away into the dark depths of drugs. I could only watch as he got worse, and kept using. For me, it was like standing by a pool, watching someone you love drowning and not being able to reach in and pull them out. That’s how I felt at least. That’s why I think that maybe death would have been easier.

With death there is a definitive end.

So, maybe if he were laying in a casket instead of walking down the street I would have had to let go much sooner. Maybe then I would have been able to disregard the “what if’s” the “maybe’s” the prayers, wishes and hopes that lurked in my mind.

But he’s not dead, not then and not now. Somehow he “survived” all that drug use. His body survived at least, so he’s not physically dead. There is no coffin, no funeral, no eulogy—and no closure. See the catch 22?

He, as I remembered him, was forever changed by the drugs. The liquid poison raced through his veins and erased him. The person I loved, I knew, I grew up with…he was gone. His body was still there, reminding me of who he once was, but he was gone from the inside out. That’s the hardest part. Helplessly watching a loved one turn into a drug addict is one instance when it feels okay to think that death may have been easier than life.

Watching someone die inside out made it all feel so backwards.


  1. Beautifully written, Lana!

  2. Lana,
    I'm sitting here crying right now. Thanks for putting it into words for me. "The liquid poison raced through his veins and erased him" got me. I printed that article yesterday and sent it to my sister. I'm printing what you wrote here and sending this to my sister. Thank you Lana for becoming a writer. Love ya!!!


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