Today, October 11th is my BIG brother, Sean’s 47th birthday. And unlike most of my friends who celebrate birthdays with their siblings either at a dinner or a get-together, I find ME Time to sit alone on a park bench and then will light a candle in his memory back at the house. These past 22 years have left me with a HUGE hole in my heart, and no matter what I’ve created whether it be my family, my company DASHA®, or my friendships, I know I will never be able to fill that specific void of my funny & handsome brother.
For this week in particular, I’ve been reflecting on an issue that is way too important to undermine. Even if you’re not watching TV, or reading the paper, it’s kind of hard to ignore what’s going on. The short of it is: we have a serious epidemic with substance abuse all over this country, and it’s starting as young as age 11.
There’s this “taboo” feeling that’s attached to someone passing from a drug overdose. People are afraid to talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable. To this day, I remember back to 1996 when I saw Sean’s medical papers. They said he passed from a “brain aneurysm” …caused by an accidental overdose.
I am NOT embarrassed, nor am I afraid to speak about how painful it is to lose someone. I have accepted that my family’s disease is addiction; it’s simply in our blood. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you reading this have some sort of hereditary mental disease running in your family. There is a silver lining to all of this, we now understand more about this disease than ever before. I’m so fortunate to have found the organization LICADD, which is responsible for “providing initial attention and referral services to individuals, families, and children, through intervention, education and professional guidance to overcome the ravages of alcohol and other drug-related problems.” They are making a difference for individuals suffering from the illness before it’s too late.
The key to fighting this epidemic will be prevention. It’s one of the many reasons why I chose a career in wellness. I don’t want families to be without their Sean’s because losing your best friend to a drug overdose is something I would never wish on anyone. It SUCKS. It’s a pain that really never leaves you. It has taken me years to be able to accept and speak about my brother’s passing.
We all have our own special way of honoring and remembering the loved ones who leave us and everyone’s healing process is different. I won’t get my casual get-together with Sean tonight for his birthday but instead I will be celebrating his LIFE. I’m ordering in tonight and having the family I made indulge (guilt free!) in Sean’s favorite dinner, New York Chinese food and some chocolate Marino’s Real Italian ices for dessert. (…yes, I’m talking about the ones you’d pick up at the supermarket where you flip them upside down to eat the crunchy, syrupy ice first!!)
Happy Birthday Sean
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction reach out to LICADD, they are an excellent resource.