GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A CHILD TO DRUGS

GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A CHILD TO DRUGS

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Jeffery Veatch talks about living with the painful loss of his son Justin, a talented musician who tragically died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of seventeen and how he and his wife, Marina struggled with surviving.

He describes the unbearable moments he experienced after reaching work early one morning and being told to return home immediately. He doesn’t know how he was able to drive home that fateful morning but goes on to describe pulling up to his home and seeing the coroner’s van in his driveway and viewing his son’s body.

Jeffery talks about Justin’s normal, happy childhood and how his passion and talent for music grew with him into his teen years. When Justin slipped into drug experimentation and addiction, his parents did all they could to support and keep him out of drugs.

Today, he honors his son by taking the love he has for Justin and sharing his story as a way to keep others from the same fate. Through a foundation set up in Justin’s honor, speaking to young adults, and sharing the beautiful music his son wrote and recorded, Jeffery and his family are making a difference in the midst of one of the worst drug crises we have experienced as a nation.

"You have put together such a powerful message in Justin's honor. I am just amazed at how you have been able to do that. I can't even imagine how many lives you touched and saved based on the work you are doing."     Linda Trignano, Podcaster - Workplace Trauma Solutions

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Jeffery produced a film which took two and half years to finish. It’s called “Whispering Spirits”,  named after one of Justin’s songs.  We got a grant to make it available to people anywhere in the country such as teachers and other groups that could hold a film screening and then have a discussion afterward about the situations surrounding drug use and loss. Jeffery said the file has become a tool that he and his family are very proud of. We offer the film free of charge because we didn’t want to ever make any money off it. Anyone who goes to the website www.whisperingspirits.com cannot only watch the film but if they’re going to show it in a community format, they can get a copy of it free of charge, and there’s a discussion guide goes with it.

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Her Mom Died. What Should I Do and Say?

Her Mom Died. What Should I Do and Say?

Recently I learned that a dear friend’s mother passed away.  As I collected myself, I had many thoughts and feelings, which included sadness and concern for my grieving friend. I thought I would list a few questions that most of us ask ourselves when hearing about a loss. Perhaps it will give you some guidance and help you to take steps yourself to comfort someone grieving a loss.

“Should I call?”  “Is now the right time?” Since my friend’s mom lived across the country, I had no idea if my friend was alone, busy with the details of the wake and funeral, helping her dad or any other tasks that needed her attention. I decided to trust my heart and reach out to her right then. I was only able to leave a , but I felt better knowing that she knew I was thinking about her. A return message from her told me that she felt better knowing that so many of her friends were letting her know that they were thinking of her with loving support.

What should I say?

“What should I say?” “Will I make things worse?” For me, there is often that moment of doubt when first reaching out to someone who has just suffered a loss. What if I don’t know what to say and end up saying nothing? Somehow the right words might come or perhaps saying nothing and being present with them in the moment might be what the grieving person needs. Trusting yourself is the right path to choose. In times of grief, we want to know that others are supporting us whether it is in thoughts, prayers, words or action.  Even the strongest person needs comfort and support during difficult times.


After the call, then what?

One way to handle this question is to ask them what you can do to help them. Avoid saying “Call me if you need me.” Sometimes the best thing to do might be bring dinner and spending time with them. Sometimes make yourself available for a phone conversation and listen to them talk would be the best choice. If they are not up to talking, send a card with a note to let them know that you are thinking about them.

Even if you are uncomfortable (and many people are), it is better to extend yourself and reach out to someone experiencing grief or loss.

Coach Linda

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