Debra Reagan

Originally posted on Debra’s memorial site:

Dearest Mothers,

In the beginning, it mattered to me the hows and whys of Clint’s death. My heart and my head argued. My heart keep saying, “He can’t be gone, we still have so much love to give him.” In a strange unfair twist, this love was even greater because it was not hindered with all the stress and chaos involved with dealing with someone struggling with mental illness and drug addiction. This wasn’t fair. I became angry. I had done everything I thought was right. I had been a stay at home mom up until middle school. We were an intact family. Clint had experienced some privileges in his life. We were there for him every step of the way. We tried to handle what we knew and what we understood.

Only after he died, did we begin to see more of the full picture. His “friends” began to shed light on the situation. Why did they not tell us more before? For that, I do not have an answer. It became clear that Clint had kept many things from us. We had been trying to walk the fine line between helping him and allowing him to become an independent adult.

Once a child becomes an adult, the struggles go to a new level. Afterwards, this analogy came to me. It was like Clint was racing through life on a fast track. As his family, we were his pit crew. We could see things that needed to be fixed or repaired. Time and time again, we tried to offer assistance and guidance. We put out distress calls. But sadly, he would not live long enough for the needed repairs.

I am learning to believe that we did the best we could with what we knew and understood at that time. Clint did the best he could with what he understood. If we could go back, would we do things differently? Sure, we would continue to try anything and everything. Do I know for a fact and for sure what would make a difference? I do not and I must stay with truth of the situation. I must try to look at the situation fairly.

His death seemed so unreal. My heart wanted to believe that Clint was away at treatment. I wanted that second chance. Many times young people make mistakes and make bad choices, but so often they get a chance to learn from their mistakes. They get to move past the troubles. We did not get the chance to do this with Clint, but now our family must find a way to do that for us and for his memory.

As the deep pain is easing, I no longer worry about the hows and the whys. Now, my heart is learning new ways to carry my love for Clint. I can still have my connection with him. I am finding a peaceful place in my heart for Clint. I no longer even think of the drugs, when I think of my Clint.

I am not a counselor and what I have to share may or may not help someone. I hope you can take what may help and leave the rest. The pain is the same, but the path to healing may take a different direction.

Some people believe our souls choose their path before we are even born. If this is true, our children were very courageous. I suppose this will remain one of the mysteries of life.

Gentle Hugs,
Debra Reagan


5 comments on “For Mothers of Children Who Have Struggled with Mental Illness and Drug Addiction”

  1. Debra,
    Like the others commenting on your openness & honesty about Clint and your struggles, I relate to what you have said. My son Brian did have that second chance, a chance at recovery, which gave us much hope but the relapse rate is so high (with heroin in Brian’s case), something like 95%.The first thing the counselors told us, his parents, when we went to the family week at the recovery center was, “Parents, it’s not your fault”. The next statement was “You are only a piece of the whole pie that influences your child”. We did our best. Thank you for sharing. May Clint’s memory be eternal.

  2. Debra, I just read this and I am amazed all over at how alike our boy’s situations were. I think when I first contacted you all those years ago it was Clint letting you know about me and Joel and that I needed you in my life at that time (in relation to your story on signs). Our boys are definitely looking over us. Hugs to a very special Mom xx

  3. Lori, Your comment has warmed my heart. Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. I am sorry for Jim’s struggles, but his life is greater than his death. Your precious Jim will not be forgotten.

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