This is a hard day of course, but not so different than any other day when I think about my brother’s drug overdose, or his girlfriend’s a year later, or the thousands of others who have died. Not so different than when I see the posts about Naloxone, the life-saving overdose reversal drug that my stepfather helped create years ago, saving lives every day. What’s different about this day is the purpose behind it, educating the world about overdose prevention, talking about Good Samaritan Laws that have been created to protect drug users and those that try to save them. To learn more about International Overdose Awareness Day, visit the site http://www.overdoseday.com for resources, and stay to read some of the heartbreaking stories from the families left to grieve for those who have died. I’ve written a lot about this topic and if you want to know more about my story feel free to click on any of these links:
That’s certainly more than enough for you to chew on, but I will also gladly use this awesome image that’s been circulating the internet today, about just how easy it can be to save someone from an overdose.
I had wanted to write earlier today, but my mind wouldn’t let me get to it, although I knew I wanted to write, had to write. It took having a moment with my older son today, to help me sit down and get it done. The moment has nothing to do with overdose, but it sadly has to do with someone dying at a very young age, while his potential was just being discovered by the world. Kyle Jean-Baptiste, a 21 year old taking Broadway by storm as he starred in Les Miserables as Jean Valjean. He was the youngest to ever have the role, and the first African American to ever play the role. Jean-Baptiste died this past weekend in a freak accident at his home, a memorial service was held in Central Park this afternoon. He attended the same high school my son attends now, and I just knew that my son needed to come with me to see a community come together to grieve and sing for the life of someone they knew and loved. A community, that as an actor, he is a part of, and as a voice actor and theater lover, I am a part of, as well.
The community of those touched by overdose is exactly the same. We grieve, and we sing, and we cry, and we share, and we hold each other up in the sadness. The biggest difference is that the overdose community isn’t one people choose to join, sadly you just get forced into it. Then you look around and realize how blessed you are to be in contact with some truly remarkable human beings. People who travel the country, if not the world, to share the stories in the hopes that even one life can be saved. People who hand out clean needles, and train people how to use Naloxone. People who accept you no matter how you ended up a part of the community.
A single flower left by a mourner this afternoon, representing the solitude that grief can sometimes bring. The reflection of the fountain in the water however, reminds me that along with the image of sadness, the mirror image is happiness, and the blessing that I am still here to experience both.