A Couple of days ago my nephew called me. It was late at night, and I could tell he had been crying. I asked him what was wrong, and he told me he has been emotionally upset over the death of one of his best friends. The thing with him is, he has been struggling with sobriety the past 5 years, and he got word that one of his best friends died of a heroin overdose.
He recently moved to Dallas Texas with his girlfriend, so outside of her he felt like he was in a position of loneliness. The circumstances of how he found out about his friends death was terrible. His mom found out from one of her friends, who was the cousin of his friend’s mother. This information came down a little more than a month after the overdose.
My nephew was upset because his friends family was reluctant to talk to him. They really did not have a funeral for him, and they cremated his body. He was able to contact one of his cousins, and get the full story of his death. That helped in piecing the story together, but emotionally it did nothing for him. He told me he felt responsible, because he introduced him to heroin.
From the standpoint of an uncle, who is more like an older brother, he wanted me to sympathize with his situation. He asked me what I did when my friend died 5 years ago. I told him I did a lot of crying, and let time heal the wounds. Apparently this was not good enough for him. He kept referencing a time he saved hair off his friend’s back. I am not sure what relevance this had with his death, but I guess it was one of those moments that stood out in his mind.
I could tell my nephew was hurting, because I could hear it in his voice. He has had a hard life, and there are few signs of it getting easier. Even though he put most of these hardships on himself, I told him I am here to support him and help him get his life back on track.
I genuinely felt for him, but I also found myself emotionless. My emotions have surprised me as of lately. Things that usually would not bother me have been driving me crazy, and other things I have shrugged off. I know my nephew knows I love him, I just did not have any emotion that night on the phone. I remember him telling me he loves me, and I responded by saying me too. Then he called me back 5 minutes later yelling at me to say I love him. He was an emotional mess, but I understood his hurt.
If there is anyone you know struggling with sobriety, please do not throw them away. I use to hate the fact that my nephew is going to be my problem the rest of his life. This made me angry, because I do not have any kids, and he is only 2 years younger than me. Even though he is having a terrible time adulting, without the support of people like me who knows where he will end up.