To the Butler County Sheriff: We agree.

Posted by Rob Brandt, With 0 Comments, Category: Grief, Robby's Voice, Support,

We agree with the sheriff from yesterday’s post. It makes perfect sense.

After all, we all see the addict. This person that did it to themselves and is such a drag on society, a menace to their family, and a problem for those that get paid to serve and protect.

So, let them die, and after they are gone, we can sit around and talk about lives that we knew nothing about when WE made the decision that they were not worth saving.  We can talk about the child that was sexually abused and tried to hide the pain in substances.  We can talk about the youth that was physically abused and wanted to escape the pain and thought substances would help.  We can talk about the teen that was just a bit different, and as a result was chastised, bullied and belittled, and thought that the drug was actually a friend.  We can talk about the kid that was prescribed medication, and because WE did not educate them appropriately, found themselves addicted.  And yes, we can talk about the kid that made a “kids” decision to use something, not image.phprealizing the hell that waited them, and found themselves overwhelmed by the power of addiction.

Why stop there

Once we finish talking about the stories we didn’t know, then we can move on to the next target.  Do you know what we spend annually on diabetes care?  Holy cow, maybe those diabetics should just stay out of the donut store.  And cancer, OMG, the amount of money spent on cancer care, surgeries, and hospice; WOW, if they just didn’t smoke.  Think of the time and money we can save by just letting them die as well.  And old people; talk about a drain…

This is getting fun!  I think law enforcement could then sit back and decide what to respond to.  After all, if you leave a door open, you deserve to get robbed, and if you go to an ATM, you deserve to get robbed; we could save Police time and money by just allowing law enforcement to determine what is or is not acceptable.  After all, I understand the burden of the oath to serve and protect.  Hey, why don’t we add the term “selectively” to the oath – now that works!!!

There’s a reason we’re taught not to judge

Enough sarcasm for one sitting.  So many thoughts cross my mind but the last thought in my head is this. The Sheriff (who appears to be the picture of health): what happens when he drops over from a heart attack? Should we just let him die because he is overweight?  I guess for me that isn’t my decision to make because in my mind, every life matters.


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Learn from my regrets

Posted by Anne Browning, With 0 Comments, Category: Grief, Robby's Voice, Support, Talking to kids,

REGRETS, I’VE HAD A FEW….

I was listening to my iPod the other day, and “My Way” by Frank Sinatra played. This verse always grabbed me;regretwoman

“regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention…”

I always wanted to live life that way – going for it. Maybe I swung and missed a few times, but no regrets.  I’d rather swing and miss than not swing at all.  I know Robby lived life that way and his favorite phrase, Carpe Diem, was tattooed from armpit to hip.  He lived his way with very few regrets.  In his short 20 years, he did so much. More importantly, with this short time, he lived his dream which was to be a United States soldier.

Unfortunately, as a parent that has lost a child to an overdose, I am not able to live without regret. Regret is now sewn into the fabric of my life, and as my mind wanders back over the years, I think of every time that I was not the best Dad I could be, and it hurts.  How did I make him feel in that moment?  Did that contribute to his need to use?  Why did I act that way?

As he battled his addiction, I remember those frustrations and times when anger overtook me and things were said. Did that push him to use?  Did that trigger a relapse?  These memories just seem to pop up every now and then, and when they do, they are so hard to shake.

Things that trigger regret many parents understand

There are triggers as well (not exclusive to addicts). There is the bus station where he parked his motorcycle when the engine froze from lack of oil.  Where I let my anger deal with it in a way that was less than how I, as his Dad, should have handled it.  There was the day when we dealt with relapse and I was frustrated and he looked at me and said “don’t give up on me Dad…”  How could I have made him feel like that?  There was the day we spent at Padua this year speaking.  Robby wanted to look at Padua for school, but we discounted that based on a lot of things that as parents you have to consider.  What if he went there?  Would he have avoided the addiction?  Would he still be with us today?  WHY DID WE NOT LET HIM GO THERE?

These are the things that run through my head constantly. These are the inescapable thoughts driven by guilt and loss that cloud my mind constantly.  These are the fears that this disease preys upon when parents are faced with this disease and the difficult decisions that come with the journey through addiction; decisions that are counterintuitive for parents, decisions that hurt us more than they hurt them.

ROBBY’S VOICE exists, in part, because we do not want any parent to live with “this.” It is the ultimate groundhogs day, repeating itself as vividly as it was when it happened.  Only now, there is loss tied to it; a consequence if you will that can’t ever be rectified.  “I’m sorry” is not enough because forgiveness is trumped by the questions and the permanency of death.

The only advice I can give

If you have lost a child, and you struggle with these same thoughts, I have no answers. Just know that you are either not crazy, or we are both crazy, but we can be crazy together.  If you have a child struggling with addiction, don’t hide from it. Face it.  Use every tool there is because there are no guarantees.  Every decision may be right or wrong and that is the quandary.  Find a strong family group and surround yourself with those that will understand and will stand with you.  If you have a child not addicted, learn, be aware, know this can happen in any home, and talk to your kids early, often and right.

REGRETS,  yes, I’ve had a few, and that few are too long to list. My son passed away. We lost him. I use these words because I can’t say the words “my son is dead.”  For some reason, that phrase is a gut punch that covers me in darkness when I even think it.  For me, passed and lost are not as final. They shield me a bit from the reality that my son is dead and I did not do what needed to be done to protect him, to save him.

You don’t want to live with that and all that comes with it. So do something, today.


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