Photo by Susan Fischbach Isaacs

Less than 24 hours ago I received the horrific news that another of my sons’ childhood playmates is dead from heroin addiction. I feel helpless as the parents of these young men wail in untenable agony, their own helplessness now embodied in the corpses of their sons.

Imagining their pain makes my stomach feel ill, but my retching doesn’t make a bit of difference to them. I’m so sorry that they are going through this anguish, but what does my sorrow gain them?

Helpless. It’s just a helpless feeling to see friends in such intense pain and to have only a shoulder to offer. There are no comforting words, especially in the immediacy of this traumatic death. There is nothing to do but to be present, which seems cruel when the person they really want to be with is no longer here.