And I would have stayed up with you all night, Had I known how to save a life, How to save a life, How to save a life (The Fray, How to save a life, 2009)
Thank you for being here, for listening to my words, for sending me your love and support and understanding. You have held me up when I could not figure out how to take the next step. I am forever grateful and honored and humbled by your love and support.
It’s been 3 months since we lost Bryan; our son, our brother, our brother-in-law, our uncle, our nephew , our cousin, our grandson, our friend. We are now, ‘that’ family. The parents who lost their child, to drugs, to an accidental overdose.
We are that family.
Did I ever think it would be us? Honestly? No. I always thought Bryan would make it out of his addiction. I knew there would be rough roads, slips, times when we were all, especially Bryan, crawling our way out of the deep, dark, hell-hole of addiction. But, I always, always thought he would come out the other side.
But, he didn’t.
So what does that mean at the 3 month anniversary of our incredible loss? What does it mean as we navigate our new membership in a club we never, ever thought we would be a part of?
It means that it can happen. It means you relive the moment your heart split into a million pieces and you know it can never be put back together.
It can happen to anyone.
Did Bryan want to be an addict? Did he feel like, “Yeah! Look at what I’m doing to mess up my life, my health, my family!” Did he plan on this happening? Did he want to be in detox, rehab, sober homes? Did he want to live in fear for his life?
No, he didn’t. Why it happened, why him, those are questions that will never be answered. What I do know is he fought for his life, every minute of every day. Of that I am sure.
When he and I spoke about his addiction, trying to find the sense in what was happening, he turned to me and said:
“Do you think I want to be that guy? The guy who lies to his parents? The guy who takes and takes and causes this to happen??? The guy who hears his mom cry in the bathroom? Do you think I want to be an addict???”
That’s when I knew this was beyond a want, a need, a desire. This was and is bigger than I could ever imagine. Addiction is a monster. A monster that takes hold and tries to steal the mind, soul, and heart of our loved ones. I wasn’t battling Bryan, I wasn’t fighting with my son, my sunshine, the one I called “bright eyes” because he was always so full of life. I was battling the monster who took possession inside of him, who wanted to take him from me, from us, from this world. I fought that monster. Bryan fought it too, we all did. And we always looked for and found Bryan in the midst of this nightmare. He was always there, his heart, his love, his joy in life.
When someone becomes an addict it is no longer a choice. Yes, when they first try it, experiment, yes, that’s a choice. After that? When you’re an addict, when you have that propensity, it becomes a disease.
Would the monster win? Could the monster win?
These were real fears and ones he took on and fought in order take his life back, to be there for his family, his brothers, his sister-in-law, his nephews, his friends. He knew he had to fight and he did.
Bryan worked hard at achieving his sobriety and he did come out the other side, the first time. Eight years later, after achieving so many dreams, Bryan found himself battling his addiction monster, because it never, ever goes away. It waits and when the time is right, when defenses are down, it creeps in and convinces the addict that everything is going to be OK and it’s not going to hurt anyone … this time. Once again, Bryan took hold of this monster and said, “Enough” and he made the calls. But, as you know, there was no room for him in detox or rehab and he waited and as he waited, as he fought the nightmare of the physical,emotional, mental forces of addiction, he died.
That should not happen to another son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, nephew, grandson, friend. There is an epidemic on Long Island. One way we can fight it, in Bryan’s name (http://bryanbauschfoundation.org), is to raise money for Phoenix House. To donate funds for a bed for one person, who, like Bryan, has reached out, has said, “Enough!” and wants to get help (https://www.gofundme.com/bryanbausch). If Bryan’s passing can save one life, think of how miraculous that would be.
If it makes sense for you, please share Bryan’s story. Any donation amount will help achieve this dream of saving a life. Please donate in love for someone you know, please donate in memory of someone who, like Bryan, fought this disease and the addiction won. Our goal is $10,000, we are more than half-way there. Please help Bryan’s foundation ‘save a life.’
Thank you for listening, for being there, for everything.