You’re Not Supposed To Know What To Do
Child Life Specialist at Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts
When someone close to us passes away, we grieve. Many times we experience that same sense of loss when someone we didn’t know, except through their public persona, passes away. Zoë Page talks about the grieving process and talks about how families who lose a child cope. Zoë works as a Child Life Specialist at Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts. We all experience many losses in our lifetime, from family members and friends to the substances used if we’re recovering. How we handle those losses is unique to each of us. If you have experienced the loss of a child, The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon, https://www.dougy.org, has numerous resources for families.
If you or a loved one needs help due to substance abuse, it is available. To contact the Hope Council on Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse, call 262-658-8166, or explore their website at https://www.hopecouncil.org. You can also find AA meetings here: https://mtg.area75.org/meetings.html?dist=7 and NA meetings here: https://namilwaukee.org/meetings/
[00:00:00] [Jaunty Guitar Music]
[00:00:11] Mike: Welcome everyone to Avoiding the Addiction Affliction, brought to you by the Kenosha County Substance Abuse Coalition. I'm Mike McGowan. A few weeks ago, we all witnessed the proceedings surrounding the death of Queen Elizabeth II. I was really struck by how many conversations that started among people about death, grief and emotion. Today we're gonna talk about grief and how that process interacts with our own losses in our own lives. My guest today is Zoe Page. Zoe holds a master's degree in Child Life, works as a child life specialist. She interned to Dartmouth, did a fellowship at Michigan Medicine, and currently works at Baystate Children's Hospital Zoe?
[00:00:55] Zoë: Yes.
[00:00:56] Mike: In Massachusetts. Welcome. How are you?
[00:00:59] Zoë: Good. [00:01:00] Thanks for having me.
[00:01:00] Mike: Well, thanks for doing this. This is the topic that a lot of us, many, many people would rather not talk about it all right?
[00:01:09] Zoë: Yep.
[00:01:09] Mike: But it's one that we all deal with many times in our lives. Do you, do you find that people are reluctant to look at end of life issues before they're literally staring them in the face?
[00:01:21] Zoë: I think for the most part, yeah, I think, you know, in the United States our culture is very much so like that. I think in other countries it's a little different. But in the hospital it kind of depends on the situation. But I feel like most families, yeah, they always wanna, you know, obviously do everything they can for their child or [inaudible].
[00:01:40] Mike: Well, yeah. Now, I know you work with children especially, and we'll, we'll talk about that in a minute, but what do you think scares them about looking at the issue?
[00:01:49] Zoë: I think the biggest part is the unknown and just the huge change that happens when you lose a loved one.
[00:01:58] Mike: You know, we talk a [00:02:00] lot on this podcast obviously about recovery, cuz it's about substance use.
[00:02:04] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:02:04] Mike: And I think that oftentimes people getting into recovery it, it often mimics grief because they're giving away something fairly substantial to them. Can you kind of, for those of us that don't really know the process, can you kind of describe the grief process for us?
[00:02:20] Zoë: Yeah, I was just actually looking into that because in grad school we learn a lot about Elisabeth Kübler- Ross, who is a psychiatrist, and she talks about the five stages of grief, and I think that's, you know, like a basic one.
So it's denial, anger, bargaining and then depression and acceptance. So I think those are the five that you can see, but I think it's all so very, they don't always go in that order. They're, they can be linear or not linear, but you know, it can ebb and flow as well.
[00:02:50] Mike: Let's go through 'em a little bit.
What does denial look like?
[00:02:53] Zoë: So denial is just like being in disbelief that this is happening and that you just, like, we won't accept it, and you're kind of, [00:03:00] you know, hoping for anything that will delay the feeling of grief.
[00:03:05] Mike: If, if I can get into your work a little bit how does that play itself out?
The denial with families when they're told that perhaps their child is terminal.
[00:03:14] Zoë: It, I, it really depends. I think if it was more of an acute event, like an accident and we have a trauma come in, I think it's very much so like, what else can we do? What else can you know? Like, let's keep doing all these tests, let's keep trying everything.
And of course, you know, all the medical teams always happy to do that, but there comes a point where it's just, you know, they're going to die and there's no way around.
[00:03:38] Mike: I don't think every, well maybe does everybody go through anger as well?
[00:03:44] Zoë: I, I mean, I don't necessarily think so. I think maybe some type of anger, I don't know if it's anger and like an outward display, but I think most people, you know, are angry when a loved one dies.
It [00:04:00] just, it might look different.
[00:04:01] Mike: You know, I had a boss once that was oh, geez. I'll try to find a way to put this that doesn't make me sound dumb, but,
[00:04:08] Zoë: [laugh]
[00:04:08] Mike: she tried to model for her staff things all the time. And one time we had a tragic, we had a kid who took his own life and I watched her at the funeral in the span of 90 seconds, work through the grief process, and I knew what she was doing, which is she was modeling it, but it looks so bad and so insensitive. By the time you get to acceptance that things have changed.
That's, that's a long time I would think.
[00:04:38] Zoë: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:40] Mike: How long?
[00:04:42] Zoë: That's a really good question. I think it, it really depends on the person. I don't know if you can, I think over time things just get a little easier and, and change a little bit. And eventually, I think you wake up one day and just accept that life is different now and it's not gonna be the same, [00:05:00] but you could find ways to cope with the new, you know, the new life.
[00:05:04] Mike: You know, I, I had a, a girl I once was at a training with, she was being trained in, in the, some of the peer stuff that I do, right?
[00:05:11] Zoë: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:12] Mike: And her father had passed away and she came up to me and she said, Should I be over it? I said, well, when did he die? And she goes, about a year ago. Wha. And she had told me that her friends were saying, "Come on, it's been a year already".
You already had one Christmas, one birthday. I think some people believed that that's all it takes. How long will somebody go through stuff like this?
[00:05:35] Zoë: I mean, I, I don't think there's any way to put, you know, a time cap on it. I think, I think that's extremely insensitive to say it's been a year, because when someone dies, you're grieving the life, but you're also grieving, like, let's say that person, you know, she might have gone through the first Christmas, the first birthday, all those, those big things in a year.
But then maybe she's gonna get married and she's grieving not having her dad there and she's grieving when she has her first kid, or. [00:06:00] All those different things, you're kind of just grieving what you thought your life would look like and now it's completely different.
[00:06:06] Mike: Huh. You know, that's where I think it comes into recovery a little bit, right? I know that that's not necessarily your area. Grief is, but you know, I think when you go to a wedding and everybody lifts up a champagne flute and you're recovering, you're hitting, you know, you're going back a little ways. You know, when, when the Queen died, this is what got me thinking about doing a podcast on this.
[00:06:27] Zoë: Ya.
[00:06:27] Mike: I know that sounds silly, but I was in the middle of nowhere and I, the people I'm with would probably be insulted by the middle of nowhere, but I'm seriously in the middle of nowhere. The nearest building to the school I was in was seven miles away. So, and this is as rural as rural can get. And two kids came up to me before I did the last assembly and said the Queen died. And then one other one, announced it to the whole school. [00:07:00] Okay. These are kids that I don't even think, I doubt seriously that they'd even studied history that well.
[00:07:08] Zoë: Yeah. [chuckle]
[00:07:10] Mike: So why does, I mean, I, I know you were just speculating. What is it about that. It makes people focus on themselves or makes it the talk of conversation.
And why do people watch the funerals and stuff like that?
[00:07:25] Zoë: Yeah, I always, the funerals and especially how drawn out there, I always think about like the Queen's families, I would think that would just be so hard to have to mourn in public for like, what seven days was it or however long it was. But I was talking about the Queen passing away with like my friends and, you know, and I'm not really into like the whole Royals really.
Or even my parents, but we were talking them and age them a little bit. But like the Queen has been the queen since they were born and it's just like, it's been so long that she's been the queen. And I think it's just like, people are just like, wow, like this. Now the, it's the world's different, like all of [00:08:00] England was mourning and it's for someone they don't even know.
But it represents so much to people.
[00:08:06] Mike: And so part of that is what it represents in their own lives or?
[00:08:12] Zoë: I think it's both. I think it's it what represents like traditions and people are comfortable in tradition and you know, change is hard anyway for like everyone. And I think that's just such a big change with the queen dying and now what? Like taking over and I think then it just makes people reflect on just people in their life who, you know, maybe are older or, I don't know. [laugh]
It's a, it's really interesting. [chuckle] It's a really good question.
[00:08:38] Mike: You know, you're, you're younger than me, but then...
[00:08:40] Zoë: [laugh]
[00:08:40] Mike: again, most people are nowadays . Have you, have you had anybody of that status, not the queen, but like a celebrity or something that it hit you harder than others?
[00:08:52] Zoë: Honestly, I don't really remember.
I mean, I remember like when Kobe Bryant died, like I remember just things blowing up on Twitter and Instagram, [00:09:00] you know, and my friends texting about it. And I'm not even a huge Lakers fan, like, but it's just, he's such a, a big symbol. And I remember that was a really big one.
[00:09:09] Mike: You know, that's a, I think that's a really good example because that affected my, especially my older son.
And I hadn't thought about that till you just said him. For me, it was there's a, there's certain people who I just came to know, quote unquote, God, I just did air quotes. I feel so old.
[00:09:27] Zoë: [laugh]
[00:09:27] Mike: And when they passed, it was, you know, I spent a lot of time watching late night TV when my mom was drinking.
And so when the host of that late night TV show passed away, his name was Johnny Carson. You may not even know, but it affected me. It was almost like a relative had past because I had spent so much time watching him.
[00:09:48] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:09:50] Mike: And tragically he didn't even know who I was. Right.
[00:09:52] Zoë: Right, right!
[00:09:54] Mike: So that feels disconnected sometimes, right?
[00:09:58] Zoë: Yeah. I think I feel [00:10:00] like a lot of people to, my sister especially, it's a really big fan of Robin Williams and I remember. You know that too. And especially his roles. They were so, you know, funny and, and, but then you see what he was struggling with and I think that affected a lot of people as well.
[00:10:17] Mike: You know, when you, when you watch things like the Queen die or a generation before that, before you're probably born Princess Diana pass away.
[00:10:23] Zoë: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
[00:10:25] Mike: You know, people feel the need to bring flowers or notes. And you know, I'm thinking about when John Lennon of the Beatles died and the, all of a sudden there was a mass gathering outside of his house.
[00:10:39] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:10:39] Mike: Why, what, so did people find comfort in one another at that point, or what's the point of that?
[00:10:46] Zoë: Yeah, I think it's just kind of mourning together and being around a group of people who all really like, loved and admired this person, even know they didn't know them in person. But I think like, you know, for Kobe Bryant, people watched him all the time and [00:11:00] felt like they probably knew him because, you know, on social media with his wife and his kids, like he was really, you know, active, I feel like on social media platforms.
So you feel like you get to know them and then you just wanna be around other people who like loved and respect those people too.
[00:11:16] Mike: There's not a right way and a wrong way of doing this. Is there?
[00:11:18] Zoë: No, that's the hard part, I think for a lot of people that you want there to be a straightforward way and there's just not.
[00:11:26] Mike: Is is there any way for people to prepare for loss?
[00:11:29] Zoë: Uh, I think, I mean like, I worked in the NICU, which is the neonatal intensive care unit. So with really premi babies or really sick babies. And just like a quick example, like we had some babies who we knew, you know, were born at like twenty three, twenty four weeks and didn't have a very good prognosis.
But we were able to do, I would present things to parents like, let's do some legacy building. So I didn't make it sound like memory making, but just frame it as like, let's make these memories while we can. And so we would do a lot of different like [00:12:00] legacy activities with families to try and get them, not necessarily to a spot where they're gonna accept that their baby is going to die, but so they had these, these memories to kind of hold onto for the rest of their life when their baby was no longer with them.
[00:12:14] Mike: Can you gimme an example?
[00:12:15] Zoë: Yeah, so we would do different things like we would do embossing. So it's basically like it's like glue. You put it on a canvas and then you put the baby's foot on there, and then the parents like pick a powder and then you use a heat gun. And then you can make just like a really nice like canvas with like mom and dad's hand, baby's foot or hand.
And then if there were siblings, we would also have siblings come in and also be a part of that process. And it's just something that they could do together as a family, even when they knew what was coming down the road.
[00:12:46] Mike: You know, we've had a lot of people on these podcasts, including workers who have worked with drug affected children and all that, when you do that for a living, that has to also affect you.
[00:12:59] Zoë: Yeah, [00:13:00] it can be really tough.
[00:13:01] Mike: So how do you detach from that at the end of the day so that you aren't, aren't sinking into a, a wallow?
[00:13:09] Zoë: I think it's just, I mean, I'm lucky my husband's also in the healthcare field, so I'm able to kind of, you know, without breaking HIPAA, like talk to him about things and kind of like get my perspective.
And I think there's also just you know, there's families and patients that you work with that hit really hard and you just kind of have to know that you did the best you could to help that family in the worst moments of their life. And you have to try and feel good about that. But yeah, it can be really hard.
[00:13:36] Mike: Do you think that doing what you do prepares you for your own personal losses?
[00:13:40] Zoë: [sigh] I think it would, I think, I'd like to think so. But [chuckle] I don't know. I don't know. I think about that sometimes too, cuz we also do work with children of adult patients. And so I've worked with, at the hospital I'm at now, quite a few patients whose parents have died of overdoses or drug drug related death and [00:14:00] yeah, I, I think about when I'm doing like, you know, talking to kids about their parents dying and then thinking about like someday when that will happen. And I think a little bit like, I think rationally I'll know, but I think it's just you can never really prepare yourself for that grief.
[00:14:17] Mike: So, you know, and it's, it's not just death that we grieve over, right?
[00:14:21] Zoë: Definitely.
[00:14:23] Mike: I don't know if, if you've noticed this, it seems to me that there's a lot of grief that has taken place in the last couple years because of a lack of a better word, way of life that COVID affected a lot of people.
[00:14:37] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:14:37] Mike: I see it acting out much the same way as if you lost somebody.
[00:14:41] Zoë: Yep.
[00:14:42] Mike: You too?
[00:14:43] Zoë: Yeah, absolutely. We in the, I also work right now in the pediatric ICU and you know, we had a senior who came in recently who was a really big, he was a quarterback for his football team. Really, really good and good school. And he had a heart condition that they didn't know about. [00:15:00] And so he's, he's lived and it's gonna live, but he's no longer able to play football and it's his senior year and he was just saying, you know, I didn't really have my freshman or my sophomore year cuz of COVID.
And then even last year wasn't, you know, all the same. And then he was really looking forward to senior year of football and now it's done and he can't play like baseball either. So he's grieving, you know, a lot of his high school experience and now his whole senior year.
[00:15:24] Mike: Yeah. You know, my daughter was one of those classes where she had a well, I, I think almost everything, her senior year was canceled.
She had a drive through graduation. You know,
[00:15:35] Zoë: [ugh]
[00:15:36] Mike: [laugh] By the way, as a parent, I loved it.
[00:15:37] Zoë: [laugh]
[00:15:37] Mike: It took 20 minutes, so, you know, it was totally different. And I, you know, just, it's much the same way. Right. You just, there's a sense of loss in how you cope with it.
[00:15:49] Zoë: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:50] Mike: Do you think people wanna isolate or gather when it comes time for loss? No matter what it is?
[00:15:57] Zoë: I, [ugh] I mean, I, I really [00:16:00] think it's dependent on the person. I feel like a lot of people that I've worked with and seen, gather and like speaking of, you know, the part with COVID, like when I was working in the NICU during COVID, if these babies were born and then, you know, we had really strict hospital guidelines of who could come in.
So then the families are grieving now, not being at home with their newborn, they're in the NICU and they can't even have their parents meet their baby or like their other like siblings unless its end of life. So it's like they're grieving how they thought, you know, their family would look after giving birth.
And so I think. It like, Sorry, that kind of doesn't answer your question, but it's like isolating when all people really want them during that hard time is people around them and their loved ones with them.
[00:16:44] Mike: Well, there's not a right or a wrong way to do this. Right?
[00:16:47] Zoë: Right.
[00:16:47] Mike: You see all sorts of expressions.
I think people, you know, when you, when you go through something like this, you must see people who walk away from everything, other people who grab [00:17:00] somebody else, other people who fall to the floor. And I bet you also see occasionally people making light or joke or just to break the tension a little bit. Yeah?
[00:17:09] Zoë: Mm-hmm. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:17:11] Mike: And that's okay.
[00:17:14] Zoë: Yup.
[00:17:17] Mike: Coincidentally, I was at a funeral yesterday. I mean, I didn't know, obviously when we set this up, that was gonna happen.
[00:17:24] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:17:25] Mike: And going through the line is so hard and it was a long line cause it was unexpected. And nobody ever, my son went with me and he says, What do you say?
I, what do you, what do you say? What do you say to the parents who, I mean, what do you say about getting on with the rest of their life.
[00:17:43] Zoë: Yeah, I mean I've had a lot of parents like, cuz you know, I don't really see the parents after, but we're there with them in the moment and leading up to everything. And a lot of them say like, I don't, I don't know what to do.
And really I always say is, you know, you're not supposed to know what to do cuz your child's not supposed to die. [00:18:00] Like, and so it's okay that you don't know what to do. . And then really it's just a lot of like validating how they're feeling and telling them whatever way they grieve, is okay. And I try to remind parents and social work does this really well too, but a lot of times like the different like mom or dad or mom and mom, whoever it is, like they, they grieve very differently and sometimes that can put extra stress because they feel like they should be grieving the way like the other parent is grieving.
[00:18:26] Mike: Like there's a right way to do it.
[00:18:28] Zoë: Exactly. Just giving them permission that there's no right way to grieve.
[00:18:32] Mike: You know, I wish I would've talked to you before I went to the funeral yesterday. The exact phrase you just used, the mom of the gentleman who passed away, you know, they say there's nothing worse than outliving your kid, right?
[00:18:46] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:18:46] Mike: But she said that same thing. I don't know what I'm gonna do.
[00:18:50] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:18:50] Mike: And I didn't have your words. I wish I would've, that would've maybe comforted her. I also, for the, for the wife, I, I, you know, [00:19:00] did the hug and made her chuckle a little bit, and...
[00:19:02] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:19:02] Mike: That's okay too, right?
[00:19:04] Zoë: Absolutely. Yep.
[00:19:06] Mike: Yeah.
And, and so when we talk about losing, sometimes people feel guilty about feeling okay, like, you know what I'm saying?
[00:19:16] Zoë: Absolutely. Oh yeah, for sure.
[00:19:18] Mike: Like you still have to leave and live the next day and live the next week or the next month, right?
[00:19:25] Zoë: Yeah. Yes.
[00:19:26] Mike: So how do you tell them that it's okay to move on?
[00:19:30] Zoë: So, especially when I'm working with, like, we do a lot of work with like siblings. So if like a child dies and their siblings come in, we do a lot of work with them. So, and I think, you know, people, sometimes the siblings are forgotten cuz you're so worried about the mom and dad and you forget that the sibling just lost probably their best friend, you know?
And so I think it's just. Can you say that question one more time? Sorry.
[00:19:56] Mike: Well, like what, how do you tell 'em so you know, it's okay to move on, it's [00:20:00] to live tomorrow, right?
[00:20:01] Zoë: Yeah. I think for kids we, you know, we basically just say, well, we tell parents if it's a younger kid too, grief looks really different.
Like they might be really sad for a little bit and then they might go at play and that's totally fine and they should be doing that and you should, you know, still. Encourage them that, you know, it's okay to still have happy moments and be happy and you're gonna be sad at times and that that's okay too.
And it's gonna take a, a long time to feel like your new normal.
[00:20:30] Mike: You know, you made me think of something else too, which is that, that that sibling, depending on their age, well, no matter their age.
[00:20:37] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:20:38] Mike: They lost, they, they probably have lost their parent too. For a while.
[00:20:43] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:20:43] Mike: Because their parents aren't gonna be as available. Right?
[00:20:46] Zoë: Right.
[00:20:46] Mike: God, goodness gracious so much. Let's define one thing as not okay, if that's all right. My, my cousin brought a quarter barrel of beer and wanted to bring it into the funeral home for my dad who was had a problem with substance abuse. We can, we can rule that one [00:21:00] out as a way of coping, can't we?
[00:21:01] Zoë: Correct. We can.
[00:21:02] Mike: [chuckle]
[00:21:03] Zoë: We can.
[00:21:04] Mike: [chuckle] I, I told him that at the time, but I'm not quite sure he believed me cuz there was a significant part of the rest of the family that really wanted that quarter barrel in the funeral home itself.
[00:21:15] Zoë: Yeah, it's, it's interesting how much drinking kind of, you know, people are like, "Well, let's get drunk and we'll feel better and talk about this loved one".
But it's like, it might help in the moment, but when you wake up in the morning, you're still gonna feel horrible. And it's not, you know. But I feel like our culture too, like so many people who die, like, you know, people will bring like a, a beer or whiskey to like their, their headstone or whatnot. And it's really interesting, like just how much. Alcohol kind of also surrounds grieving.
[00:21:47] Mike: Especially in our culture. Yes.
[00:21:49] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:21:50] Mike: Yeah. And you're originally from Wisconsin?
[00:21:53] Zoë: Sure am. [laugh]
[00:21:54] Mike: Is it different in Massachusetts?
[00:21:56] Zoë: I feel like a little bit, honestly, like. Even just [00:22:00] like access, like you know, we can go to Costco in Wisconsin and buy all this [chuckle] alcohol, but like, you don't do that in Connecticut.
Like at our Costco, we don't have any alcohol.
[00:22:10] Mike: For real. How about gas stations?
[00:22:12] Zoë: Some, but like all the grocery stores I go to like big [inaudible] Stop and Shop? They fell like beer, but they don't, A lot of 'em don't sell like hard liquor and wine. Like you have to go to like a wine or a liquor store.
[00:22:24] Mike: Everybody I've ever talked to who visits from my friends out east who have never seen Wisconsin come to Wisconsin, they always comment on the easy access to alcohol.
[00:22:34] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:22:34] Mike: Number of churches we have and the number of bars.
[00:22:38] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:22:39] Mike: Right.
[00:22:39] Zoë: Yep.
[00:22:40] Mike: That's, that's a triple threat right there.
[00:22:42] Zoë: It, yeah, it is.
[00:22:45] Mike: Well, leave us with, with something Zoe, like if, if somebody is going through a loss, and I'm, I'm thinking specifically, we, we talked to a lot of, we've had quite a few podcasts on here from parents who have lost their children to overdose.
[00:22:57] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:22:58] Mike: And many [00:23:00] of them, of course, because I'm having them on the podcast, I get to know them. Are doing something to keep their children's legacy alive, right?
[00:23:09] Zoë: Yep.
[00:23:09] Mike: But I never really know what to say to them. I always feel like I should make them say something to make them feel better, but that's not really my job, is it?
[00:23:20] Zoë: No. I think sometimes the most important thing you can do for a parent that's grieving is just sit with them in the silence and don't feel like you have to fill, fill that void. Like sometimes just sitting and being with them is enough. And just knowing and just, you know, reassuring them that you're there for them.
But sometimes I think we get so uncomfortable and grief that we wanna try and make things better for people. And sometimes it's just like you said, there's really, there's no words to make it better.
[00:23:48] Mike: Yeah. And you, you know, we make it, do we wanna make it better for them or do we wanna make it better so that we don't hurt.
[00:23:55] Zoë: Exactly. Or so that we're more comfortable cause we're uncomfortable with their pain.
[00:23:59] Mike: Yeah, [00:24:00] it's amazing. Zoe, this was great and in a, you know, that's probably the wrong word to use, but I really appreciate you taking the time to do this with us today because there's so many recovering people and I, I've talked about it a lot.
Let me, if you don't mind, do you mind listening to one short little.
[00:24:18] Zoë: No, I would love, love to hear it.
[00:24:20] Mike: I had a guy I was working with and his thing, he used drugs, and he said, I wanna quit. I really do wanna quit. I want a different life. What do I need to do? And I said, 'Get rid of all your stuff. So there's no reminders".
It's like breaking up with somebody, right?
[00:24:31] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:24:32] Mike: Well, and as long as I'm asking that, [sigh]. Okay. Let me ask that. When somebody passes, man, if you saw. They're, you know, the picture every day and all the reminders. Right? There has to be, it has to be difficult to move on when you're daily reminded, yes or?
[00:24:53] Zoë: Yeah. Absolutely.
[00:24:55] Mike: And, and so when do you take it down? When do you, you know, how do you do that? [00:25:00]
[00:25:00] Zoë: Yeah. I think that's a really good question too. I think some families leave everything how it was, and some, you know, slowly take things down. And it just, it really just kind of depends.
[00:25:13] Mike: Well, this, this kid, he said, All right, I will.
And he, he, So the next day he gives me a big box. He's got all his stuff in it, man. He had a lot of paraphernalia, , and, and then I, I put it in my trunk, which in hindsight was probably not the smartest move to make in the world right?
[00:25:28] Zoë: [chuckle] That's true.
[00:25:29] Mike: But I was just gonna drop it, you know, somewhere. Cause he didn't want it.
And then I looked at him, I said, Give me what you didn't give. And he looked to the ground and he goes, "How do you know this stuff?" I said, "What'd you keep?" He goes, "One pipe".
[00:25:45] Zoë: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:46] Mike: And, and he showed it to me and it was really nice. He'd made it in shop class in high school. So there you go.
[00:25:53] Zoë: [laugh]
[00:25:54] Mike: And, and I said, He goes, "I don't want this in the garbage".
"Can I just bury it in the [00:26:00] backyard?" And I went, No, that's a creepy Stephen King novel, right?
[00:26:04] Zoë: [laugh]
[00:26:04] Mike: And he said, I said, What do you wanna do? He goes, Well, I got the wood in it from the lake. Why don't we go to the lake? And, and so we went to the lake and he paced on the shore lake, and he whipped this pipe into the lake.
And immediately turned away and just was sobbing like crazy.
[00:26:26] Zoë: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:27] Mike: And you know, anybody who saw that probably would've said, what the heck? Right?
[00:26:31] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:26:32] Mike: But for him, that's a huge loss.
[00:26:37] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:26:39] Mike: And he said, he said afterwards, "Do you know what I just threw in the lake?" And I said, "I do not". He said, "My best friend.
[00:26:47] Zoë: Mmm, wow.
[00:26:48] Mike: "The thing that got me through all of the trials and tribulations with my family".
[00:26:51] Zoë: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:52] Mike: And when I saw the queen passing and I, so many of people are affected. That's what I thought of.
[00:26:59] Zoë: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:59] Mike: I thought, [00:27:00] people who are recovering, they use their substance so often. Right.
[00:27:05] Zoë: Right.
[00:27:06] Mike: That it, they're throwing away their best friend.
[00:27:09] Zoë: Right.
[00:27:09] Mike: So maybe we need a new best friend at some point.
[00:27:12] Zoë: Yeah.
[00:27:14] Mike: Well, thanks for humoring me with that little story. I hadn't thought about it.
[00:27:17] Zoë: Oh, it's a, it's a good story.
[00:27:19] Mike: Yeah. Well when he threw it into the lake, I thought maybe he'd dive in after it and I would have to go rescue him.
[00:27:24] Zoë: [laugh] But he didn't?
[00:27:26] Mike: Yeah.
[00:27:27] Zoë: Stayed strong. That's good.
[00:27:28] Mike: Zoe, thanks for talking to us about a, a difficult topic. I really appreciate it. Those of you who are listening, and I hope you enjoyed that topic. Well, please listen in again next week when we talk about more issues regarding substance use. Till then, stay safe and I'll use Zoe's words.
You're not supposed to always know what to.
Stream This Episode
Download This Episode
This will start playing the episode in your browser. To download to your computer, right-click this button and select "Save Link" or "Download Link".