A friend, who is a nurse practitioner in an intensive care unit, wrote to me, I had to tell another 20-year old that she was going to die. She had had three open-heart surgeries for endocarditis. She was denied a fourth. She continued to use IV heroin. Even as she died, she was seeking a high. The morphine wasn’t good enough; she wanted dilaudid. After I told her parents that she would not survive another surgery, she asked me if she was dying. I told her, “Yes, you are dying.” She took my hand and said, “Thank you.” She died the next day.

It is terrible and devastating and depressing. They just keep coming.

My reflection: I’m haunted by the girl’s relief at hearing she’s about to die – human life shaved of its vitality and hope, and at such a tender age. Life is not supposed to be like this.

Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction is now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, with 64,000 overdoses last year nationwide – a 22% increase over the previous year. Every 19 minutes someone dies. My son once told me, “An addict isn’t afraid to die. An addict is afraid to go the next day without drugs.” Today, we all must work harder to reach these children before they give up hope. With compassion and love, we must work within our communities to reverse the sweeping tides of deaths.