My dearest Doc,
You’ll never know how difficult it is to say goodbye to you. What would we have done without your steady presence? When Jeff was in his tenth rehab and in that delicate space of deciding whether to get clean or submit to yet another deadly run, you were the one who made the difference. You saw his sensitivity and gentleness, and you led him through his pain with grace. You helped him see his inner goodness and you never demeaned him for his addiction. You acknowledged his strengths and helped him to understand his weaknesses.
You taught me, too. You told me that it takes courage to fight addiction and that relapse isn’t failure. You showed me that my loving son was still alive under the drugs. You and I talked for ten years about addiction. When I felt confused or needed direction, you were there. When I reached out for advice for others, you were there. When I doubted my abilities to be a good mother, you were there.
You ended all of our conversations with the words stay close. I’ll stay close, Doc, and continue to spread all I’ve learned from you about taking addiction out of the shadows and into the light. I know you’ll stay close to us, especially to Jeff. He represents your best work.
You told me that addicts are saints in the making. You, Doc, are a saint to us. Pray for us.
With love and eternal respect,