The candid obituary a mother wrote for her son has touched the hearts of many around the world.
Gwen Knox of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had the difficult task of writing an obituary for her son, Brian. Brian died on Dec. 30, 2015, at the age of 40 of a drug overdose, reported The Advocate.
While few obituaries mention the cause of death, Gwen included her son’s addiction as part of the picture of his life.
“He would say, 'I can stop using anytime I want to stop' and there were times he did, but those times never lasted because when he was drug free he had to deal with all of the thoughts going through his head […] Different treatment modalities were introduced into his life, but the pull of drugs were so strong until he always went back to what he could count on giving him the escape he needed even if it was for a short period of time.”
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Gwen also included a poem entitled "Let Me Fall All By Myself" as advice for others who have loved ones struggling with addiction.
“I think it's going to come from parents,” she said to WAFB. “If we can catch our kids early enough and let them fall. Brian didn't fall, because I protected him. ‘I'm here. Fall on me.’ I did the best that I could do with the knowledge that I had. As I acquired more knowledge, I changed. I had to think about myself.”
Gwen has received more than 300 responses to her son’s obituary, from Brian's childhood friends to complete strangers. Addiction therapists, others who are struggling with addiction, and even a man who hoped that Brian's obituary could help to save his marriage told Gwen about the effect the obituary has had on their lives.
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“When I get home, I will let [my wife] read about Brian and hopefully repair some of the damage I have done,” Knox read of the letter from the troubled husband. “Thank you for sharing and helping me with my closure.”
With Brian’s urn resting above her computer, Gwen has responded to every message.
"Love your addict,” Gwen advises in the obituary. “Know that they are sick, but don't let their sickness make you ill."