So this has very little to do with me or my books, but I felt I should post it.
It's not so much that I expect it to help - more that not saying something seemed wrong.
Around six months ago I got an email from a mother. Her son, Aidan, had died shortly before she wrote to me, aged 25. On the night he died he was reading King of Thorns and the last page he read bore the lines:
"She needs no deep carved runes to spell out her life. Here I buried my child. A message for which reading is not required"
The lady writing to me wanted to know if she could use the lines on Aidan's headstone, changing just the gender. I said yes, of course. To be asked was the both the biggest honour my writing has brought to me, and at the same time the least welcome, depending as it did upon the loss of a much loved son.
Aidan, a chemistry graduate, a young man with all manner of passions and ambitions, died accidentally from a heroin overdose. He's been described as kind, compassionate, brilliant.
(Aidan, 4 weeks before his death)
Shortly before Christmas one of my daughter's friends (23) also died of a heroin overdose, and last week my daughter flew back from America to attend the funeral of yet another friend (a boy of 21 who had recently graduated from Cambridge University with her) from a Valium overdose.
All of these people were highly intelligent. At some point they were unwise and drugs got their hooks into them. Later they were unlucky and drugs took their lives.
From where I stand all I can see is the waste and the loss and the hurt left behind. The quarter of a century since I was of an age with these three has brought me all manner of experience, good, bad, but most of all unexpected. It's hard to see past the next few years when you're 20-something ... and it's hard to see back past the last 25 years when you're at the wrong end of your 40s.
I suspect that those who escape such addictions don't do so because of any great epiphany. There's no slogan, or example, or reasoning, or 'talking to' that will 'set them straight'. It's probably something that comes from within if they're allowed the luxury of time. Something that grows piece by piece, the product of a thousand grains of sand pouring through the hour-glass, and the absolute best I can hope is that this post is a grain of sand for someone.
I know that like these three individuals many of my readers are in their 20s. I know that like these three my readers are intelligent. And I know that given their numbers there must be some of them out there who share these kind of problems.
So that's it really. I just needed to post - to remember my reader, Aidan, and to add my grain of sand - to say that it does happen, it can and will happen, even if you're careful, even with a degree in chemistry.
Be aware. Be safe. Be happy.
[posted with the blessing of Aidan's mother]