Rosehedge/Multifaith Works Blog

Friday, April 20, 2012

I Felt Like I Was Loving Him

In the spring of 2009, our son Ryan, then 20, moved to Capitol Hill. We were thrilled to have him so close again, and we have priceless memories of visiting him in his apartment there and spending time walking through the neighborhood with him. That was before we had ever heard of Rosehedge, or Multifaith Works; unfortunately, we didn’t know that there was an agency right here who could have offered support to Ryan in his recovery from addiction and in coping with his Hepatitis C treatments. Support that would have been understanding and supportive of the unique challenges he faced as a young gay man.

In the summer of 2009, our son Ryan died of a heroin overdose after reuniting with his old, using friends. We had the great gift and privilege of spending 17 days with him at Harborview Medical Center beforehand…and holding him in our arms as he died. It was in our grief and efforts to make sense of life without our son that we found what was then Multifaith Works. We gathered a group at our East-side church of people who wanted to get involved in serving those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and came to CareTeam training. But while I waited, anxiously, for the day of the training, I began to come into the office to help in whatever small way I could.

One of the many, many painful things about losing a child is that you have spent your life nurturing them, loving them, meeting their needs…then all of a sudden there seems to no longer be a way to love that child – they are gone. But I found, during my Fridays spent stuffing and sealing envelopes or putting together CareTeam manuals, that I felt like I was doing something for Ryan. I felt like I was loving him.

And so, each Friday I make the drive from Redmond across the bridge to Capitol Hill, with the goal of serving the people who make Rosehedge/Multifaith Works what it is, as well as knowing that as I do so, I am loving Ryan. And for that, I am truly thankful. 

Linda R.
CareTeam Volunteer


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