Grief: Goodbye Max, Josh and JP

Late on Wednesday night I had some devastating news. I lost my good friend Max, only in his thirties, Josh, who was just twenty three and my ex-boyfriend’s father (whom I lived with for eighteen months).

I had decided to re-join Facebook after a long break (even though it annoys me at the best of times) mostly because I was a bit bored. Just a couple of hours after reactivating my account I saw that someone had posted a memorial event for JP, my ex’s father. It was a long time coming to be honest; he was seventy five and quite sickly. I found out later that he died of an Ischaemic heart attack (most likely due to a lifetime of chain-smoking and a bad diet).

Ten minutes later I saw someone post a memorial video for my friend Max. I didn’t understand at first, I had not spoken with him too long ago and he was fine; healthy and happy. Straight away I messaged a friend of mine saying ‘please tell me Max is still here???’

He replied immediately saying ‘I’m afraid not. And neither is Josh.’

I stared at the screen for a long time, in utter shock and disbelief before bursting into tears. I went straight out to my parents and told them my friends had passed on. My mum was not comforting at all- I told her I didn’t have all the information yet but that my best guess was that their deaths had something to do with drugs- she said she had no sympathy. My dad sat me down and handed me a tissue and spoke with me for a while, however later he too said that he had no sympathy because people make a choice when they take drugs. This broke my heart.

I drank a bottle and a half of wine after that and searched my computer for videos of Max until the early hours of the morning. I cried myself to sleep.

The following day, on Thursday, I was not myself in any way. I was speechless and brain-dead. It took me until yesterday night to even process the information. It was only last night that I found out what exactly happened to them. I was told that another person, James, had died in the same house two days before Max and Josh and that there is still a lot of speculation about whether the deaths were linked and that everyone is waiting for the toxicology reports to come back- but there are two possibilities.

It is thought that James (who I didn’t know) took a pure form of the drug Fentanyl and it stopped his heart. This drug can be lethal even in small doses. As for Max and Josh, who died on the same day, two days after James, they were probably drowning their sorrows and decided to get wasted. It is possible that they thought the Fentanyl was something else and just took the whole thing, having no idea of the lethal consequences. But it is equally possible that they messed with some random drugs- again not knowing what they were- that they had found litter-picking at a festival. Nobody knows yet, we just have to wait.

I spoke about this at length with my therapist yesterday. It is clear that this has come as a stark reminder of the dangers of being self-destructive and messing around drugs and alcohol and mixing things that you shouldn’t. This has come as a reminder to me too, as almost every day now I am mixing my medication with alcohol. Not only that but I have a lot of other friends either with addiction problems or who take drugs recreationally. I have lost four young friends in the past ten years. I cannot lose any more. And no one I know should have to lose me either due to the way I behave with my addictions: alcohol and anorexia.

My thoughts and love go out to the friends and family of Max, Josh, James and JP.


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