Friday, February 14, 2014

Comparing the Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman to the Death of my Son

The first time I was introduced to Philip Hoffman Seymour was when my son brought the movie “Scent of a Woman” to the house and we watched it together. We watched the movie more than once and we were fascinated by his talent as an actor and by the movie as a whole. When I heard that he died of a heroin drug overdose, I was affected by the loss as my son also died of a similar cause 10 years ago.

The media is all over the place about this tragic death. Topics like “Stars Mourn the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman”, “Drug Dealers Targeted...” and “Four Arrested in Drug Probe” and so on. He has been on the news over and over again and on the internet with many people involved on commenting whether drug addiction is a disease or a choice.

Mr. Hoffman was among the rich and famous. Unlike Mr. Hoffman, no one cared about my son’s death. He did not make the headline news. No one cared about arresting the drug dealers. In fact when I told the officer in charge that we think that there is a link to a drug dealer, he dismissed it immediately and told me that they do not bother with the small stuff. I simply told him that catching the drug dealer will not affect me but that I did not want another parent to lose a child. When the he gave me his card, he told me “I buy houses in case you want to sell his house”.

At the academy awards in 2006 in his acceptance speech Mr. Hoffman thanks his mother for raising him on her own. He was proud of his mother as my son was always proud of me. I have a tender spot in my heart for Philip as in many ways I see that he was a sensitive and caring person as my son was.

Many on the internet are judging Mr. Hoffman for dying of drugs. These people do not realize that those who die of drugs struggle all their lives and do not want to use drugs but are addicted and cannot stop no matter how hard they try. They did make a stupid choice when they tried the drugs for the first time. However, after they are addicted, I do not think that they have a choice. They are tangled and have difficulty quitting.

We know that many people are on drugs and yet they do not die. Many act as if they are better than those who overdose.  I often sense a relief on their part that justifies my son’s death in their minds because of the manner in which he died. It is as if he deserved to die because he tried drugs. I do not think that the manner of death does make a difference to the bereaved parent as to the enormity of the loss. The loss is the same. The emptiness and void is the same. However, it would have been easier to the bereaved parent if society did not distinguish to such a measure as to the differences in the causes of death.

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