Obituary: ‘Love your addict’

The family of Shane Paul Lohan, of Hanover, Mass., wasn’t reluctant to describe their son in the obituary his mother had to write for him last week.

He was a drug user; heroin, as near as we can tell. It killed him at he age of 24.

Here’s the obituary.

Shane Paul Lohan, age 24 of Hanover entered into eternal rest on December 1, 2016, He was the middle child born to Maryann Lohan of Hanover and Mark Lohan of Milton and his brother Luke Lohan of Hanover and sister Emily Lohan of Braintree. He is also survived by Ian McGrath, Tony Costa, and a host of family, friends, aunts, uncles, and the best cousins of all.

Shane loved to a fault, always wanting to help others. He was born with beautiful blue eyes, blessed with intelligence, a caring heart for the underdog, and his wit. Shane never met a stranger that he didn’t find the ability to strike up a conversation with. He was always the life of the party, he burned the candle at both ends and to know him was to love him.

Shane was a tormented spirit trying to deal with all of his past choices and their consequences. He never seemed to get a break; always falling and having to pull himself out of one hole after another. He started experimenting with drugs in his teens and came to think that the only solution to whatever he was dealing with was drugs. They became his go to solution for every problem. 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.

Coping with life was not a skill that he ever acquired. He looked at everything as one whole pie and could not just take one slice out to work on it. Different treatment modalities were introduced into his life, but the pull of this drug was 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. He never wanted to look at his addiction as an illness.

As his mother I will miss him terribly, but as his mother I will also no longer have to witness his pain or worry about this day coming because it’s here. My one solace is that his tormented spirit has now been released from his body to return to the giver. We loved Shane with every fiber of our being, but none of that love could protect him from this world that we live in where drugs are so accessible. They can be purchased online and mailed to your house or bought on the corner.

Love your addict, know that they are sick, but don’t let their sickness make you ill. If they could, this is what they would tell you:

“If you love me let me fall all by myself. Don’t try to spread a net out to catch me. Don’t throw a pillow under my ass to cushion the pain so I don’t have to feel it. Don’t stand in the place I am going to land so that you can break the fall (allowing yourself to get hurt instead of me)

Let me fall as far down as my addiction is going to take me, let me walk the valley alone all by myself, let me reach the bottom of the pit … trust that there is a bottom there somewhere even if you can’t see it. The sooner you stop saving me from myself, stop rescuing me, trying to fix my broken-ness, trying to understand me to a fault, enabling me …

The sooner you allow me to feel the loss and consequences, the burden of my addiction on my shoulders and not yours … the sooner I will arrive … and on time … just right where I need to be … me, alone, all by myself in the rubble of the lifestyle I lead … resist the urge to pull me out because that will only put me back at square one …

If I am allowed to stay at the bottom and live there for a while … I am free to get sick of it on my own, free to begin to want out, free to look for a way out, and free to plan how I will climb back up to the top. In the beginning as I start to climb out… I just might slide back down, but don’t worry I might have to hit bottom a couple more times before I make it out safe and sound … Don’t you see ?? Don’t you know?? You can’t do this for me … I have to do it for myself, but if you are always breaking the fall how am I ever supposed to feel the pain that is part of the driving force to want to get well.

It is my burden to carry, not yours … I know you love me and that you mean well and a lot of what you do is because you don’t know what to do and you act from your heart not from knowledge of what is best for me … but if you truly love me let me go my own way, make my own choices be they bad or good … don’t clip my wings before I can learn to fly … Nudge me out of your safety net … trust the process and pray for me … that one day I will not only fly, but maybe even soar.” Unknown Author.

I wanted to share this with you because as a mother I made so many mistakes with my son’s addiction. I wanted him to fall on me to cushion his fall, but that was not what he needed.

Visitation in the Sullivan Funeral Homes, 551 Washington Street, Rte 53, Hanover, on Wednesday from 4-7 PM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday at 10 AM at St Mary of the Sacred Heart Church, 392 Hanover St, Rte 139, Hanover. Burial to follow at Blue Hills Cemetery in Braintree.

(h/t: Kristin Nierengarten)

  • Anna

    I don’t know how much longer the country can survive if we keep losing its brightest prospects to the lure and emotional prison of illegal drugs.

    It’s as though their psyches shatter from the pressure to conform, to be liked, to feel they fit in.

    Most mature adults know illegal drugs cannot cure or fix what’s missing.

    Technology can do many wonderful things but its ability to form lasting bonds of friendship and belonging is fleeting at best.

    The old question, “Parents do you know where your children are?” has as much if not more relevance today as it did decades ago.

    The big drawback in the 21st century is you can no longer move away from the problem. It follows no matter where you live thanks to the digital age.

  • Laurie K.

    Wow. This was heart-achingly on the mark. I commend the mother for shining a light on an issue that we are all too eager to pretend does not exist, or at least to pretend it does not exist in OUR families. With overdoses accounting for more deaths than motor vehicle accidents, it is time to talk about the disease of addiction.