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The God Squad: Daughter's death shakes mother's faith

January 28, 2011|By Rabbi Marc Gellman

Question: I lost my 22-year-old daughter to a possible heroin overdose. I won't have the answers until the medical examiner's office speaks to me in a few weeks. I found her on the floor of her bedroom. A syringe was found in her bed. She'd recently come home from rehab. While she'd only been back a month, I thought we were doing all right. Relapse was always a concern, but I never thought I'd lose her. I spoke to her that morning. She was excited about a job interview and we were getting a Christmas tree that afternoon.

I was happy to have my daughter home. Hearing her snoring in her bedroom each evening gave me a peace that every mother knows — she's safe, she's home, we're going to be OK. I prayed every night, asking God to watch over her, to keep me and the family strong. Every time she walked out the door, I'd pray again; worry was a constant.

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I haven't prayed since her death because God took my girl and I don't understand why. My mom died a few years ago from cancer. She was my best friend. Although difficult, her passing was more the natural order and I made peace with it. I also went through a painful divorce but was able to carry on. I remember thinking, "God only gives you what you can handle."

Why God took my child, after all our efforts to save her, I'll never know. This beautiful, intelligent, struggling girl was so loved. A caring, gentle soul, she was sick. As her parent, it was my job to get her better. No matter how long the struggle, I was willing to face it. Why couldn't God give me that chance?

I'm left with wonderful support groups that want me to speak, and incredible detectives who are investigating the drug dealer my daughter met the night before her death. The support has been helpful to me and my family, and I'm thankful for it. Now, tell me how to put my thoughts in order, to not hate the drug dealer who might have poisoned my baby, to believe in God and pray again.

— D., via godsquadquestion@aol.com

Answer: I pray that God might receive the soul of your daughter in heaven. I pray that you might continue to find comfort from friends and other parents who've lost children to drug abuse. I'm not praying now that you'll find your way back to God.

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