Finding GRASP, Exiting the Fog

Submission Date: January 27, 2019
Attributing Author: Associated Press (AP)
Source: Cleveland.com

After the overdose: A family's journey into grief and guilt

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — There is nothing left to do, no more frantic phone calls to make, no begging or fighting that can fix this because the worst thing that could happen already has, so Doug Biggers settles into his recliner and braces for his daughter’s voice to echo through his head.

"Keep going, Daddy," she's saying.

It's been months since they knelt over his 20-year-old son on the bedroom floor. But in these quiet moments, her words haunt him.

"Don't give up," she'd said as he thrust down on his son's chest — his skin already blue, his hands already clenched. The 911 operator counted out compressions — "One, two, three. Push, push, push" — so he'd pushed and pushed, trying not to cry, trying not to be sick, trying not to imagine his son as a little boy, dressed like a cowboy and pulling a wagon, before his addiction turned their lives into a series of crises like this one: sheer terror and constant, futile thrashing to save him.

"Keep going, you're doing good," his daughter, Brittaney, had repeated until the ambulance arrived and they were shooed to the kitchen. The paramedics walked out, shaking their heads. Doug pounded on the counter and pleaded "no, no, no." Brittaney glanced at the clock on the stove to record the moment hope was lost: 11:43 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2017.

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