Sunday, 11 December 2011


I found out a few days ago that Nathan's mum had put the call out to his old cronies at rehab.
"She is searching for people who knew Nathan. She wants to know a little about his life, from people he knew ... Eden, I find you to be an inspiration in life itself and was wondering if you could fit him into a blog or write something I could give his mother. She called me today and told me she had asked many people to write something about him and she had no replies. I think it would make her Christmas to hear just a little of your story about him .. to please write a few words to her, reminding her of what her son was like."

I've never met Nathan's mum. We could cross each other in the street and just keep walking, unaware. The thought of her getting no replies utterly kills me. Imagine asking the strangers who were in rehab with your child .. for some memories of them. Anything. Seriously, imagine how hard that would be.

Nathan's mum, Nathan was beautiful.

He wasn't a tall guy, but he had the friendliest and most gorgeous eyes. And a wicked smile. He was funny .. genuine, friendly, and very cheeky. He and I were just mates ... which was rare for me back then. I had a habit of cracking onto every cute boy I saw, and took extra care in the mirror before the meetings at night.

There was such a camaraderie in that place on Waratah Street. Nathan was very popular, because his heart and laughter were infectious. We'd cruise out in groups for coffee, go to the movies, watch videos late into the night on the weekends.

I miss that place, and the people. It's easy to glamourise and romanticise it ... and holy shit the group therapy. The group therapy. We were pummelled and pulled apart. Some of us got it. Some of us were cracked open just enough to let some clarity in like Jules says in Pulp Fiction.

I saw Nathan "get it" for a while. He and I were actually quite similar. We flitted around, in and out. Had a few false starts and spells around the track. We'd see each other in the street, and always stop and say hi. It's like we were Ralph and Sam, taking it in turns. I'd boost him if he was down and out, then a few months later he's boost me. One day I walked into the fruit and veg shop and there he was, proudly carting the palletes around. He'd got his shit together, and for the first time in a long time, so had I. We were just so fucking proud of ourselves.

I walked past that church that time and I don't know why I went in but I did. And there's Nathan and Paul C, playing the guitar and piano together, just jammin' out. Laughing, and having fun. Straight as the Ace of Spades, both of them. How incredible was Nathan's guitar playing! You must have paid for lessons? People often talked about it.

I'll never forget the time in group when Nathan had just been to the dentist. The therapist was questioning him about the painkillers - what did they give him and how much was he taking?

He had a whole pack of Panadeine Forte, and admits that he wasn't in any pain right then. But he'll hold on to the pack because he *might* be in pain later.

She laughed so hard she had tears, told him what classic addict thinking that was and got him to surrender his pack over. (Begrudgingly.) I didn't know why she was laughing. I completely understood why he'd hold onto it. Pre-empting his pain, I guess.

Nathan's mum, there was more pain to come. He struggled with it. I witnessed it. I heard him share at meetings and then he'd go back out and come back in. It's a real unique hell, that kind of struggle. I am so sorry.

I cried hard when Paul C came running into my room to tell me that Nathan had died in his bathroom. Paul C came to visit me in 2001 when my son was born. He bought him his first ever stuffed toy .. a blue and white puppy called Bones. He still has it. Paul died not long after - heart attack from too much coke.

For so many years I kept thinking that I saw Nathan in the street. It was uncanny. Then I'd realise that he was gone, and wouldn't be pushing the fruit palletes or playing that guitar or lifting weights. Or stroking his new baby girls hair. All of those undone things.

I am so, so sorry.

I wish I had more memories for you. I wish I could blow you away with insight and funny things and reasons why. I passed a photo I had of him onto his daughter, he was at his grad and had a white t-shirt on with jeans and he was happy and proud. You can see it in his eyes.

I don't know why some of us make it and some of us don't. My thoughts are with you as you spend another Christmas without him. I can tell you that I'll never stop thinking about him. Or the others who have gone now too.

I'll try my hardest to honour them by staying on the right path myself and living life to its fullest. For all of us.



  1. This is amazing, what comfort you'll bring Nathan's mother. I often feel like a voyeur reading your blog as i don't know you but your struggle & triumph, honesty & experience is so raw & inspiring, it will make us all better people, parents & partners in the struggle against drugs. I'm a pharmacologist & psych degree too, but the science doesn't make sense of pyschology. I'm raising my 4 children with all of our eyes wide open.
    I know you probably hear 'you are so brave' all the time, but wow, you truly are. Wishing you the world of luck & 2001 was a great year, i had twins, that was life changing for me too, career girl no more (& not since). Love Posie

  2. Eden, you rock. I know a few Mums who would give anything for someone to talk about their kids the way you did of Nathan to his Mum.

    You seen the real Nathan - the REAL Nathan. Not the outside that other people seen.


  3. What a gift, Eden. I am moved beyond words. There's nothing else I can say right now. x

  4. Beautiful. Thank you for being you, for giving Nathan's mother the gift of this story, your openness and honesty an inspiration to us all.

  5. You are amazing Eden! What a beautiful gift for Nathan's mum!

  6. Eden, as a mum who's lost a son, can I just tell you, that will be the most beautiful present Nathans' mum will get this Christmas.

  7. I'm a mother of an adult son who may not have made it thanks to addictions .....and I am grateful beyond belief that places where he stayed for his non-drug addictions were tough & supportive at once.
    No longer could charm work. Only truth.
    It's a long while since those days........ But as his mum I never, ever stopped thinking how he may not have survived. Suicide was "easier" than facing up to what he did.

    Eden, you are a mother's mother... And by that I mean you know the anguish and the Endless love of mothering sons.

    Nathan's mum is going to be so touched by your memories. All she has to hold onto now... And here you are sharing the days & nights you recall that we're with Nathan.

    Love your poetry in writing, Eden. Denyse xx

  8. Beautiful inside and out.
    If I was your mom I'd be so proud of the woman you have become. Much love to you.
    x0 Linda

  9. Oh Eden you are amazing. The beauty and honesty of your words will be an enormous gift to a mum who I'm sure misses her son with every single breath. My brother had a serious addiction and I find myself understanding him better through your words.

  10. Seriously thank you so much for your comments.

    I wasn't going to write this here at all ... sat down to write a post on my new watch and the ticking of time and growing older. Some fancy shit like that.

    Writing things like this makes me feel simultaneously exposed and free.

    Nathan's mum, I don't even know your name. Amazing people read this blog and I hope your heart is lifted a bit by their kind words.


  11. I imagine that this will be the best gift she will get.

  12. Eden you have amazing insight, I can't imagine the miles you've walked in your shoes. If you ever write a book I swear I will fly over to have it signed. Not because you'll be famous (yeah that too) but so I can touch you as you sign it and know that you are real. You are an angel, I feel so honoured to 'know' you and be a part of your community.

    I love that you make that choice to stay strong not just for you. Nathan would be proud. xo

  13. There doesn't seem to be too many posts of yours that I read without a tear coming to my eye. You are a brilliant writer, and feel like I might know Nathan just though your words and descriptions and now his Mum will too. So beautiful, so worthwhile x

  14. Eden, you have an incredible gift and you have just given that gift to Nathan's mum. Priceless xxx

  15. You've got me thinking of another time; another son; another grieving mother. I've got a lump in my throat. You know, Eden, you're the only other person I even kind of know who made it through all that dark stuff that people go through. I haven't met another one since I turned my back on my friends and walked away. Where are all the survivors?

  16. I don't cry much anymore ... until I cry and can't stop -- but this post, like the one on beautiful drunks everywhere ... leaves me with tears in my eyes -- because you know what I never stopped to think of until just this minute? That my father was somebody's son -- someone's identical twin -- and to see them struggle -- and win for a little while -- your writing is singing in the midst of all of this pain my friend.

    You've tapped into your heart's work in posts like these.

    Always love,


  17. Eden, that you do this is a beautiful thing. You have given a parcel of love to Nathan's Mum. And to youself, I suspect.


  18. Eden,
    It's already been said before but what a priceless gift you have given Nathan's Mum - by responding to her you have proven Nathan, was here, he did connect & he made a difference!
    You are a gifted writer who also makes a difference & for that I am thankful.
    Lisa xxx

  19. That was truly beautiful, Eden. You just made her heart beat a little louder. The best gift.

  20. I love your writing so much. It reminds me of my favourite book when I was a teenager. It's a very peaceful and no bullshit lyrical kind of thing. I love it.


  21. Pow. Right in the kisser. Such powerful writing. I', sure Nathan's mum's heart is swelled by everyone thinking of her boy today And beyond.

  22. What an amazing gift you have just delivered. Nathan's mum will no doubt wrap this up in the warmest part of her heart and treasure it (and you) forever.

    So glad you made it, are making it... There is a reason in all this madness and through your writing you will help so many more come through the otherside x

  23. Oh Eden that was beautiful. You're absolutely right I can't imagine what it would be like to have to ask strangers for memories of my own child. The heartache of not having them for yourself, the terrible loneliness of hearing nothing back. No scraps of joy to hold onto. Your story was wonderful. I hope it provides her joy to know that he touched your life in such a positive way.

  24. Your writing slays me. Beautiful, honest and a gift for Nathan's mum

  25. Eden, my worry is for you right now. How easy it would be to say "fuck it" and give up, how you feel that the road inevitably leads to more pain and...death.
    But please know, that these people, they would want you to fight. They are there for you in your darkest moments, and they are cheering you on when you get it right.

    Life is fucked. We all deal with it in our own ways, but remember those gorgeous boys of yours? They're not better off without you, or with a calmer you, they're thriving on the straight you.
    It's more than your children though, it's your family, and your friends. Friends you probably don't realise that you have. There is a whole world cheering you on Eden.

    Nathan had a whole world cheering him on too. He just didn't stop long enough to hear them.
    I hope that this post brings some comfort to his mother. He sounds like he was a beautiful man.

  26. You beautiful beautiful woman, inside and out. What a wonderful, special, intimate gift for Nathan's Mum.

    I don't even know you or Nathan and yet my heart swells with pride at your words.

  27. Damn it! I visit here often yet I rarely leave comments, but shit you make me cry more often than I like to.

    Sitting at work with tears running down my face is hard to explain, not to mention what it does to my makeup.

    You have a way with words that some people can only dream of!

  28. How lucky is Nathan's mum that he knew you, and that you could share his spirit so beautifully. I feel enriched through having met him through your words. What a world you've lived through - this is why you keep going - to share this gift you have. Beautiful.

  29. Lovely words Eden. What a great comfort to Nathan's Mum they will be.

  30. You honestly don't realise the gift you bring to everyone, do you? You light us all up in different ways. I hope Nathan's mum sees this and feels a modicum of comfort. It kills me too that no-one else bothered. xx

  31. A little crack as my heart breaks just there. That she received no replies... I can't handle that. God love you, Eden. x

  32. This is such a gift. You are a beautiful soul Eden.

  33. Precious words, beautifully written.

    You are an angel, Eden x

  34. This has brought tears to my eyes. You have a talent for seeing the best in everyone and being able to write about it.
    Very beautiful.

  35. Nathan's mum will cherish your memories of her son - you've helped her to create new ones of her own. Such a beautiful gift you've given her - somehow you manage to find a glimmer of joy in all the pain for her to hold on to.
    I hope she's given more memories from others who knew Nathan. xx

  36. Wonderful tribute. I hope it helps...

  37. Shit, Eden. You're a good egg.


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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