We Give Them Wings and Then We Must Let Them Fly.......

It was an unexpected conversation and a particular tragic event that got me thinking this week, and had my mind going to places I really didn't want it to go.

The conversation was unexpected due to the rarity of these things. What's rare is wonderful it is said, and all the more appreciated when all the stars align and the gods smile down to facilitate lovely, peaceful visits with the patient. And this really was one of a couple of  lovely recent visits. 

This particular conversation centred around the music, from her era, that was playing in the background. I used it to start a conversation, to see where it would go. Asking a patient of a certain age with Dementia (among other things) if they remembered 'Bill Hailey and The Comets' as you sing-a-long can open all sorts of doors to memories you thought were long since locked away.

Oh, she did indeed remember him. Her eyes lit up as she told me all about him and the weekly dance that she and all her friends used to go to in the Assembly Hall of the local school. Her local primary school that is, the one that in time would also be mine. And the Assembly Hall that I as a child would watch school concerts and a rare movie in, a cinema reel movie that constantly broke down! 

She recalled that the song 'Rock Around the Clock', and dancing to it, was such 'fun'.  They jigged and they jived to his music, and all the songs played by the band and simply 'had a laugh'. She couldn't remember how much the entrance fee was but she definitely remembered that the boys all stood to one side and the girls to the other! And no, she didn't have to wait very long to be asked up to dance and no, there was never any drink involved. They 'didn't bother with drink' you see.

Now I know people did drink back then too, indeed it was the scourge of many families, but this memory did evoke a time of such innocence and harmless fun. They all smoked I'd say but drink wasn't necessary for a good night out. 

In my teenage/young adult days the main scourges to be be wary of were drink and tobacco. Drugs were on offer in some venues I'm sure, but they were not the main temptation to be sampled on a night out. I can safely say that I have never in my life been offered any drugs. Which is saying a lot given that I come from a working class area. 

Unfortunately it's not only the drinking and smoking that today's teenagers, young adults and their parents have to worry about. These days it seems that the drugs, their increased availability and attraction to our young (and older!) folk is the biggest worry of all.

Sadly it was this availability and attraction of drugs that caused the tragic death of this beautiful young teenage woman, whom I know, last Sunday.  It is such a sad and tragic event. She was not the only person to partake in these drugs that night, nor was she the only one to take ill. She was however the only one to lose her life. My thoughts and prayers to her family, especially her lovely mum with whom she had an extremely close bond.

There can be nothing worse than losing your child. I cannot even bear to think about it......

As a result of this awful tragedy I have talked to my son about drugs in more detail. I have warned him about the unknown chemical compounds in pills such as these and the unpredictability of individual reactions to any drug. I've told him about the power of the word 'NO' and that it is okay to use it, even if all around him do not. I've told him to never leave a drink unattended and to always stay with his group of friends and to 'never leave anyone behind'. I've told him, without trying to scare him, that despite what he and his teenage peers may believe they are not invincible. All valuable information, I hope, for when he actually starts socialising in this manner!

We have drug awareness programmes in our schools, at primary and secondary level, to deliver age-appropriate information about the effects of drug-taking (among other things) to our children.  I wonder what is provided at third level though, perhaps we need to increase discussions and supports - to keep drug-awareness levels high? 

We raise our children to the best of our ability and try to prepare them for the world that awaits them. 

We teach them right from wrong and prepare them for as many possible pitfalls as we can.

We give them wings and then we must let them fly.

Fly away from the safety of their own homes, their own country in some cases, and out into the big bad world.

And we hope that some of the advice we have dispensed comes to the fore of their minds when we most need it to.

Keep the lines of communication with your teenagers constantly open, and talk to them often. 

Warn them again about drugs. 



  1. every time I see one of these repports about a bright young student dying from one misguided trying of drugs, I think I must show these to my DD when she's old enough (she's only 6 atm - we're still talking about limiting sugar things). It's incredible that there's not a bigger and national campaign on tv to show how one try can be so dangerous - nt because of the potential addiction but also because of the chemical danger.
    My friend lost her 16yo daughter because sommeone put something - de-icing fluid or something smilar - in the vodka. So tragically unnecessary.

    1. @Midlife Singlemum: That is an excellent suggestion and it reminded me of a point I intended to make but forgot (I really should note things down before I start a blog!) Thanks to your suggestion I have now updated this post to include my forgotten point. You are right to bide your time and then SHOW these tragic reports to your daughter. I ensured that my son saw the news items about Ana and watched the short piece on her very sad funeral; to show him how real this is. I am so sorry to hear about your friend's daughter. Even worse because she didn't choose to take this 'substance'.
      There have apparently been some mean things said online about the tragedy I speak of. The fact is that drugs are so freely available in our city and some teenagers/young adults are experimental in nature, tasting their new world of freedom and are, in their opinion utterly invincible! They are still learning...and at 18 or 19 they really are still children in some respects.
      There for the grace of God go we .....

  2. It is so very sad and yet I don't know that all these deaths are preventable: I still remember being disgusted when shown a video about smoking at age 11 and vowing never to start. But I did, 2 years later :( Ideally society would find ways to stop these dangerous drugs being so widely available as well as providing education and advice to our young people. I think that making alcohol less acceptable would also help (even though I know so many would miss their regular glass of wine) as it does make young people less cautious when offered illegal substances.


    1. @Looking for Blue Sky: It's the same as people losing their lives on our roads I think. We can't prevent car crashes but we can reduce them, and every life saved is one less family devastated? I think you're right about the alcohol, especially with regards to our young people as they are less inhibited and more likely to try things they shouldn't. We definitely need to do something. And now I read about a new social media craze daring young teenagers to take paracetamol?? I mean, where do they get these ideas?!
      They should all be brought to Nursing Homes where there are young adults brain damaged by drugs..... #toughlove

    2. Yes, I just saw the link you shared about the new paracetamol craze. Paracetamol can kill. Worst of all it's a silent killer - people overdose, wake up the next morning feeling okay, and then it hits them a couple of days later, and by then it's through their system and they either live or die :(

    3. PS: Thanks for you brilliant comment!! xx

  3. What a terribly sad loss of a young life... I have always been open with my children about a lot of things and will continue to be as they get bigger, especially about things like drugs. To talk about them is to take away part of the attraction I have always believed... Lovely memories with your Mum though, Music is such a powerful thing isn't it? xx

    1. @BavarianSojourn: I think I'm going to have to keep talking to my boy now, I'll be a nagging mum....but I don't care! We have to keep them informed, don't we? Yes music is very powerful, a true international language and it really helps people with Dementia, and other conditions. So calming too. It was a rare special moment with her :-) xx

  4. Nothing, absolutely nothing is worse than losing a child. My Uni boy was telling me about how drugs were rife in his res. I put across to him how important he was to me and that I couldn't bear having two disabled children or a dead one. Hopefully our lines of communication will remain open.

    I am so glad that you have ways and means of communicating with your lovely mum. Memories are there for keeps. xx

    1. @Bright Side of Life: It's the same here in Ireland, drugs are rife. And it seems to be at Third Level. Whenthey're young adults sometimes living away from home. So very worrying but all we can do is keep having those tough conversations and trust that they make the right choices. And I'll be using your point when my boy older! xx

  5. So sorry to hear about the death of the young girl you know, illegal drugs are just awful and yes I need to chat to my kids some more, thanks for the reminder. Mich x

    1. @Michelle Twin Mum: Thank you. You've got a bit of time yet but your boy starting secondary school soon so you're catching up on us! xx


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