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Wednesday, 17 September 2014


There are no little tragedies. They all hurt.

I think you are a brilliant writer and your knowledge,wisdom and experience on most photography subjects is immense. However above all in the eight or nine years I've been reading your posts I've always had the impression you must be an absolutely amazing father.

Sad story Mike, life can suck at times but we all need to keep trying and pushing forward and remember it's all cyclical.

Morning Mike

Thank you. This meant more - reading about people than photography. We are so fragile, more so early on.

Someome mentioned in a recent comment how great writer you are, Mike. This article is another evidence, if any was needed.

I have four kids of close ages and all of them are jumping into adolescence almost at the same time. Your article moved me deeply and gave me food for thought. Hopefully we will manage to keep them around for a very long time, enjoying their superior social skills as you call them, but most of all, living an enjoyable life.

because I had more sense or self control than the friends and ex girlfriend/childhood sweetheart, who had there lives blighted by it. It just made me feel sick, so I never got a taste for it. But Lisa did

Last time I saw Lisa she was shoplifting in town, trying to sell Ray Ban sunglasses in a bar I was in . She was missing quite a few teeth, and what remained were black. I remember our teeth clashing when we first started kissing, which was rushed out of embarrassment.
There was a time when you'd need a pair of Ray Bans on to cope with her cute smile. Now she was covering her mouth out of embarrassment for what had become of it.

She was with her guy, who was looking after there young daughter. He was sending her in to stores to steal whilst he looked after their little girl. The little girl was beautiful and too young to realise the trouble she was born in to

Lisa's dad choked on his vomit and died whilst passed out from booze when she was about fourteen. Her parents were drunks, as were mine, we had a lot in common.

I don't know what she'd make of me writing about her today, I don't know whether she's alive or dead, clean or still using.
Last week my sister shown me an old photo of herself and Lisa from those days. There she was, like a raven haired little orphan Annie. The beautiful, resilient kid with the black curls and soft full lips.

Her arms around my sister, smiling.


Addiction is a scourge... One that can hit any one of us, across religious or socio-economic boundaries which should inspire compassion for not only those afflicted by it, but also those family and friends who are around the addict.

The tragedies that befall our kids and their friends today seem so much more horrendous than anything I experienced when I was growing up sixty plus years ago. It seems they don't have much, if any, time to enjoy the innocence of youth. And worse, as parents, we have no way to protect or prepare them from those horrors.

In your story, at the point where you relate that Ingrid had been kicked out, I knew, KNEW, the story was going to end with a heroin related death. This is a problem
about which we have only seen the beginning. Keep a close eye on your adult children, it is common for use to begin well after the age of 20.

Last week, while in Menomenee Falls, WI to visty my son and his lovely family, I nearly stepped on a spent syringe in the parking lot of the hotel where I was staying. That was the first time I had ever had that unpleasant experience.

Mike, that's such a sad story. Young people's brains aren't (from what I've read) fully developed until they reach their mid-20s; and they have yet to gain the perspective that age and life experiences bring. It's tragically easy for them to see situations as irreconcilable and irreversible, when older heads might counsel giving it some time and meanwhile talking it over with a responsible friend or parent.

The decision to end their lives can be made shockingly swiftly, giving parents and friends no time to identify the risk and take action to help. The death forever changes everyone's lives, with those closest living with the anguish of wondering if they had somehow missed the signs; if only..

A close friend of mine lost her 17 year old son almost a year ago, just a few weeks before his 18th birthday, shortly before he was due to graduate from high school. He had argued with his girlfriend and felt overwhelming guilt for hurting her emotionally. At home after school, with only his mother elsewhere in the house, he had been exchanging texts from his bedroom with his friends. Less than fifteen minutes later thinking it was unusually quiet she went upstairs, only to find his body. No-one had any indication of his intentions. Everyone who loved him continues to ask themselves "if only..."

I feel for what poor Ingrid's family and friends are going through. Life will be forever different for them. The sad thing is, even if they had suspected, they may not have been able to prevent her death. The decision and action can be made and completed in one moment of despair, before anyone is aware or able to act.

According to WHO, suicide was the second leading cause of death for 15-29 year olds globally in 2012. I have two teenage daughters and both know of at least one young person their age in our local area who has committed suicide. My wife and I know of two others, including our friend's son. This very personal tragedy is more widespread than we think.

It is an awful experience to go to the funeral of a young person you have known, to see the loss of all the potential for what their life might have been, and to witness the grief of parents who have to bury their own child, and their dreams. All we can do as parents and friends is to keep the communication lines open with our children as much as we can. To let them know they are loved even if we disagree with what they are doing. To encourage them to stay connected with their friends. And to give caring, non-judgmental support to those who are left behind.

Re: Camp Bow Wow

We are a prosperous country.

Re: The Story of Ingrid

Prosperity doesn't fix everything.

Mike, thank you for this wonderful, thoughtful, and useful story. My heart goes out to anyone that suffers this sort of thing. Beautifully written, by the way.

Sorry to hear about Ingrid, don't know why it hit such a chord, it just did- as the tragic end of someone so young always should. Perhaps because it mirrors events in one's own life, perhaps because it shatters the myth that environments still exist that can protect the young from "big city" evils, perhaps because it makes one realize that while tragedy is something so uniquely personal, it is also so completely universal.

"Mourn the losses because they are many.
Celebrate the victories because they are few."

That's a sad thing to hear. My heart goes out to her and to her family. And to those like you who feel the loss as well.

Oh, man, that is so sad.

My next door neighbor's niece got caught with 22 gram bags of H in her panties in a raid a year ago. She has, it turns out, a neurological disease like MS but not MS - causes weakness, reflected pain, etc. Maybe she was self-medicating with smack since it was so much cheaper than black-market painkillers at $20/pill. But maybe just getting as high as she could, as much as she could.

Ingrid sounds as if she had some internal pain in her mind, and medicated that - or just wanted to get as high as she could, and then a little too high.

Such a shame to OD on your fave drug... I never understood doing smack, right after the rush, you puke - throw up on purpose. Not part of my party picture at all, but whatever.

What a thing to serve for morning coffee break! But it happens a lot in rural America.

Not always, but often to people who had so much to live for. Like Janis, Billy Holiday, Jimmi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, wow, so many of them going way back. Big Band and Blues artists... Dr. John is reputed to be a user...

I'm sorry for your loss, which is a loss for all of us, everywhere. Think of the offspring she may have had! Cure Ebola, or Autism, or, or...

Well spoke and heart felt. This one of the reasons I enjoy this blog even when it wonders off photography.

Wow. In just three paragraphs and a sentence you made me miss Ingrid.

People will always take drugs, always have done. It's when the self-righteous interfere in the lives of others that the problems arise.

Unintentional death by heroin overdose you can blame entirely upon the war on drugs industry, which also puts billions of dollars into the hands of the lowest types of humanity, not to mention Afghan warlords and, on and off, the Taliban.

Criminalising drugs means all the profits go to criminals who care nothing for the product supplied nor those who use it.

Mike, I am not sending a comment because this post needs anything added. It is complete, moving, and important. I am writing to say "thank you," and to assure you that silence is sometimes the most deeply-felt applause.

Mike, I'm surprised that no one has commented on this story. It is very sad.

Thank you for writing a story that makes me pause ... and think about life. It doesn't happen often.

That was touching and sad and wonderfully told.

Mike, your best writing by leaps and bounds. As I was reading this, I pictured Eugene Richards' riveting drug culture photos passing like a slide show through my mind.

Robert Roaldi - perfectly said.

Ingrid, Ingrid. I am so sorry. Ingrid's mom - I am sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine the pain.

If there is a gift/blessing associated with the the trial of a heroin addicted child, it would be that the experience teaches you there are things in this world that are worse than death. It is an unsettling, yet strangely liberating thing.

This day and age, never ignore the signs.

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