Overdose Awareness Vigil

Friday, October 20, 2017

This Friday I attended the rescheduled Overdose Awareness Vigil at St. John’s United Methodist
Church in Memphis, TN. The event started with The Way, a weekly musical service at St. John’s with a
focus on addiction recovery and the 12- steps. Though I have heard about The Way for years, I had yet
to visit a service. I was surprised that not only was there food, the sanctuary was bustling with people on
a Friday night coming together to focus on recovery. For anyone wanting to see what the recovery
community in Memphis has to offer, whether you are in recovery yourself or just want to support those
who are I would recommend a visit to The Way.
After The Way, we were handed candles to light and processed to the community garden where
The Phone of the Spirit Booth is located. Families and friends gathered around and I was reminded of
how many of us have lost loved ones to overdose. As we stood that evening with candles lit and the
names of those who have passed were read, I was filled with a huge sense of loss and regret.
Recognizing name after name of those lost, the overwhelming nature of this epidemic was apparent. We
are truly suffering a communal loss in Memphis. I am thankful to the local organizations supporting
those struggling with addiction and the families surviving its impact. If you are mourning the loss of a
loved one to addiction or overdose, a visit to the Phone of the Spirit Booth is a unique way to
memorialize and connect with the spirit of those who have passed.

As a side note, take a listen to a story about a similar phone booth in Japan, erected after the
2011 tsunami and Earthquake in Japan and how meaningful this can be:
https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/597/one-last-thing-before-i-go?act=1

 

Michelle Gammill

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