Here With You: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Addiction by Kathy Wagner

Every page held weight and depth which added to the beautifully written heart-breaking tale of parenting, letting go and staying strong. As a parent, learning when the choice is no longer your decision, but your child’s, is a confusing one. Reading about Wagner’s experience with raising three children, who each had their unique struggles, revealed the other side and the tragic possibilities of making a wrong decision or a right one too late.

With the memoir starting with a phone call from her youngest child’s friend, asking her to come get him, the actual story started long before. Even while knowing the final results of a remarkable life ending too soon, the telling of the healing, recovery, and time in rehabilitation facilities gave me hope that maybe I was confused. A drug addiction can be such a whirlwind of wounds and the scars from them healing, worrying phone calls and aggression easily be blamed on the addiction itself.

“This is a brave look inside of one family that lived through experiences too familiar to too many.”

But this isn’t Tristan’s story, as much as it is. It’s much more a story of Kathy, a mom trying to do her best in circumstances that are so foreign to her. It’s the telling of a lifetime devoted to her children while struggling to find her own place in the world. A confession of giving everything she has to make her children successful – trips to China to train with a martial artist, a place to stay, money, her undying love and presence. Here With You is for anyone who has ever struggled, has seen someone struggle and wanted so badly to heal their wounds, and for those who have dealt with watching their kids make mistakes that last a lifetime, even if that life is too short.

Wagner herself is revealed within the pages of the telling of her son’s story, along with his two sisters and in that we can all find ourselves struggling with doing what’s right versus what is best. It explains how the current system in place can be improved upon, reveals gaps that should be filled and that help should be available before a situation gets worse. We shouldn’t need to have someone hit rock bottom before a hand-up is offered. This is a brave look inside of one family that lived through experiences too familiar to too many. Written in a way that makes you feel like you’re in the author’s kitchen and need to give her a hug, this is a hand-up to those who shouldn’t have to struggle through going through a painful experience alone.

About the Author

Kathy Wagner is the mother of three grown children, including her son Tristan who died from fentanyl poisoning in August 2017. Since that time, Wagner has actively advocated for improved access to quality addiction recovery services and was a peer support group facilitator for Healing Hearts Canada. Her interviews have appeared on CBC’s The National, in the Vancouver Sun and many local newspapers and radio shows. Wagner lives in Port Coquitlam, BC.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Douglas & McIntyre (Sept. 9 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 344 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1771623667
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1771623667