Pubdate: Wed, 11 May 2016
Source: Buffalo News (NY)
Copyright: 2016 The Buffalo News
Author: Sue Giovino
Note: Sue Giovino is currently a student at SUNY Buffalo State 
pursuing a degree in human services and art therapy.


Death is one of the greatest personifications there is. It visits all 
of us and gets very personal. Continually we are inundated with 
statistics of all kinds of deaths. These include the horrors of 
terrorism, shootings, suicides, abortions, plane crashes and cancer. 
These stats seem to keep death at a comfortable bay, deluding us into 
thinking we will never be part of the masses. In fact, at times we 
reluctantly find ourselves viewing with morbid fascination the demise 
of others. Somehow we can stay detached because "the visitor" has not 
yet come to our door.

Recently, we could no longer find security or anonymity in being 
"untouched." There was a knock on our door. My amazing nephew, Bobby 
Nunzio Giovino, succumbed to the clutches of heroin addiction at 25. 
Sue Giovino is currently a student at SUNY Buffalo State pursuing a 
degree in human services and art therapy.

Erie County's health commissioner says, "there's something we all can 
do." What exactly is that? Local, state and national attention is 
being summoned by this epidemic. Many of our elected officials are on 
board. Locally, the proposed addiction hotline could result in much 
help. This is good. We need to utilize all of the frontline weapons we can.

Ultimately, is this a private battle that only an addict can fight? 
Maybe on some levels, but I would venture to say that if you have a 
loved one who is fighting addiction, get in the ring with him, let 
him see you in his corner, encouraging, praying and fighting for 
victory on his behalf.

We no longer wear black armbands while mourning, as George Bailey did 
in "It's a Wonderful Life." It's a shame, really, that emotional 
brokenness is not displayed or as obvious as physical brokenness, 
such as a cast or wheelchair. Folks could gaze at the armband and 
better understand one's random breakdown in the middle of the grocery 
store. One wouldn't have to offer an explanation or, even worse, 
suppress it until in a context that isn't so vulnerable. Then again, 
there are those who rest comfortably in their solitude of imperceptible grief.

In March, we were able to witness Black Balloon Day in downtown 
Buffalo, which displayed one balloon for every life that has been 
stolen by opioid addiction. That day, the balloon was the black 
armband, because every balloon was attached to a heart, with the 
unmistakable need to expose, if only for a moment, the emotional, 
unrelenting brokenness.

Young says: "I sing the song because I love the man." I write this 
piece because I loved the boy, the man, the fighter  Bobby.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom