Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Broken And Blessed

Matt,   The summer has ended and Fall has begun.   Everyday the geese fly over the house honking as if to say we are here, we are home.   I stop and listen thinking of you.   How we both would stop whatever we were doing and just be still listening to their beautiful song.

Fall also reminds me of my brokenness.   My gardens need tending so badly.   Before my cancer I would be weeding and planting colorful Mums.   Digging in the dirt was always a form of therapy for me.  I look at the gardens and feel such a loss.   I can’t do the physical work to transform the summer gardens into an array of colorful fall beauty.

There are so many things I can no longer physically do.   Cleaning out closets.   Putting away summer clothing and going through my comfortable fall sweaters.  The little things I took so for granted before the back surgery.   Sadly, I now understand the difficulties you lived after your back surgery.   

I’ve learned the saying is true.  Until you walk in someone else’s shoes you can never comprehend their pain.   I remember watching you walk.  It broke my heart to see your young body ravaged by pain.   I remember thinking I would take your pain if only I could.   I wonder if you know that I now know your pain.   Do you see my body no longer capable of doing those physical things that used to bring me such joy.  Do you know I have become you.   

Do you hear me when I ask for forgiveness.   Do you know I would give anything to have a moment with you.   To hold you and tell you I understand.   I now know how it feels to be broken not just emotionally but physically.   Your death broke my heart.   My cancer broke my body and on many days it breaks my spirit.    

Through all this brokenness I also feel blessed.   After chemo, two surgeries and radiation my body remains free of cancer.   My last scan was clear of disease.   I can tell you that waiting to hear the results is maddening.   My mind goes to all the what if’s exactly as it does when I think about your death.   The unknown can become a silent torture.  

On my dark days, I remember all the things I can do.   The little blessings of walking the dogs.   Of being able to stand and make dinner.   Of being able to enjoy the beauty as I kayak through ponds and rivers.   The blessings of friends who continue to pray for me.   The blessing of my Faith.

My brokenness mixed with blessings reminds me of the Japanese art of Kintsugi.   The art of repairing broken pottery pieces using gold.   The gold creates a stronger, more beautiful piece of art.  The gold highlights the scars in the pottery transforming the piece into something new and stronger than before.   

Your death and the loss of my health has left me with many scars.   I think of my blessings as the gold that is slowly filling my cracks allowing me to change the way I think of myself as no longer completely broken but learning to embrace my strengths reframing my pain into something of collateral beauty.   

Madness VS. Mindfulness

Matt,  it’s been a rough couple of weeks.   August is all about Overdose Awareness.    Everywhere I look on social media there are pictures of beautiful, smiling faces all lost to overdose.   Posted by the moms who are grieving so deeply I can feel their pain as if they were sitting right next to me.   Pain pulsating off the pages right into my heart.  

Many days I would quickly post to my pages and then get off before I lost my mind.   Nothing has gotten better since your death, honestly they have gotten worse.   Young people so full of hopes and dreams are dying every hour of every day.   It’s heartbreaking as I hear about a person who was doing well but is now dead.   I remember the feelings so clearly when I too thought you were good but in reality you were not.  

The grief mothers feel is endless.   Even after 6 years I still have days where reality hits and I just need to go mad and scream until I can scream no more.   The ugliness of our reality is too heartbreaking.   On these days I allow myself to go to my dark, mad world and settle in until the waves wash over me again and again releasing the pain and allowing me to come up for air.

I think having cancer and the constant cloud that follows me compounds my grief.   Prior to my diagnosis I could  physically release this grief.   I would dig in the warm soil with the sun on my back planting until my hands were numb.   Planting kept my mind focused on the beauty I was creating rather than the ugliness of life without you.   I would get on my bike and ride miles and miles feeling the wind in my face brushing my tears away as I emptied my heart.   I would scream into the wind and feel a release like non other.  

Today gardening and biking are things I’m no longer capable of doing.   I never knew how much I needed them until they were gone.   I never realized how I took my health for granted until it was gone.  Back surgery put a stop to both of my grief releases and forced me to try to be mindful.   Mindfulness is the new go to for relieving stress and anxiety.   I can hear you laughing.   I know.   The thought of your physically active mom sitting quietly to meditate is enough to make everyone who knows me laugh.  

Believe me I’ve tried and tried.   Days when my anxiety is out of control I will sit  trying to breathe clearing my mind of all thoughts.   I can tell you it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do.  I imagine myself on my bike pedaling hard, the wind hitting my face.   I think of out running the grief.   

Oh Matt, how I wish we could turn back time.   How I wish I knew nothing about overdose awareness, cancer or grief.   How I wish we could be together again spending time by the sea without any cares.   No addiction.  No cancer.   Just a mother and son enjoying the day.   

So wish me luck with this mindfulness.   I’m thinking the madness is going to win.  

International Overdose Awareness Day




Matt,  In two days it will be International Overdose Awareness Day.   It really is a day I wish I knew nothing about.  Even after 6 years the reality of life continues to hit hard.  

I miss you every day and continue to wonder what life would be like today if you had survived your addiction.  I don’t think anyone who has not walked in my shoes could ever understand the toll addiction takes on those who are left behind.

Even though I would rather forget about this day, I know I would never forgive myself if I did not honor your life in some way.  I’ve decided to host a candle light vigil at your garden.  I’ve invited other parents who share my grief to come together and remember our children.

Pastor Mike will lead us in prayer and song.   I was given your Grandmothers prayer book and found pages she had marked that talk about Heaven.  I plan to read those passages aloud in hope of allowing grieving parents to feel some peace as to where their children now live.

I’ve chosen songs that have touched my heart.  One was played at your memorial.  I Can Only Imagine has brought healing to my broken heart as I try to imagine how beautiful Heaven must be.  I picture you healed and healthy.  I picture you walking on a beach with Kahlua by your side.  I picture Jesus welcoming you with open arms and loving you as only Jesus can.

As night falls we will light candles and share stories of life before our worlds came crashing down.  We will celebrate the lives of our loved ones cut short.  We will come together knowing we are never alone in this grief.  

Oh Matt, I would rather be spending that evening having dinner with you.  I would prefer to know nothing about this bittersweet day of remembrance and loss.   Sadly, that is not the path I walk.  

I will look for a sign as I stand beneath the cross at your garden.  I will pray that you will let me know you are there and you see how much you are loved.  

Your death has been a tremendous loss in my life.  You will never be forgotten my beautiful boy.   Until we meet again…….

44 and So Much More


Matt, tomorrow, July 30th will be your 44th birthday.  Sadly you no longer live on earth, you were called to heaven seven birthdays ago.  Today my mood changes like the waves of the ocean we both love so much. 

One minute the wave is small and kind.  A memory of you as a child will bring a smile to my soul.  Allowing me to rise above the pain your loss has imprinted on my soul.  Then, without warning the big one comes out of nowhere pulling me out into the grip of the undertows forcing me to fight for my breath as the reality of tomorrow plays havoc on my heart. ❤️

Tomorrow I will be where you were.  I will walk on the beach we once walked on together.  I will feel the ocean breeze on my cheek pretending it is a soft kiss from you.  I will look out over the vastness of the sea wondering if you know I’m here.  Wondering if Heaven really is a beach like we always hoped it would be. I will drive past your house and make sure she is being loved as she was when she belonged to you.  I will allow the memories to come bringing both pain and pleasure as I remember the times we shared together in the house we both loved. 

As night falls, I will search the sky for your sign.  I will search for the brightest star blowing a kiss to the heavens hoping it touches your cheek.  I will say a prayer that you are healthy and healed sharing your birthday with Jesus.  I hope you will feel my love floating from earth to the heavens searching for you.

Oh my beautiful boy, you will never know how much you are missed.  How much you are loved.  How I would do anything to have you standing at the door with the pups at your feet as I park in your driveway.  Grabbing your presents out of my car as you walk closer with those beautiful eyes and amazing smile.  You wrap me in a hug as you try to peek in the bags.  The dogs dancing at our feet as we walk together into our house by the sea.  

I remember the picture I bought when you first moved in.  It was a house on the sea and quoted “Heaven is a little closer in a house by the sea.”   My precious boy how I pray you are in that house in heaven and the sea is your playground.  Until we meet again I will always feel closer to you by the sea. ❤️

Happy birthday my beautiful boy🙏🏻

Missing The Me I used To Be

Matt,   There are days I don’t recognize myself anymore.   I though grieving you would be the biggest hurdle of my life.   I’m finding that grieving who I used to be is becoming a hurdle that seems impossible to jump over.  

So much has changed in these last two years.   You have been gone 6 years and I’d begun to think I had finally found stable footing.   Funny, I look back now and laugh at how I foolishly thought my life had stabilized.   

Nothing could have prepared me for the avalanche of grief that was waiting right around the corner for me.   Being diagnosed with cancer was something I never saw coming.   It was another of those rouge waves that hits with such force you are left helplessly struggling to break through the surface of the water fighting to find your breath.

I never realized how much I took for granted.   When the waves of your loss would hit I would get on my bike and physically exhaust myself until I felt a semblance of calm return to my soul.   If the weather was bad I would grab my yoga mat and find my zen place as I stretched my muscles holding poses until I could no longer feel the chest tightness or racing beats of my heart.

Today, my physical body has endured the brutal treatments to help me beat this ugly disease.   My back is no longer able to bend or twist.   I am full of rods and screws.   My bike hangs in the garage.   It’s become a symbol of the independence I’ve lost.   My days of beating back the grief has disappeared like the woman I was before your death.

Don’t get me wrong.   I’m very grateful this disease was cut out of my body.   I’m grateful for the radiation that was guaranteed to kill any ugly cells left behind.   I just wish I had known how the reality of my treatments would have impacted my ability to handle the anxiety that comes when the reality of your death hits me head on.   I’ve lost my physical ways of coping.   The best I can do is walk and I can’t walk long enough or far enough to make a dent in my grief.

Now I depend on my daily dose of xanax or my THC or CBD.   I hate who I have become.   I never understood your dependence on pills.   I foolishly though that you should have handled your anxiety with physical activity like I did.   Little did I know how debilitating back surgery was and how it impacted your life.   For that I apologize to you my beautiful boy.

I hate walking around with that lump in my throat.   I hate how my mind has taken over and fills me with fear of what my future might hold.   I hate that some days all I can think of is death and leaving everything I love behind.   I hate that you’re not here to help me through my dark days. 

I hate that PTSD has become my constant companion.   I long for those days when we were both healthy and life was a breeze.   I miss our endless walks on the beach.   Our laughter as we remembered your antics as a kid.   We were so much alike.   I wonder how you would have reacted if you were still alive knowing I had a potentially life threatening disease.   

I survive by praying for healing of both my mind and body.   I pray that you have found your peace and one day we will once again walk on a heavenly beach together both healed from our diseases filled with peace and joy.   Until then memories of who we used to be will carry me until we meet again.   


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