Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Overdose Awareness Day

Matt,  before you died August 31st was just another day. Now, it’s a day I wish I knew nothing about. This day that was once so innocent has become a day that hits my heart and soul. 💔.

It’s a day that now has a title. International Overdose Awareness Day is a day I don’t want to participate in. It’s a day I’d like to fly by and disappear never to come again. 💜

This day is a heartbreaking reminder that my amazing son is no longer here on earth. It’s a day that makes me want to scream until I am no more.

This day signifies incredible loss and longing. I acknowledge my loss and long for it not to be reality.

This day binds us to one another. 💕 Those left behind after losing our precious children to Substance Use. This day thousands of parents unite in honoring and remembering our children. We support one another from afar. Our grief wraps around the world as we hold each other up offering a hope that together we will survive our tremendous losses 💜

Together we say their names. We make banners including the children of others who know our pain. 💜

We light candles and tell our stories as our tears blend across the globe. We send hugs and love when we hear of another’s loss. We reach across 50 states offering support as only those of us who walk our journey can. 💔

We light the world with the color purple. We set out our empty chairs. We fight for better treatment. We fight stigma. We fight for our right to grieve. We fight for our states to lower flags to acknowledge the precious lives of those we lost.

International Overdose Awareness Day is still a day I wish I knew nothing about. It’s a day I’d rather be spending with Matt relaxing by the sea. Instead I will be standing together with thousands of grieving parents as we refuse to let our children be forgotten. Together we stand allowing our hearts to touch knowing that as broken as we are we are never alone.💜

I pray for Gods peace for all who like me would rather have nothing to do with this day. 🙏🏻🙏🏻

Forever 37 Forever In My Heart 💜

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But I always thought I’d see you again”.

Matt, tomorrow July 30th is your birthday. I never thought you would be celebrating in heaven 🙏🏻.

Even though it’s been 8 birthdays without you here, my heart still breaks thinking about what could have been. You always loved birthdays. You were the first one to run your finger thru the icing laughing as I tried to slap your hands away. I can still see your smile and hear your laughter as you ducked while sticking your icing covered fingers into your mouth.

Even as an adult You would celebrate like a kid. Blowing out candles and making a wish thinking I didn’t see you sharing cake with the dogs.
You were a boy in a man’s body and I loved that about you.

You should be turning 45 but you are forever 37. I wonder what you would look like today. Would you have any gray starting to show. Would you have a wife and children. What would life be like for both of us had your disease not won. So many unanswered questions dance through my heart and head…

Tomorrow I will honor you. Tomorrow I will spend the day by the sea that you loved. Tomorrow I will help feed the homeless showing them that their life’s matter and they are loved.

Tomorrow we will serve Italian subs, your favorite food and give out 100 backpacks from A Hug From Matt.

Tomorrow tears will be shed but I will continue to follow your lead in helping those the world forgot. I will tell your story and celebrate your life that was cut too short.

Tomorrow and everyday of my life I will celebrate you my beautiful boy.
Happy birthday in heaven. Forever 37. Until we meet again.
Love you forever. Mom ❤️❤️

Gifts From my Garden

Matt,  July is always a tough month for me.   Both you and your brother have birthdays, Mike on the 8th, you on the 30th.  You were my Irish twins.  Born one year and twenty days apart.  I have memories of parties before you left that were full of love and joy.  Both you and Mike standing together as we sung happy birthday to you both as you tried to grab a part of the cake and shove it in your brothers face. 

You two always smiling with an arm on each other’s shoulder.  I never thought those birthdays would end.  I never thought you would die.  

I don’t even have pictures of birthdays without the two of you standing side by side.   So trying to get through this month is a daily struggle.  I can feel the grief creeping up and getting closer day by day.  I am training myself to stay in the present and not to think of what’s coming in the future. 

I’m also training myself to look for joy in the daily things of life.  Every morning I start the day with prayers asking for peace and comfort never knowing if God was listening or not.  You remember my love of gardening and how every empty space surrounding the house was full of beauty and multiple blooms of vibrant color.  Year after year my gardens never disappoint.  

Early one morning I decided to brighten my spirits by cutting some flowers to enjoy in the kitchen.  I grabbed my nippers and proceeded to walk into the garden never thinking I was intruding on a miracle.

Mama duck flapped her wings scaring me half to death.  She followed me onto the grass daring me to visit my garden again.  I ran into the garage to avoid her scorn then looked out the bay window watching her return to the spot she appeared from.  

Later that day I mustered the courage to go take a peek trying to solve the mystery that lay waiting in my garden.  What I found was an empty nest with ten perfect eggs.   I was amazed and now enlightened as to why mama chased me away   
I made it a habit of quietly checking on her daily.  Ray set up a camera so we could watch mama from the comfort of our house rather than in person.  

I read up on everything “duck” then started the daily ritual of visiting her giving her bits of lettuce and seeds.  Slowly she began to trust me to get close.  Never chasing me away again.  I watered her on the blazing hot days as she never left the nest.  I talked to her telling her how beautiful she was and what a great job she was doing.  It became my daily dose of joy.  

I was given the gift of watching her babies hatch on your brothers birthday and today I watched as she led them to the pond and introduced them to the water they will spend the next months living in until they are big enough to fly.  

The journey has left my heart a little lighter.  I felt the joy that had eluded my heart for so long.  I now know that God gave me a chance to experience watching life unfold.  My garden has always been full of beauty, now it was full of life.   I will cherish this memory along with memories of you for the rest of my life ❤️🦆


Father’s Day Fantasy

Matt,  today is Father’s Day and I’m allowing my mind to go into the fantasy world I’ve created when reality becomes too harsh for me to bear.  I’m allowing myself to imagine that you are alive enjoying the blessings of being a dad.

I can see you at the beach, your happy place walking along the surf holding the hands of two beautiful children.  They have your sun bleached hair, your beautiful eyes and that amazing smile that makes them your mini me’s.

I can see you chasing them through the surf laughing as they grab handfuls of sand tossing them in the air trying to make you their target. 

I see a black lab frolicking at your feet, tail wagging as she runs along side your beautiful children.  I see two precious boys looking into your eyes knowing those same eyes are staring back at the precious babes who stole your heart and soul. 

I see you wrapping them in beach towels holding them close, pulling them closer in one of your famous hugs.  I see my youngest son, now a father finally knowing the love that surpasses understanding as only one who has  fathered a child could ever understand. 

I see you carrying them home.  Making their favorite snack and tucking them in for a nap.  I see you staring at those faces so much like yours feeling your heart explode with pride. 

I see them running towards me when I visit. Taking my breath away as memories of you at their age flood my mind. I close my eyes and picture so many beautiful scenes of us together sharing stories and remembering our times with you and your brother at our happy place..

How I wish my fantasies were my reality.  How I wish you left a piece of yourself behind for me to love.  How I wish I could look into your beautiful eyes and hold your precious children close to my heart. 

Reality is harsh.  Days that mark milestones continue to break me to my core.  Fantasies have become my way of coping. Knowing you never had the chance to experience the joys of fatherhood has left a crack in my soul.  Knowing we have missed out on so much of life is a heavy burden to bear.  

The trickle down losses never go away.  Birthdays, holidays and now Father’s Day leave me wondering how I will survive.  Losing you was losing a future I had envisioned since your childhood. The normal progression of life was shattered with your death. You took so much more than I could have ever imagined.  ❤️

Life Is A Trigger

Matt,  As if May wasn’t already tough enough going through another Mother’s Day without you, then getting my CT Scan done and waiting for the results that would either have me dancing for joy or crying from despair, a mass shooting occurred at a grade school killing 19 children and 2 teachers.  

As I watched it unfold I could feel the grief wrapping itself around my heart and soul.  I sat sobbing watching the parents begging police officers to go and save their children.  Their desperate pleas fell on deaf ears as those members of the police force stood around ignoring their cries doing nothing to help those defenseless children from being slaughtered. 

Then it hit.  My own grief exploded as I remembered how I was once that parent.  Screaming at the medical community to do something to save you.  Screaming at both the insurance industry and treatment facilities to act now before it was too late.  

All those buried emotions came flooding into my brain as I felt myself breaking apart knowing that those parents would hear those words that would shatter their souls.  Your child is dead. And I was triggered.  

I sat there feeling helpless.  I wanted to reach out and wrap those sobbing parents in my arms never letting them go.  I wanted to rush to their aid knowing how the world they knew just this morning had shifted off its axis and was now spinning out of control.  

The loss of a child is beyond describing.  It’s life altering.  Losing your child throws you into a different universe. The pain is palpable and unending.  Age does not matter.  How they died doesn’t matter.  It’s the fact that they are gone forever and we are left behind to navigate a world that is so unfamiliar we are completely lost. 

Now these parents will go through the rest of their lives with only memories to sustain them.  Just as I have done.  These parents will never see the faces or hear the voices of their beautiful children just as I have not seen your face or heard your voice for so long. They will cry everyday for all that was lost and for all that could have been.  Just as I have. 

I sadly know what is ahead for these parents. Years of what ifs and why’s.  Years of blaming themselves for something as simple as sending their child to school. Years of wondering what their child would have been like had they lived.  Would they have gone to college, gotten married.  They will miss so many milestones that nothing in life can replace.  There will always be a large hole in the tapestry of their lives that nothing can repair. 

I still blame myself for sending you to Florida thinking if you were home I could have saved you. I still wonder what life would feel like had you lived. I wonder if I would have danced at your wedding and rocked your baby in my arms. 

Life after child loss is filled with indescribable pain.  It’s walking through life feeling as if you’ve lost your mind and really don’t care if you find it again.  It’s watching another parent learning their child is dead and reliving the death of your child over and over again.  

Life is a trigger with no safe place to hide. 💔💔

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