A Story of Addiction & Loss

Category: grief knows no timeframe (Page 1 of 5)

Beautifully Bittersweet

Matt,   When I learned the circumstances of your death, I knew I could never stay silent.   What I really wanted to do was fly to Florida and punch the owner of your shoddy sober home in the face.  I wanted him to hear your name and see the face of your grieving mother and then I wanted to tell him what he told me, “People die here everyday.”   I wanted to look him in his eyes and say well, well, today is your day.  

I can’t put into words what that information did to my soul, but it fueled me into months of research of how sober homes operated.   Months and months of research speaking to advocates from many states sadly revealed that dumping people who have relapsed into the street in the middle of the night with no available help or support was common practice.   Learning this I knew I would never find my peace until laws were passed to protect people at a vulnerable time in their lives.   This became my mission.   These people became my Matt’s.

I became obsessed with this project.  The more I researched, the angrier I became.  To think many sober home operators used people suffering from Substance use as a means of disposable income fueled my desire to put a stop to this evil practice.   How dare anyone treat a human life as it was disposable.   It happened to you and I have to live with that every day.   The only way to find peace was to punish the people responsible.

After I had a folder thick as a phone book containing all the research on sober homes, I called my House Representative.  I asked her to meet for coffee.  When I showed her the folder and shared your story I could see the disgust in her eyes.   Her words were music to my ears.   “We Will Fix This,” became our battle cry.

After almost 5 years of advocating and fighting to get this Bill right, riding the roller coaster from happiness to disappointment, through many challenges and changes HB 114, The Matthew D. Klosowski Act was passed unanimously in both the House and Senate on the very last day of the 2023 Legislative session.   You my beautiful boy were the catalyst that will change the trajectory of how sober homes will be allowed to operate in our state of Delaware forever.

Last week, we were honored as the First State Alliance of Recovery Residences had their certification kick off as they certified a home for women in recovery.   Oh how I wish I could have shared that moment with you.   Senators and House Members were saying your name and sharing your story.   Congratulating me for fighting for so long to get this dream of mine to become a reality.   There will be no more treating people as if their lives didn’t matter.   No more kicking people out in the street to die.   

We were given an award.   Honoring us both.   I fought hard to hold back the tears as I spoke to the crowd.  Oh how I wished it was your face I was seeing among so many people who came to attend the ceremony.   I hope you were there.  I hope you felt my love for you souring through the sky from my heart to yours.   I hope you know how much you are loved and missed.   How time has not made a difference in the void in my heart.  

I can assure you this my beautiful boy,  you have a legacy that will stand the test of time.  Your name is forever in the Law books in our state of Delaware.   One hundred years from now people will look up HB 114 and see your name.   Your story and how your death was not in vain.   How your death fueled my grief to find a little slice of beauty from the brokenness you left behind.   Godspeed until I hold you in my arms, you are forever in my heart.   



Some Days

Matt,  I really don’t know what brings on this deep feeling of loss.  Some days I feel like I’m doing ok, then boom a memory will hit and then I’m gone.  

Erin got married last weekend.  She had a memorial table set up with pictures of all our family members who are no longer here.  Seeing your smiling face staring back at me was like a cold slap of reality, acknowledging that I would never dance at your wedding.  
I tried to hide my tears, but I was powerless.  

I kept thinking what a blast you would have had with Tommy, Mel’s boyfriend.  He has your same sense of humor.  Your quick wit and mannerisms.  As I watched them interact I kept wondering what it would have been like to have you there dancing and laughing together. 

I remembered you being the best man at your brother’s wedding. You raising your glass in a toast that had everyone cracking up.  You on the dance floor with all the single girls.  

I felt like I was in two different worlds.  The one where you existed and this broken world where you do not.  
These family events are always bittersweet.  Reminding me of what could have been but no longer is.  Even though years have passed, your loss is as fresh as it was the moment I heard you left me behind.  

Joy is intermingled with the pain of your absence.  I’ve learned life goes on.  People live their lives.  But one thing I know for certain is I will carry you in my heart forever….

A Hollow Halloween

Matt,  tonight is Halloween.  I Thought after all these years I would be ok seeing the kids skipping down the street dressed in a variety of costumes.  

I did ok as the kids came up to the door yelling Trick or Treat.  It was so sweet watching them root through the candy bowl searching for their favorite treats.  Their smiling faces warmed my heart making me laugh as they politely said thank you and waved goodbye.  

Everything was good until I opened the door and two little boys stood on the steps.  Their blond hair sticking out from under their hats.  Two sets of green eyes looking into mine.  Oh God, I felt like I was looking at your children.  I felt like I was given a precious glimpse of what life could have been like had you survived your addiction.  

I stood on the steps with them drinking in every second.  Allowing them to choose as many pieces of candy as their little hands could handle.  I wanted to wrap them up in a hug.  I wanted to close my eyes and picture you standing there with your boys.  I wanted to hear you say Hi Mom.  

I fought back tears as they walked away hand in hand.  
Closing the door I let my tears flow.  I sat and allowed all those memories of you and Mike on Halloween run through my mind. How much you loved to dress up.  How you wolfed down your dinner and ran out the door as soon as darkness hit. 

Those memories of Halloweens so long ago are bittersweet.  They are heartwarming and heartbreaking all wrapped in the complicated waves of grief.  



My Reflections on Trail of Truth.

I remember being home watching the weather like a hawk scans the sky for prey.  I kept thinking how could the report of a strong nor-easter possibly be true as I sat feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.  

The next morning I woke to a gray day.  I felt the weather was mimicking my soul as my husband said goodbye at the train station.  I could feel the wind beginning to strengthen as I stood on the platform with my friend who decided she wanted to brave the weather after hearing me try to explain the impact of the memorial ceremony to others when there really are no words that could describe the slap to your heart as you stood amongst the angels.

So here we were the three of us sitting together on the train heading to D.C. to be among those involved in bringing awareness to the pandemic that continues to destroy families and lives.  You see, Nicole lost her husband last year and is now a single mom to her beautiful daughter, Chloe.

As the train sped toward our destination, I could feel my anxiety growing.  Memories flooded my brain of my first trip to D.C. 9 months after losing my son, Matt in 2015.  How naive I was then thinking this epidemic would never continue.  I truly believed that losing 42,000 people in 2015 would be enough for those in power to shut down the Pharmaceutical Companies responsible for the carnage. That lawmakers and doctors would be punished for their part in this terrible tragedy that created a disease of massive proportions.

As we arrived at Union Station I felt a calm beginning to settle my heart.  I felt like I was where I was meant to be.  

Walking into the Yotel was like coming home after a long absence. Hearing my name and being surrounded by other mamas who’s faces were so familiar yet now they were in my space and we shared moments of joy mixed with grief as we wrapped each other up in warm, loving hugs.  

Our eyes all reflecting a similar emotion.  No one wanted to be here, but because our hearts were shattered by loss we knew we had to be here to let the country know our children continue to live through us.

The storm was kind to us on Friday allowing our activities to continue as planned.  First the DOJ rally.  The power of being among so many incredible advocates was palpable.  The energy flowed through the crowd.  Our chants stopped passerby’s who asked what we were doing.  I was proud to tell Matt’s story as they listened and offered condolences and compassion.  Sharing their lives had also been touched by this tragedy.

My friend Jen gave a powerful speech telling her story of Christopher as I listened I was moved to tears.  So many who’s stories shared similarities of hope and heartbreak.  

Friday night Susans vigil was held at Union Square.  Once again we came together as one body of broken people holding on to each other as stories were shared.  I was blessed to share Matt’s story with the crowd.  Candles were glowing in the dark representing the lives of our loved ones whose 

lights we will never allow to burn out.

I could hear the rain and wind before I got out of bed Saturday morning.  Ophelia obviously had no idea who she was dealing with as she pummeled D.C. with all her force.  A group had gathered outside our room accessing what we were up against.  We laughed out loud knowing that we had all walked through hell and survived. 

A group of us gathered for breakfast holding our rain gear and making plans to brave the storm. There was no way we were going to allow this storm to stop us from being among our angels.

I tried to prepare my friend for the impact but I knew from experience there truly are no words.  I watched her walk among the Delaware people searching for her husbands stone.  Tears falling as she held her daughter’s hand looking for Daddy.  Our eyes met and I knew she felt it.  I knew the impact found her soul ripping it apart once again.  The sky opened up as we both searched, her for Walt, me for Matt.  I knew there was no way we were giving up in spite of high winds and heavy rain.  

Finding Matt, seeing his handsome face stopped me in my tracks. I felt like the earth beneath my feet split open.  I prayed for it to swallow me, to take me to a place where grief could never find me.  To give me a reprieve from this excruciating pain that had become my life.  I heard a guttural cry escape from my soul.  I felt arms wrapping around me as another mom heard and came to hold me up.  Never could I have anticipated my response.  The rawness of the grief.  

I knew I was spent. I wanted to run.  Then I saw my friends face and knew she found her husband.  She knew. I knew.  We were both experiencing, living the impact our team had hoped for when forming the Trail of Truth.

Saying goodbye Sunday morning was tough.  I felt surrounded by those who get me.  I felt like we were all kindred spirits finding each other again. 

I still have found no words to describe the feeling when you walk among angels.  As we boarded the train to Delaware my friend leaned over and said you were right.  No words……..💔💔

99 Months


Matt,  99 months.  My brain counts the months as my heart screams how can this be.  How can it be true that life has continued to march on and I have been drug along in my grief.  How can this grief continue to bring me to my knees?  To make me want to scream from the rooftops that I am in so much pain?  How can all this time have passed yet still feel like yesterday?

Perhaps it’s because Easter has come and gone.  Another holiday without you.  Perhaps it’s the memories that continue to haunt me of past celebrations.  Two boys with chocolate faces and hands running through the yard Easter baskets swinging from their arms as laughter filled the air.

Perhaps it’s the memories of two men laughing as they walked in my door seeing Easter baskets filled with the same chocolate they loved as boys.  

Perhaps it’s the silence that has replaced the laughter, that silence is deafening as the grief is powerful.    The silence from your brother.  The silence of those who have passed on.  The silence haunts my heart and leaves my soul empty.

Yet, I have good days.  Days where I cope well.  Days I find joy in little things.  Flowers blooming in my garden.  The dogs chasing a squirrel through the yard.  An unexpected phone call from a friend.  A clear Cat Scan.

I guess you could say I’ve learned to cope, to handle the pain.  Sadly when I think of how long you have been gone, how long I’ve had to bear this grief that’s when my reality begins to haunt my heart leaving me breathless and wanting to scream.

Some say Silence is golden.  I think of what I wouldn’t give to hear the shouting, the laughter, the voices of two little boys whose smiles were covered with chocolate……..


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