Our peer parent coaches who have lost children to substance use share not only their time helping other families as part of our coaching program, but also continue to offer their wisdom and insights about how to navigate the journey of loss.
Listed below are resources they have identified that helped them in their healing. We hope that they will help you and your family too!
In addition to our monthly Online Support Community meeting for parents who have lost a child to substance use, here are a couple of other options that our coaches have found helpful.
Compassionate Friends is a peer support group for parents whose children have died, despite the child’s age and the cause of death. They offer an information packet, online support meetings and local chapters.
Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing or GRASP was created to offer understanding, compassion, and support for those who have lost someone they love through addiction and overdose. Local meetings, book recommendations and tributes are featured on their website.
Eluna Network may be especially helpful if you have children who have lost a loved one or been impacted by substance use. They offer camps and other resources families can use to help children understand grief and loss.
Resources for siblings
Brothers and sisters are also deeply impacted by the loss of loved ones. Here are some resources that may be helpful:
Sounds of the Siblings is a private group hosted on Facebook to support siblings.
“How can I possibly tell you how much I miss you? But of course you probably know – since you knew me better than anyone. No matter how much time passes, I still wish you were here to share our lives and the future I expected us to have together.” Support groups are offered by Compassionate Friends for Siblings
Culpeper offers several resources for siblings that can be found here.
Speaking Grief features one of our extraordinary peer parent coaches who lost her son to an overdose on Christmas Eve 2017. Her mother died exactly eight months later. Listen as Nona describes the challenges of grieving a stigmatized loss and how her grief for her mother differs from that of her son. She says even the smallest gestures can bring a huge amount of comfort to someone who’s grieving.
Hooked: A Family’s Journey with Addiction is not just the story of Jack Conroy, but also of his family and the community around him. Jack’s parents, Barbara and Kevin, sought expert advice on how to help and heal their son, and in the wake of his death continue the fight to end the stigma around addiction, offer resources, and aid parents who are fighting the same battle, until the war is won.
Here are a few of the book suggestions made by our peer parent coaches. You can find them wherever you purchase books or in your local library.
It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay by Megan Devine gives readers an alternative to the often-prescribed goal of returning to a normal, “happy” life. She described a far healthier middle path, one that invites us to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it.
Permission to Mourn: A New Way to do Grief by Tom Zuba is the book he wishes he had read after his daughter’s, wife’s and son’s deaths. In the beginning, Tom did grief the old way — denying, pretending, numbing and stuffing every feeling and every emotion that arose. Once he gave himself permission to mourn, healing began. Along the way, Tom discovered that grief is not the enemy. Grief can be one of our greatest teachers.
The Lessons of Love: Rediscovering Our Passion for Life When It All Seems Too Hard to Take by Melody Beattie details her grief over the death of her son, Shane. For two years she found herself unable to work. But with the help of family, friends and her own inner resources, she was finally able to put her life back together.
You Are the Mother of All Mothers by Angela Miller is a wonderful book for any mother who has lost a child.
Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman
Not being able to fully recover from grief can have a lasting negative impact on your happiness. Based upon their own experiences, the authors share how it is possible to recover from grief and regain energy and joy.
Dear Jack: A Love Letter to My Son by Barbara Bates Conroy
Dear Jack, Barbara writes to her son… Through these letters and raw prose, she recounts the past and explores questions of motherhood, responsibility, guilt, and spirituality.
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
-Rumi, On Joy and Sorrow, The Prophet