Adam, my twenty-five-year old son, died of a heroin overdose two years ago. Several days after his death, and before the funeral, I sat up late one night talking with his ex-girlfriend. She revealed that he had been sexually abused for several years by a close, male family member starting when he was eleven. The perpetrator threatened to harm our family if Adam ever told anyone. Adam told a few people but the secret was kept from me.
“I lost my twenty-five-year-old son to a heroin overdose in March 2017. This collage expresses the struggle my son had with addiction, the pain I suffered as his mother and the journey of losing my child. Underneath his disease of addiction, my son was a beautiful person. Through art and writing, I have found meaning and hope in my process of grief.”
About the artwork:
This photograph was taken by Alison Hartman, Adam’s mother, at the graveside unveiling ceremony one year after her son’s death. At the request of the family, the unveiling was conducted by Adam’s physician, Dr. Shapir Rosenberg.
“A child’s death is an unimaginable loss. My son Adam died of a heroin overdose. He struggled with addiction for over a decade. It was heart-wrenching to watch my beautiful son’s self-destruction. During the last two weeks of his life, he was hospitalized and under the care of a doctor of rare compassion. After my son’s death, this doctor mentored me in both grieving and surviving this profound loss.”
“I met Adam in late February 2017. About two weeks later, the day after he was discharged from the hospital, he was found dead of an unintentional …
On March 11, 2017 I lost my beloved twenty-five-year-old son to the disease of addiction. He was a beautiful, creative and compassionate person with enormous potential. Receiving the call from the police that he was dead from an overdose was a nightmare no parent should have to experience. Driving to his drug dealer’s apartment to identify his body was not close to any situation I had read about in parenting books as he was growing up.
My son struggled with addiction for over eight years. He died last March of a heroin overdose at the age of 25. To lose a child is completely devastating. I’ve been working through the many layers of grief and am slowly healing.
How does a mother not worry when her son is a heroin addict? Yet, counterintuitively, it was letting go of my worry that allowed me to survive.