Mother and Son, Love and Loss

motherson loveloss

About the Artwork

“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.”
2018.03.11 unveiling stone

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 overdose. During his hospitalization, I made concerted efforts to help him reestablish ties with his long-estranged family. In hindsight, I hope my attempts to facilitate connection enabled Adam to die, and his family to mourn, with some greater peace. I then strove to help his family, his mother in particular, grieve and live after his death.”

For the past thirty-three years, Alison Hartman has been an acupuncturist in private practice outside of Baltimore, MD. With a BA and MFA in studio art, she uses art and writing as modalities for healing.


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