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     Four long years have passed since our son died and we have come to realize, that it is in the darkest of times that we see the light. This illumination brings a beautiful vision of clarity. With courage we rise up and live, knowing that our pain will not be a beacon of our strength, but that love will forever guide the way to everlasting peace. We must stand up to life, find new meaning and awaken a new purpose.

     Think about the amazing people in our lives and all the memories that have made us who we are. We’ve made it this far….living out the toughest part of each and every day without a piece of our hearts…a part of our family. We don’t want closure, but remembrance and peace.  We grieve as we love, and we will always love our children and those who have died. In time, life can be and should be enjoyed. Our future joy and happiness will never diminish the love we have for those that we’ve lost. Even with life’s uncertainties, there are beautiful moments that should be cherished, and with an open heart, we must let them in.

Each one of our loved ones sparkled like diamonds, and it is for them that we shine…that we speak. We are the earth angels that give light and strength to those who are weak. As parents and advocates, we must never give up on future generations. We have been given the gift of life and we know all too well, that life as we know it can change in a blink of an eye. Our wounds often bring into focus the best and most beautiful version of ourselves, who we are truly meant to be. Gathering love as we move forward, we are sustained and strengthened. We become the inspiration that helps lead others to new heights. No one is immune to this epidemic of substance abuse and never could we have prepared for the death of our son. We could choose to be bitter, but we choose to be better.

     In the end, our love was not strong enough to save our son. Joey put himself into a situation, with like minded people who didn’t know how to help. He made a choice. Our story is not a success story, where one gets clean and goes on to live a productive life….no, ours is a tragic story…about a poor choice that cost a life and robbed our son of his destiny.

     None of us should be defined by our past, but know that our past prepares us to face what lies ahead. Each one of us are born with God given talents and limitless potential. We are here to help one another to reach those goals and to achieve success. This epidemic of substance abuse and addiction knows no boundaries and we must work together as a community to find solutions to combat this devastating disease. Silence is not an option, we must rid ourselves of the stigma and shame, break the cycle and the chains of addiction. We must be vigilant in our approach to save lives….WE must make the choice to make a change…these are our children and they are our future.


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