15 Things Moms Who Have Lost a Child to Overdose Need you to Know.

Aaron Matthew Laxton, LCSW
5 min readSep 30, 2019

Recently, while attending a funeral for a young man that I had worked with, several conversations were struck up. The conversations were a familiar theme of navigating past trauma and loss, particularly of children. Sharing and being present for the loss of another parent’s loss, has a unique way of unlocking personal loss all over again. This pain can also be more intense since a person might have started to let down their guard down.

Through the rollercoaster of a child’s addiction, parents become accustomed to pain and chaos. After their death, the pain and chaos transform into something new and unfamiliar. There are many misconceptions about the loss of a child to an overdose.

There is nothing more unnatural than the loss of a child. The expectation is that parents are to be buried by their children, not the other way around. Each year in the United States, 70,000 people die as a result of an overdose. For this series, I asked three amazing women to share pieces of their children with me. Also, they share 15 things that people should understand about parents who have lost children to overdose.

The more that I talked with these amazing mothers, it is clear that there are commonalities among them. There were some general things that they wished people understood about what had happened to their families. Below is a list of 15 things people need to understand when a person has lost a child to overdose.

15. Missing Piece
When you lose a child, you lose a piece of your soul. Things will never be the same.

14. Every day, we think about what could have been done differently.
We replay moments in our mind, thinking about what we could have done differently. Along with grief and grieving



Aaron Matthew Laxton, LCSW

I am a psychotherapist who writes about mental health, addiction, recovery and the impact of substance use from personal experience. Views are my own.