Our son Josh was born on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday, January 15, 1995. This quote of Dr. King's rings true in our home in the aftermath of Josh's tragic death from an accidental overdose just 45 painful days ago.
We cannot adequately express in words how we feel - it is disappointment indeed, but it is so much more. The depths of our grief seem limitless, perhaps that will change, but one thing for sure is the fact that we won't ever feel the same. As parents, it is a true statement that when you bury a child, you lose a piece of you.
But despite this despair, we remain hopeful. The beauty of who Josh was - who he remains to us - inspires us to honor him, celebrate his life, and act on a desire we shared with him...that addiction hurts so much and so many, we must stop it...we don't want it to harm others.
That's why as we said in his eulogy on the day of his funeral, December 14, 2019, we are compelled to act. We must do something. As a society, a nation, a state, a community, a neighborhood, a circle of friends, a family - we need to face the epidemic of addiction that is killing our children and tearing apart families.
We believe, together, as a community of hope, we must find solutions that emanate from a place of love and compassion. We must discuss the emotions, the stigma and the psychological dimensions of this disease to help others understand and cope. Help for everyone can only come if we are strong enough to ask for it.
So, today, as our nation pauses to remember the man who was compelled to act to right an injustice by disrupting the way our nation thinks about race and equality with words of love, compassion, truth and grace, we launch our effort to disrupt the conversation about addiction.
We can no longer afford to talk about addiction in the hushed tones of ignorance and in the cold shadows of judgment.
Our truth can be anyone's. Addiction does not discriminate. It can ruin anyone's life. It can take anyone's child. This is its evil truth. And we need to fight it. We need to be bold. We need to shine a healing light on all who struggle with addiction - from those suffocating in its grip to those lost in its throes trying to help.
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