Melissa Etheridge suffered an enormous loss this May, when 21-year-old son Beckett died after a long struggle with opioid addiction. At the time, Etheridge spoke out about her unimaginable grief, one she knew she shared with so many parents across the country whose children struggle with similar afflictions. Now, the singer-songwriter is speaking out again in a new video for Rolling Stone, sharing how she’s moved forward these difficult weeks. Etheridge still struggles with wondering if she could have done more to save son Beckett’s life — but for her own peace of mind, and that of parents in her shoes everywhere, she’s fighting back against that misplaced feeling of guilt. Etheridge is not to blame for son Beckett’s death. But she wants parents to know that it’s okay if they have to remind themselves of that every so often.
Mom Etheridge laid bare her feelings in this raw and emotional new video, spanning everything from career plans to her sexuality and, of course, her process of mourning. Even before Beckett passed away, Etheridge says she struggled with taking on his addiction as her fault, tying her life to whether or not she could correct the course of her son’s.
“You want to help your child. You want to make them all better. He was a young adult. There were things out of my control, of course,” Etheridge says of her son. “And there came a time when I needed to really sit down with myself and say, ‘I can’t save him. I can’t give up my life and go try to live his life for him.'”
“I had to come up against the possibility that he might die,” Etheridge continued. “But I had to be able to go on living.”
After Beckett’s death, the voice that asked whether she could have done more got louder, and Etheridge fought once again to push it down.
“There will always be that that place in my heart and my soul that that has a little bit of, ‘Oh, what could what could I have done? And is it my fault he ended this way?'” she explains. “It just gets smaller and smaller, because it doesn’t serve me anymore, and where he is now, he certainly doesn’t want me to take that on. So, you know, if that can help any parents who might be torturing themselves with that.”
In the end, Etheridge had to accept her son for the person he was: in her words, “a troubled son who did the best he could, who believed what he believed and then his life ended way, way too soon.”
“Of course it’s nothing a parent ever wants,” she adds. “I still struggle with it but that’s what I can say.”
Click here to see all the celebrities who have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.