“As the mother of someone who was addicted to opioids, it’s a struggle,” the Grammy winner, 59, told Rolling Stone on Thursday, August 6. “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. 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.’ And I had to come up against the possibility that he might die. But I had to be able to go on living.”
Etheridge acknowledged that the realization was “nothing a parent ever wants” to come to. However, “as a human being,” she said, “I just needed to be at peace with a troubled son who did the best he could, who believed what he believed and then his life ended way, way too soon.”
The “Come to My Window” singer announced on May 13 that she “joined the hundreds of thousands of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction.”
“My son Beckett, who was just 21, struggled to overcome his addiction and finally succumbed to it today,” she tweeted at the time. “He will be missed by those who loved him, his family and friends. My heart is broken. I am grateful for those who have reached out with condolences and I feel their love and sincere grief. We struggle with what else we could have done to save him, and in the end we know he is out of the pain now. I will sing again, soon. It has always healed me.”
Etheridge told Rolling Stone on Thursday that while she still wonders what else she could have done to help Beckett, she knows that he would not want her to harp on it.
“Where he is now, he certainly doesn’t want me to take that on,” she said. “So, you know, if that can help any parents who might be torturing themselves with that. … I believe life is meant to be lived with as much joy as we can. But life is also contrast. Life is also up and down. I’ve lived enough of it now to know. And you can’t lay down. You can’t be shattered. You can’t die and give up. You know, that’s what my son did.”
The “I’m the Only One” singer shared Beckett and daughter Bailey Jean, 23, with her ex Julie Cypher, with fellow musician David Crosby being their biological father. She also has twins, Johnnie and Miller, 13, with ex-wife Tammy Lynn Michaels.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).