Grieving Mothers Band Together To Support People In Recovery

By Victoria Kim 07/10/18

“If we can save just one person, it’s worth it,” said one of the mothers in the Moms of Cherished Angels group.

grieving woman being offered support by another woman.

A group of grieving mothers are turning their losses into something positive.

The Moms of Cherished Angels—a group of women who lost a child or family member to drugs—donate toothpaste, shampoo, other toiletries, and notebooks to people entering rehab across Pennsylvania.

In each care package, they add a note telling their story.

“We decided we wanted to do something to keep our children’s memories alive and help others suffering with this horrible disease,” said Judy Provanzo, whose son Michael died last August.

Judy and her husband decided to address Michael’s drug use in his obituary: “We do not want his death to be in vain,” it read. “Michael did not want to be an addict. His demons were more than he could handle. Addiction is a disease and does not discriminate. Many loved ones did everything they could to get him to stop but the drugs won their battle.”

After that, others who had lost loved ones to drugs reached out to Provanzo, and from there, the support group formed. The women meet every week. One member, who lost her daughter in 2016, called it a “sisterhood.”

“Everybody is different and everybody grieves differently,” said Provanzo. “We get to different places in the process at different times. But if we didn’t have this every Tuesday, I’d be in a loony bin.”

The support of others who are going through the same experience is invaluable to the grieving moms. “We understand one another. There are times we’ll say, ‘Did you get out of bed today?’” said Provanzo.

In her note about Mikey, Provanzo wrote: “The day Mikey died a part of me and his father died with him. I’m sharing this with you in hopes it helps you along your journey. Mikey always thought he had his addiction under control and this wouldn’t happen to him. If you’re feeling like you want to give up, please think of Mikey and how my heart is breaking not having him. Remember you are loved and you can do this one day at a time.”

The mothers honor the memory of their children and loved ones by supporting not only one another, but others in recovery.

“If we can save just one person, it’s worth it,” said Kim Janeczek, who lost her 21-year-old son Matthew in 2017.

In her care package note she wrote, “He had a heart of gold. He helped so many people in the short time he was here.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr