They say there’s nothing like the pain of losing a child. The grief can be debilitating, and, when a child dies from addiction or overdose, there can be added guilt. Why didn’t we know? Could we have prevented this?
Jonathan Morelli’s mom Rochelle is turning her grief over her son’s death into something positive. Jon died due to a heroin overdose when he was a high school senior, and now his mom is trying to ensure no other mother ever has to feel her pain. This has meant speaking at Pittsburgh-area schools and drug-awareness events and at a summit whose attendees included the state attorney general and a White House drug official. She’s also producing a documentary that will be distributed free to schools in her home state of Pennsylvania.
The documentary project may be out of her comfort zone – she admits she knows absolutely nothing about film production – but the idea came to her in a recurring dream. She agreed to give it a try and watched in awe as everything fell into place. Local drug counselors, police, and a host of her late son’s friends and family members are also participating.
She admits that her son has become something of a heroin overdose poster child thanks to her advocacy. She’s fine with that, knowing that her personal efforts may move local students in a way that more general anti-drug warnings can’t. She says, “I have no words to describe what it has felt like to lose my son. My life will never be the same. If I can help one person, one family, avoid going through this, then this whole documentary, this film we’re producing, if it helps one person, I feel like I’ve done my job.”
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