Melissa Etheridge is taking action to prevent other mothers from feeling the same pain she felt following the loss of her son to opioid addiction.
The singer spoke on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna Thursday about her new foundation for opioid research and how she has been coping since the death of her son Beckett Cypher at 21 in May.
Watch TODAY All Day! Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long.
“Our family is very, very close and the strength comes from the love of the rest of us,” she said. “I’m not alone in this nation of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction.
“It was a long journey. In the end, there’s a small amount of peace knowing he’s not in pain anymore. Of course we miss him. My wife and my three other children, we come together, and we know he’s here in spirit, so we do what we love, and we love each other and come together. You just do it one day at a time.”
She started the Etheridge Foundation in June to support research into the causes and effects of opioid addiction. The foundation will be holding its first official fundraiser on Oct. 11.
“Unfortunately there’s way too many of us,” she said. “This is an epidemic. We lose over 150,000 people a year to opioid addiction. One thing that helped me heal was starting the Etheridge Foundation.
“It’s a foundation to research alternatives, to get off of this track of pharmaceuticals for pain. It’s research to understand pain, to understand addiction, and there’s many alternatives, there’s many people trying things that just understand the mind and the body and addiction. We really want to move to the forefront quickly of things that can help with opioid addiction.”
Etheridge, 59, also shared an update with her fans in June about how music has helped heal her.
“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,” she wrote on Twitter. “I will sing again, soon. It has always healed me.”
She and her wife, Linda Wallem, have set up a studio at their home where Etheridge has been regularly streaming live performances on her subscription-based Etheridge TV. The idea came to her when her tour was discontinued in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I decided at that time, oh my gosh, one, I just have to sing because I love to sing and I can’t imagine not getting up and singing,” she said. “Two, I wanted to connect with my fans and I knew that we were looking at a world for many months now without coming together as a community.”