Happy Mother’s Day Susan
The wisteria is blooming extravagantly around the wooden arch at the entrance of our old home. Big fat busy bees are wildly dipping into the pale lavender blossoms to get sweet supplies to make their thick honey.
The wisteria and the buzz always herald Mother’s Day for me. And, it’s a day that deservesheralding. There are, after all, some incredibly extraordinary mothers out there who deserve to be celebrated.
This week my son, JP, and I had the privilege of meeting Susan Salomone – a truly extraordinary mother. A woman on a mission.
Six years ago, after the death of her son from a heroin overdose, Susan co-founded with another family who also lost a son to overdose, Drug Crisis In Our Backyard. The aim of this nonprofit community action organization is to promote awareness, provide resources and offer support to those struggling with addiction and their families. Drug Crisis In Our Backyard is dedicated to the memory of her son, Justin, 29, and others who have lost their lives to the disease of addiction.
Susan is a petite dynamo who is passionate about her work to help addicts and their families. Following her son’s death in 2012, she sought professional training and certification as a substance abuse counselor and recovery coach. Drug Crisis In Our Backyard runs support groups in New York, as well as events such as a recent walk in Putnam County to raise awareness of the opioid crisis.
Susan’s commitment to turn her own tragedy into a source of help for others left both JP and I in awe. Tucked in a pocket of the black leather folder she uses is a prayer card from Justin’s funeral with a photo of him smiling and handsome.
She shrugged off any accolades about her work.
“Lemons to lemonade,” she said to us quietly as we sat together at an outdoor table for coffee.
Since our meeting, I have spent the time turning over and over in my mind the deep core of strength and generosity of spirit she has tapped into during the last six years to use her grief in the service of others.
And I have spent the time since thanking God for the gift of recovery in my own family.
Happy Mother’s Day, Susan.
For more information about the work of Drug Crisis In Our Backyard please contact www.drugcrisisinourbackyard.org