By Nancy Ouhib / May - June, 2011
Imagine if you were a mother who tragically and unexpectedly lost a child to drug or alcohol use and abuse. Imagine the many feelings you would have including grief, guilt, anger, pain, love and loss from this tragedy.
You think that no one else could ever understand or even relate to the depth of pain, shock and emotion that comes with this life experience. You feel alone and almost abandoned, not knowing where to turn to share the grief that would lessen the pain.
Janet Kohn of Parkland and Laura Friedlander of Coral Springs are mothers who each lost a child to drug use. They became friends and provided support for each other. In the process, they realized that they were feeling better because of their friendship. In June of 2010, they established the non-denominational Broken Angels Grief Support Group. It is for mothers who have lost a child due to drug or alcohol abuse, overdose or suicide while having a substance abuse problem or any drug or alcohol-related issues.
Meetings are held at different Parkland homes on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. "We had nine people at the last meeting," says Kohn. "Women come to us through word-of-mouth and other ways. If we get too many people, we will start another group at different days and times."
When Kohn's son Brian Fox, age 21, died of a drug overdose, she struggled. "In that first year after his death, I felt very alone," she says. "Since we started the group, I have felt a tremendous amount of support. Helping other people helped me a lot, too. We laugh, too. This is a safe place. We can talk about our children. Other people don't know what to say. They feel so bad if we talk about our children, it's as if we ruined their day."
The confidential setting of the group, during which members have a bite to eat, kick off their shoes and flop on cozy couches, helps foster friendship. Grief and its impact are discussed. Sometimes tears flow. The women share what ever they want to share in an informal setting. Listening and talking, they remember.
To join, telephone Kohn at 954-815-3661 or 954-509-2015 or Friedlander at 954-646-3376. New members are pre-screened to make sure that Broken Angels is a good fit. Visit the web site www.thebrokenangels.com for more information
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