BAY SHORE, New York – Every week, these parents share tears, laughter, and hugs as they try to cure a tragedy they share have – the loss of a child due to drug addiction.
And they find consolation, pearl after pearl, in the mourning group Beading Hearts, which emerged from a foundation founded by Linda Nuszen. She named her nonprofit Look Up for Adam and named it after her son, who lost his fight against addiction in November 2015.
While Nuszen's son was recovering, he started making her inspiring pearls. After his death, Nuszen decided to honor him by continuing to sparkle her and present it to others who experienced the same loss.
"I had no intention of starting a group, I just turned to other people who understand what I went through," said Nuszen. "There was something very healing and connected with Adam in this room."
The group started with three mothers and now includes over 300 parents. There is also a spin-off group for people who mourn the loss of a sibling.
The parents assemble pearls once a week and go out of their way to attend funerals for victims of overdoses to give the pearl-mourning parents – and invite them to visit the group as soon as they are ready .
"The stigma and shame of addiction is so deep in some people that they cannot overcome it so that they isolate themselves, do not go and seek help," said member Lisa Lempp. "You are afraid to share it, the moment I share the secret is the moment I set myself free to heal."
Nuszen hopes that more parents will realize that they are not alone during this difficult loss and join the pearl hearts to surround themselves with unconditional support.
"We have been in hiding so long that it feels so good to be able to pronounce it out loud, and we have the opportunity to say the names of our children," said Nuszen. "We can use the love we have for our child, who never dies, and pass it on."
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