The 59-year-old singer is opening up about her experience coming to terms with her son’s addiction and death.
Etheridge poses with her son Beckett (second from right), daughter Bailey and mother Edna during her 2011 Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonyChris Delmas / Getty Images
By Alexander Kacala
Melissa Etheridge is candidly opening up about losing her son Beckett Cypher, who died at 21 years old from causes related to opioid addiction.
“As the mother of someone who was addicted to opioids, it’s a struggle,” she said in a new interview with Rolling Stone. “You want to help your child. You want to make them all better. He was a young adult. There were things out of my control, of course. And there came a time when I needed to really sit down with myself and say, ‘I can’t save him. I can’t give up my life and go try to live his life for him.'”
“And I had to come up against the possibility that he might die,” she said. “But I had to be able to go on living. Of course it’s nothing a parent ever wants. But as a human being, I just needed to be at peace with a troubled son who did the best he could, who believed what he believed and then his life ended way, way too soon.”
The “Come to My Window” singer is healing herself through the power of music, beginning to perform again despite experiencing such great tragedy.
“The thing that makes life make sense has always been my music,” she added. “I started with, ‘what is that appropriate? How I get in front of people when they know what I’m going through?’… (But) it gives us something to do every day to get through this time, and it’s really just saved us.”
On the guilt of losing her son that she harbors, she said, “There will always be that place in my heart and my soul that has a little bit of, ‘Oh, what could I have done? And is it my fault he ended this way?'”
But as time passes by, the 59-year-old Grammy-award winning musician is blaming herself less and less.
“And it just gets smaller and smaller, because it doesn’t serve me anymore, and where he is now, he certainly doesn’t want me to take that on,” she explained. “So, you know, if that can help any parents who might be torturing themselves with that … I believe life is meant to be lived with as much joy as we can. But life is also contrast. Life is also up and down.
“I’ve lived enough of it now to know. And you can’t lay down. You can’t be shattered. You can’t die and give up. You know, that’s what my son did. It’s to be lived. It’s to learn. I still struggle with it but that’s what I can say.”