Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dear Members: Friday, March 31, is the 2nd anniversary of the death of Barbara's beloved boy, Daniel. I am planning to post several tributes to him and his mom, and a few pieces of his poetry. Let us take a moment to reflect upon Daniel's short and tragic life, and to thank his mother for allowing us the opportunities to "Share Without Shame."
A Tribute to Daniel Francis Montalbano, beloved son of “The Addict’s Mom” Founder, Barbara Theodosiou
Essay written by Sherry Schlenke, the mother of a boy, now deceased from the disease of addiction.
Everyone’s Child: Daniel Francis Montalbano
March 31, 2015 marks the passing of an exceptional young man. Daniel Montalbano, the son of “The Addict’s Mom” founder, Barbara Theodosiou, was a brilliant, handsome, talented, compassionate young man, with a loving family, and a bright future.
However, Daniel, like so many other young people in our nation and across the world, when he was young, far too young to make such a life-changing decision, fell victim to drug addiction. From the time he entered pre-school, Daniel, likely a child with Autism, was shunned and mocked by his peers for his ritualistic, odd behaviors. He was bullied and beaten. He grew angry and bitter; his was a troubled soul. Drugs were his way of coping with his inner turmoil.
His mother, a devoted, and determined mother, tried everything within her power to cure him, and to save him, but she could not. She, like all loving mothers, became desperate to save her child; unfortunately, the bonds of addiction were too powerful. Barbara remembers her feelings of loneliness and desperation:
“I knew that there had to be other mothers who felt as I did. Sitting alone, in the dark, with tears running down her cheeks. She feels broken.”
Ten years ago, together, Barbara and Daniel created “The Addict’s Mom,” (TAM) a forum where mothers and other family members have the opportunity for open, honest sharing of their experiences, sorrows, challenges and victories with their addicted children. Their damaged spirits find understanding, support and comfort in the devastation of addiction.
Recognizing the shame and embarrassment that a mother of an addicted child feels, Daniel envisioned the TAM mission: “Share Without Shame.” Beginning with a few mothers who preferred to remain anonymous due to the stigma of addiction, TAM has grown in the last 10 years to a membership of 85,000. Daniel’s wishes have come true: TAM unites shattered mothers and helps them heal.
Today, Barbara continues the work of TAM so that Daniel’s brief, tragic life of only 23 years was not lived in vain. Displaying extraordinary bravery and fortitude, Barbara stands as a role model for all addict’s moms: she inspires us, uplifts us, and gives us hope as Daniel’s vision lives on in each and every TAM mom.
For the first time in the history of our nation, mothers of addicted children are emerging from the shadows, speaking their names, and sharing their stories. These mothers are conducting candle-lighting ceremonies to commemorate their lost children, marching at community and national rallies and appearing in the media: television, Facebook, online and print magazines, and newspapers. They are invited to share their experiences and opinions with representatives from the legislative, law enforcement, judicial, and medical communities in order to effect reforms in medical treatment, in funding treatment, in the prison system, and in the insurance industry. Daniel and Barbara have given voice to these desperate mothers who previously went unheard.
Daniel Montalbano’s life was not lived in vain as is evident from the extraordinary feats of members of TAM:
visiting a child in the hospital, because his own mother is unable to travel
sending money to another mom for an airline ticket to visit her child
attending the funeral of another mother’s child
standing vigil at a child’s hospital bed; a child not her own, of a mother she has never previously met
administering to her child a life-saving anti-opioid medication available due to the efforts of her fellow TAM moms
providing a wheelchair to an impoverished mom for her addicted, quadriplegic child
facing a judge, begging for her child to be spared a jail sentence and instead be permitted to undergo treatment
raising one’s grandchildren because their parents cannot
This week, Barbara will visit Daniel’s gravesite, remembering her beloved boy. She will weep, and she will feel regret and guilt for the “could haves” and the “should haves.” She will not be alone. The mothers of “The Addict’s Mom” will be with her in love, and in sisterhood. Daniel leaves a long-lasting and important legacy; his life and death have united the mothers of addicted children in a permanent bond. That is quite an accomplishment indeed.
Please take a moment to reflect upon this exceptional young man and his loving and compassionate mother.
Daniel Francis Montalbano: Everyone’s Child.
Visit The Addict's Mom at: http://addictsmom.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

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