Tuesday, November 28, 2017


The Empty Chair at Our Holiday Table

by Patty DiRenzo
Patty DiRenzo
When you lose a child, your life changes forever. There will always be an emptiness, a missing piece at the family gatherings — the empty chair at the table.

This time of year is full of so many emotions. I always loved the holidays and the time spent with family. But since my son’s passing, my initial thoughts are, “It’s another holiday that he won’t be here with us.”

Sal suffered with substance misuse from his early teens, never getting the full treatment he needed due to insurance barriers. In June 2010, he went into a facility and was released after only 17 days because his funding ran out. He stressed to us that he wasn’t ready to leave and needed help. Sadly, we were only able to get him into Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP), which he attended three nights a week. Sal was doing great, we were enjoying our summer with him and happy to have our son back. On his 90th day sober, he left our home to go to IOP. At 3:37 a.m., the police came to my home to inform me that Sal was found in my car in another town. He had died from an overdose. We were told that it appeared Sal was not alone in the car when he died. Whomever was with him did not call 911 to save his life. Instead, they left him alone to die.

I lost a piece of my heart when Sal died.

The holiday season was soon upon us. I wondered, How do I get through this?
Read How I Learned to Cope

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