August is Overdose Awareness Month. I like so many thousands of parents and loved ones around the country and the globe have been affected by the opioid crisis. I lost my finance Matt to a relapse two months after he was part of the divine intervention that saved my life in what should have been a fatal car accident for me. I didn’t know Matt during his active use of opioids ut I give him so much credit for battling and winning his battle for as long as he did. Six months after Matt’s passing, I would learn I lost my childhood friend, Heather, to an overdose too. Heather was always like a big sister to me and even shares the same birthday as my biological sister.
To be quite honest, I held many of the stigmas against opioid users that most of mainstream society does until Matt died of an overdose and I educated myself through joining grief support groups, volunteering for opioid awareness groups, becoming an advocate for those with no voice, and undergoing Recovery Coach Training to even further help others. Below I share a little bit of Matt with you from an article written in 2018. Matt is always loved, always remembered.
Matt’s Story – In Loving Memory of Matthew J. Adams
Matt was a man who had dreams, individual dreams, and dreams we shared together, but all that changed on February 28, 20217, his 37th birthday when a peer-influenced relapse cost him his life.
Matt was the most amazing and selfless man I have ever met; the love of my life and my hero. He was loving, kind-hearted, caring, compassionate, empathetic, comforting, strong, brave, adventurous, goofy, respectful, intelligent, wise, always there to offer a helping hand for those in need, a natural healer, a great listener, and always brought joy and happiness to those around him yet he was haunted by the hurt, pain, and sorrow of the past and tried his best to hide it from the world as he didn’t want anyone to worry about him, the way he worried about others.
Matt changed my life with his love. He broke open the walls of protection I spent a lifetime building around my heart and was part of the Divine intervention that saved my life the night we were in a car crash. He did everything it took that night, to get me out of the vehicle to safety until the ambulance arrived, risking his own life to do so. I wouldn’t be alive today sharing our story if it wasn’t for the grace of God and Matt.
Family was the most important thing to Matt. He was an amazing Dad to his daughter and always looked after and cared for those he loved making sure they were safe and protected taking a promise he made to his grandfather years ago to look after the women in the family seriously. He loved the outdoors, fishing, dirt bike riding, the Red Sox and Patriots, skydiving, kayaking, camping, traveling, fixing cars, woodworking, watching movies, music, and singing. I will always remember how much I admired his courage to sing karaoke on our first date! I miss hearing him sing, he loved to sing the songs “Broken” by Seether and Amy Lee and “Next To Be with You “by Mr. Big to me. After the car accident, I wasn’t embarrassed to sing in front of him anymore and began singing Broken with him in duet. We even talked about singing it together at a karaoke night… but we never got the chance to go. He died before we could.
I miss snuggling up with him and getting his feedback on my writing before I submit my pieces to my editors, I miss hearing his voice, looking deep into each other’s eyes and locking eyes, holding his hand, going out to eat with him, making his lunch, seeing his face, touching him, hearing his voice, the smell of him….. Simply put I MIISS EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM!
He inspired me, encouraged me, was interested in my studies in the Doctorate of Natural Medicine program at Quantum University and the other activities I was involved in. He supported me in my writing career, going to school, and starting a home-based holistic health and wellness center together.
I could always tell by Matt’s tone, change in his language used in his text messages, and by the questions, he would sometimes ask which were outside of his usual character who he was hanging out with and the apologies that would follow later either by text or when we would see each other in person. At the beginning of February, while Matt and I were together something inside me prompted me to ask him if he was using again. Matt had overcome his battle with opioids once before with the power from within. It wasn’t like Matt to disappear when we were out in public together. That particular night he did. When we talked about what happened on the way home I asked him if he was using again, he reassured me he wasn’t. I had no reason not to believe him, he had never lied to me before.
Shortly after Valentine’s Day, he went up to Maine to lay the groundwork for us to relocate there and start the rest of our lives together and start a family of our own with his daughter. He had texted me the Saturday before his birthday to tell me he was on his way home!!! I was so excited and couldn’t wait to see him later that night! Little did I know that would be the last text I would ever receive from Matt. He had been dropped at his friend’s house instead of coming home to me. I had fallen asleep while waiting for him to get home. I woke up to a bad dream I was having and looked at the clock, Matt should have been home. I began texting Matt just about every half hour to an hour over the next several hours asking him if he was ok. As the hours passed my anxiety and worry grew more and more intense, I then knew how a parent felt waiting up for their child no matter what age. I fell asleep reassuring myself that Matt had gone home and fallen asleep without calling me.
Later that afternoon, I began making his homemade Boston Cream Pie birthday cake from scratch. I had missed a message asking me if I was around because someone had just seen Matt and he didn’t seem his usual self, he was really off and this person was concerned about him. Matt still wasn’t returning my text messages or phone calls.
His birthday morning arrived and I had texted him that morning like I usually do to wish him a beautiful and special day like him and would see him later on that night for his birthday. Still no response. I received a message on my Facebook timeline from his close friend’s girlfriend asking me if I have a messenger because Facebook was the only place she knew how to get in touch with me. When she told me the news, my world came crashing down around me. I was in utter disbelief, it felt like my heart and soul had been ripped out of me. I didn’t know how I was going to go on without him. He was my partner for life. There was nothing I couldn’t do with him by my side.
Not a day goes by that I don’t miss Matt with every fiber of my being, longing for human presence from the depths of my heart and soul. Not a day goes by that I don’t question God and the Divine plan behind this, asking for help to understand how Matt was taken away so soon when he was doing all the right things to get healthy. How could he be taken away after being part of the Divine intervention that saved my life? Not a day goes by that I don’t pray to ask for help to forgive those who contributed to his death. Not a day goes by that I don’t pray to ask God to help those who contributed to his death see the light and help them break the cycle and get the help they need so they can stop destroying lives and families.
The love Matt and I share along with his memory and the strength he gave me when he was here continue to be my strength and my guiding light. The part he played in the miracle of gifting me life a second time after what should have been a fatal car accident for me keeps me strong and moving forward. I owe the rest of this lifetime to him and God.
To honor the amazing man Matt is and keep his love and memory alive, I began sharing our story more and more with others through a Hope Support Outreach program I found out about through a friend who also lost a loved one to an overdose. She runs a grief support group with other women who have lost their children. Through my attendance and connections made there and on Facebook, I have become more aware of not only how many others are grieving like myself but also how many more lives are affected by Substance Abuse Disorder.
I have joined many support and advocacy groups to help bring awareness, hope and that together we can end the opioid crisis. I have joined the Fed Up Coalition and the Addiction Policy and have sent a letter to Purdue Pharma.
It is my hope through sharing Matt and my story through public speaking, my writings, and books as well as my work as a Women’s Empowerment Coach and Holistic Health Practitioner that I can help others lead an empowered healthy life of mind, body, and spirit and help prevent Substance Abuse Disorder.
Written by Matt’s life partner and fiance Isabella Rose
This article first appeared on the Addiction Forum Policy 174 a-day campaign and again in their 192 a-day campaign.