For Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Substance Use Disorder or Overdose
As parents, we share a unique language forged by having loved and lost a child.
Our grief support groups provide a place for parents to cope with their anguish and grief, honor their children, and support one another.
What to Expect From Our Grief Groups
Losing a child to a substance use disorder can be lonely, isolating, and painful. LITT is here for you.
After speaking with a leader from our team, members are placed in a group to meet bi-weekly by Zoom. The intention behind these meetings is to discuss our grief, share memories of our children, and support one another.
Group leaders are also available for one-on-one confidential conversations and support.
There is no fee to join any of our group. LITT highly respects the privacy and confidentiality of our grief group members. Your information will never be shared outside of the organization.
Meet Our Group Leaders
Lisa Bertucci lost her son, Alex, on July 16, 2016, to an accidental overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl. He was 24 years old. Lisa, her husband, daughter, and large extended family did their best to support Alex as he fought his illness. They were devastated by their loss, knowing that Alex deeply wanted a life in recovery.
Three years after the loss of Alex, Lisa started her work with LITT as a grief group leader. Lisa believes that if something good can come from something so tragic, it is most certainly the people she has met along the way.
Sarah Sartipy lost her son, Bijan, on October 11, 2019, to a fentanyl overdose. He was 21 years old. The five years preceding Bijan’s death were chaotic and tumultuous for his parents and sister. Bijan’s addiction ravaged the family emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Sarah joined the LITT grief group not long after losing Bijan where she found a safe place to share and process the trauma around addiction and grief.
Sarah considers the parents in LITT an extended family and a soft place during the hardest times. She lives in Baltimore with her partner, daughter, and two dogs. As a grief group leader, she finds meaning in helping other parents navigate this painful journey.
Lisa Filer lost her son, Aidan, on July 22, 2020 to fentanyl poisoning. Aidan was 22 years old. Lisa and Aidan’s dad struggled for years helping Aidan deal with his mental health issues and subsequent substance use disorder. Aidan completed his third rehab in 2020 and passed away six weeks later. Lisa, Aidan’s dad, and his older brother will always be devastated by their loss. For Lisa, the year following the loss of her son was one of confusion and soul searching. Eventually, Lisa returned home to Maryland and found LITT to be the community of parents she needed to process what had happened to her son and her family.
Lisa wants to help others process their loss through sharing and connecting. She believes that no one should be alone through this difficult journey and that through education and communication we can recognize that the sons and daughters we have lost to this illness were so much more than their disease. We can move forward and help destigmatize substance use disorder.
Kristin Seeberger lost her son, James Preston, on June 8, 2020, to fentanyl poisoning. James was twenty and living in Portland, Oregon, when he overdosed. A week before James died, he reached out to his mom to get help and gave her access to his therapist. James was days away from getting into the treatment that he requested. Kristin holds on to James’s intention.
The way Kristin tells the story, LITT found her a few weeks after James died. Fellow group leader Sarah Sartipy contacted her to share the story of her son Bijan and invited her to her first LITT group. LITT became a refuge for Kristin, helping her process her grief, and by bearing witness to other parents’ grief, her grief became lighter. She believes that substance use disorder is related to unresolved emotions, often from trauma. The death of a child from an overdose is one of the most traumatic events in a parent’s life. Kristin believes in the healing power of LITT’s grief groups to heal in a supportive and non judgmental place.
Kristin lives in Baltimore with her dog, Rux. Her oldest son Garrett lives in Portland, Oregon. She is currently pursuing her MFA in writing at Bennington College, writing essays about addiction, James, her family, Baltimore, dogs, butterflies, tattoos, grief, and the silver linings she finds along the way.
Kristin Seeberger is a Certified Grief Educator.
Maryrose Gans lost her son, David, on January 16, 2019, to fentanyl poisoning. David was 30 years old. He made his parents and brother aware of his addiction to opioids three years before his death. They loved and supported him throughout his journey, which was not hard, since there was so much about him to love. He signed himself up and attended several inpatient and outpatient rehabs. David hated his addiction. He relapsed and overdosed after months of sobriety.
When Maryrose joined LITT to grieve her son’s loss, she formed some incredibly special relationships. Through them, she learned that life goes on even after such a tragic loss. Maryrose wants to help others navigating their grief and is leading a group of parents who are further along the grief journey. We all agree that our children were so much more than their disease.
Daniel Ledesma lost his son, Oscar, on February 3, 2022, to an accidental fentanyl overdose. He was 17 years old. Oscar had dealt with anxiety issues during his early teen years. The Covid years were actually positive for him removing peer pressure and allowing him time to focus on his mental health. He returned to school for his senior year and joined a new group of friends who introduced serious illegal drugs to his life. As a family all gathered around him to help Oscar focus on changing his surroundings, graduating early and registering him for college. He attended his first substance support group, then tragically overdosed only hours later that evening.
Daniel was devastated and lost as a father for months. A dear friend, Robbie, saw Daniel’s desperation to find healing and peace. He researched parent support groups online and found LITT. The parent support group led by Lisa Filer was a turning point in his healing. After 6 months and with LITT in need of additional leaders to support new parents, he volunteered to lead a group for the organization. Daniel wants to support other parents through a community and “safe place” his group can provide. He recognizes a new grieving parent needs multiple resources and time to heal and process their tragedy. He is also very focused on raising awareness of the dangers of fentanyl with other teens and parents.
Sandra Issa lost her 18-year-old son, MJ, on August 28, 2021 to an accidental fentanyl overdose. The previous year and a half had been challenging as MJ's growing addiction began to wreak havoc on family life. His substance use disorder stemmed, in part, from attempts to self-medicate after receiving multiple concussions while playing football. The family rallied and hired an interventionist in June who convinced MJ to go to a rehab facility. However, as he was 18 years old, MJ was able to check himself out after a handful of days. He died a month and a half later.
Sandra processed her grief on her own for over a year but discovered LITT after her daughter suggested she look for a support group. Within the confines of the LITT group, Sandra found a community with which she could share the sometimes messy complexities of loss and grief. As a LITT group leader, Sandra wants to help others process their grief in a safe space in a community with an abundance of honesty, warmth and support.
Prema Paxton lost her 20-year-old son, Lance, on April 30, 2022, to an accidental fentanyl overdose. Lance dealt with PTSD from a childhood trauma and at times took medication for anxiety. Embarked on a six-month visit from Sweden to California to see family and friends after covid, he was optimistic and looking forward to beginning his university applications. After a trip to the gym, he bought a fake fentanyl-laced “Percocet” pill from a friend of a friend, asking if it was a real prescription and being assured that it was. Lance took it, went to sleep that night and never woke up.
Prema’s family, including Lance’s four siblings and two step-siblings, gathered in California for a soulful ‘Celebration of Life’. As a family they set the intention to live life going forward in honor of Lance. This event brought all of them closer together and the love and support carried Prema back to Sweden. But once home she felt the full force of her grief. She soon found LITT, and it has been an oasis in the fire of her grief. She is grateful to have found a community across the globe that understands the unbearable heartbreaking open pain of loss, and the immense love that is experienced in the longing for our children. Prema also attends LITT’s support group for parents of those with a child active in their addiction or in recovery and received invaluable support for her eldest son now in recovery. She teaches gentle yoga internationally for love & loss, online, and leads rejuvenating yoga retreats in the Swedish countryside where she lives.
Prema is honored to be part of the LITT family as a grief group leader and yoga teacher. For her, it is an opportunity to give back and bear witness to the unbearable grief and profound love that we have for our children. She offers her service in honor of Lance and for all our beautiful children, and shares Lance's story on social media as part of her commitment to raising awareness of fentanyl poisoning.
Dori Moreno-Korn lost her daughter Mia, on March 20, 2022, to an accidental overdose of a lethal mix that included fentanyl. Mia was 23 years old. She had been in recovery for three months before she relapsed and died.
Mia battled with anxiety and an eating disorder, and eventually a substance use disorder. She was an artist and musician who traveled her last few years with her mandolin, busking, camping, and jumping on freight trains, always documenting her life in photographs along the way; the beauty, the hardship, and everything in between. She was vocal about her struggles and sought recovery several times.
Dori came to LITT six months after Mia passed in search of a supportive group of parents who had experienced a similarly tragic loss. Within LITT she has found a place to safely process the emotions that evolve through grief and a community that welcomes the celebration of who Mia was. Dori is especially moved by the way LITT gives parents the opportunity to say their children’s names and tell their stories as often as they like.
Join Our Grief Support Group
LITT respects the privacy and confidentiality of its support group members. For this reason, we prefer to touch base with those considering attending prior to joining on of our groups.
Please fill out the form below with you contact information and your preferred method and time of day to reach you.