Fargo, N.D. (Valley News Live) - After losing her son to a drug overdose, an area mom is calling on other families to share their stories online in hopes of change.
A recently created website has hundreds of faces on it, each person has died as a result of the opioid epidemic. It's called celebrating lost loved ones, and there's a mission behind it. The creator of the website says when someone dies from drugs, the community doesn't always understand that they are everyday people, who we love. It’s happening everywhere across the country.
"Sometimes it's like survivor's guilt, like, I would do anything to trade with josh, why not me instead?" says Jenenne Guffey. The loss of her son, Josh Nelson hasn’t gotten any easier, just different. "I can talk about it now without falling completely to pieces. It still clouds every day. There is not a day that goes by where many times I don't think about it."
Nelson died three years ago when heroin took his life. "He was a young man who had a lot of dreams, he wanted a family," says Guffey.
Nelson's story is typed on the website, with loving words from his mom. So far, Nelson’s story is the only post in Fargo on the site. But, there are hundreds of other stories.
"Bringing it out into the light, and shedding some reality in it helps humanize the whole situation for everyone. I don't honestly believe that there are people who aren’t touched by it," says Guffey. The amount of people shown on the map is just the tip of the iceberg.
Since adding her son, Guffey has also lost her sister, they believe she overdosed as well. "I know both Josh and Roxanne would want us to not be silence, because none of us are ashamed," she says.
The more people who share stories, Guffey says it could help make a difference on laws, policies, and support services. Just by showing the reality of the crisis, and the loved ones lost.
The site's creator started it because he lost his brother to an overdose. If you want to add someone, we have the link attached.