Melissa Etheridge opens up about struggle with late son's opioid addiction: 'Is it my fault he ended this way?'


Nearly three months after the death of her son, Melissa Etheridge is opening up about her struggle of parenting a child with addiction and just how she and her family have been grieving the loss of Beckett Cypher.

“As a mother of someone who was addicted to opioids, it’s a struggle. You want to help your child, you want to make them all better,” the 59-year-old singer-songwriter said during an interview with Rolling Stone. “He was a young adult, there were things out of my control, of course, and there came a time that I needed to really sit down with myself and say I can’t save him. I can’t give up my life and go try to live his life for him. And I had to come up against the possibility that he might die.”

In May, that possibility became a reality as Etheridge and her former partner, filmmaker Julie Cypher, announced their son’s death. He was 21 at the time and Etheridge immediately disclosed that it was a result of an opioid overdose. Now, months later she provided more insight into what the young man’s life was like just prior to his death and the impact that it had on her.

Etheridge and Beckett in 2011. (Photo: Getty Images)
Etheridge and Beckett in 2011. (Photo: Getty Images)

“It was a good year of us knowing he was really in trouble, and kind of ups and downs. And it wasn’t a surprise, again, to the family,” Etheridge explained. “You hope that OK, this is the time, this is the day that he’s gonna say, ‘Yeah I can do this I can get through.’ So we all wished the best for him and supported him and loved him.”

Despite the support that she gave him throughout his life, the singer revealed that she still questioned if she did enough once he passed. “There will always be that place in my heart, in my soul that has a little bit of, ‘What could I have done? And is it my fault he ended this way?’ All that sort of thing,” she admitted.

But as those questions and sense of responsibility dwindled, Etheridge also explained that music continues to be her way through. “The thing that makes life make sense has always been my music. I’ve always been able to sing and breathe and let it out and get the emotions out through music. It has saved me my whole entire life,” she said.

Now, the musician and her wife, Linda Wallem, put together what they call Etheridge TV, which was created as a result of the “Heal Me” concerts Etheridge was performing and live streaming from her garage. “We created something we’ve dreamed of always, which is our own little studio.” And while Etheridge’s fans love the opportunity to hear her voice and get the experience of being at a show, the musician said that each show helps her to move forward.

“That’s where all the healing is,” she said. “I get to practice some of my music, I get to play my guitars. It gives us something to do every day, to get through this time. And it’s just really saved us.”

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