Melissa Etheridge on Late Son: I Have a 'Small Amount of Peace Knowing He's Not in Pain Anymore'
Melissa Etheridge's son Beckett died in May after struggling with opioid addiction
"Our family is very, very close, and the strength comes from the love from the rest of us," she shared. "I'm not alone in this nation of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction. It was a long journey."
"Of course we miss him," she added of Beckett, "but my wife and my three other children, we come together and we know he's here in spirit. We do what we love and we love each other and come together, and you just do it one day at a time."
The Grammy nominee also spoke about The Etheridge Foundation, which she recently started to support research into the causes and effects of opioid addiction.
"This is an epidemic. We lose over 150,000 people a year to opioid addiction," she said. "One thing that helped me heal was starting The Etheridge Foundation. We're just starting it and it's rolling out and it is a foundation to research alternatives. To get off of this track of pharmaceuticals for pain. It's research to understand addiction."
"We really want to move to the forefront of things that can help with opioid addiction," the star added.
On May 13, Etheridge, who is also mom to daughter Bailey, 23, and 13-year-old twins Johnnie Rose and Miller Steven, confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE that Beckett died from an opioid overdose.
"My son Beckett, who was just 21, struggled to overcome his addiction and finally succumbed to it today," she said. "He will be missed by those who loved him, his family and friends."
Last month, the star opened up to Rolling Stone about her son's death and his struggles prior to his passing.
"As the 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. He was a young adult," she said.
"There were things out of my control, of course. And there came a time when 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. But I had to be able to go on living," she explained. "Of course it's nothing a parent ever wants. But as a human being, I just needed to be at peace with a troubled son who did the best he could, who believed what he believed and then his life ended way, way too soon."
Etheridge told Rolling Stone that she is attempting to move forward with her life after feeling guilt.
"There will always be that that place in my heart and my soul that that has a little bit of 'Oh, what could I have done? And is it my fault he ended this way?' and all that sort of thing," she said. "And it just gets smaller and smaller, because it doesn't serve me anymore, and where he is now, he certainly doesn't want me to take that on."
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.