Mother of three, Monica Mosoronchon, thought the death of her husband would be the hardest loss. But, after losing her youngest son to an overdose in February 2019, she has been struggling to cope and understand how her role as a mother has changed.
In 2007, Mosoronchon and her family received news that their husband and father, Robert, had stage four terminal cancer. Her family tried the best they could to continue to live their everyday lives.
“It was very evident that their dad was sick and our life did revolve around that for those few years,” says Mosoronchon.
Robert died in 2011 after surviving three and a half years on chemotherapy treatments.
Mosoronchon says it was around the time of her husband’s death that her sons started pushing back. Starting to experiment with marijuana, Sean, her youngest, found it hard to cope with the loss of his father on top of managing teenage pressures.
“He thought junior high was cool and he had friends, but he wasn't without emotional problems. He had a teacher that phoned me, that would say that Sean would break down in class and start crying,” says Mosoronchon.
It wasn’t until his senior year when Sean started partying more. That’s when Mosoronchon noticed her son was harboring more struggles than she knew. For the next few years, he battled with substance abuse and addiction.
She tried to help her son push through doctors appointments, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and rehabilitation programs. However, after coming out of rehab, Sean had stumbles and setbacks.
“It's a really tough thing, the addiction cycle,” says Mosoronchon.
Things started to look up for Sean when he got a new job with a roofing company in 2018. He was going to meetings and he started working out again.
Sophie Mosorochon, Sean’s older sister, remembers coming home to Calgary and spending time with her brother as he was on the road of recovery.
“The last Christmas I saw him, he was on the mend, and so we kind of went back to our classic banter. I felt like I was hanging out with the Sean I used to know.”
However, Sean still seemed to be struggling with unhealthy relationships from his past. He reached out to his mother for help, and only a couple of days before the two were going to meet, he overdosed. He was 21.
“It was just a real shock because he was really doing well… It wasn't like he was in the depths of using, I think it was a real, honest accident,” says Mosoronchon.
Liam Mosoronchon, Sean’s older brother, was in complete disbelief when he first got the phone call about his brother’s passing.
“I thought maybe he was just in the hospital. I just made up a fake scenario, just to maybe comfort me in a way.”
Through her losses, Mosoronchon has learned the passing of loved ones can be a rollercoaster of emotions, and getting through the pain is never an easy journey.
“It's really hard. It hurts, this pain, and I don't know how to deal with it sometimes… I was very sad losing [Robert], don't get me wrong, and I loved him, but it was a drop in the bucket to losing your child, really.”
Mosoronchon’s other two children live in Edmonton, which makes leaning on each other for support during this time difficult. However, the family has made a vow to be there for one another.
“I call [my mom] at least four times a week, just to check in because she’s so far away. We try to go visit her every chance we get. It’s just made it more imperative that we be there for our family I think,” says daughter Sophie.
Mosoronchon tries to keep herself busy with friends, meditation and walks in the park with her dog, but the pain from losing her son is still there.
“He was our funny one, he made us laugh, and just tr[ied] to make us think… He'd get up in the morning with a smile and ready to go. He was just a positive kid.”
Starting a grief group for those who have also lost children, Mosoronchon hopes she can move forward with others. She also hopes that by sharing Sean’s story a conversation can be had to help improve the rehabilitation process for youth and young adults battling addiction.
“I feel like there needs to be more community support around sobriety,” she says. “With rehabs, once you get out, you're out; now you have to face real life again.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse please contact Calgary Youth Addiction Services at 1-403-297-4664 or Calgary Adult Addiction Services at 1-403-297-3071.
- By Charlotte Holmes