Eight months after the death of 21-year-old son Beckett Cypher from an opioid overdose, "it feels like two weeks," Melissa Etheridge says. "I miss him. It's something that you have to grow with every day." In an interview with People, the singer discusses Beckett's battle with addiction, which started when he was 17. He broke his ankle while training to be a pro snowboarder and then became hooked on the pain medication. The injury "gave him a whole lot of pain. It kept him from being a professional snowboarder," Etheridge says. "He was on that path, and he got lost then—because if he wasn't going to do that, what was he going to do?" She says she got him into treatment for the painkiller addiction, but he left when he was 18 and started using heroin and fentanyl.
Etheridge says addiction turned her son into someone she didn't know—angry, dishonest, and paranoid. She says the years of addiction made her feel "helpless." "When you have a loved one who is battling opioid addiction, it's horrific. You don't know what to do," says Etheridge. She says she is refusing to blame herself for his death. "I could only do so much," she says. "You constantly think, 'If I had only done this, had I only done that.' That doesn't help you. That's making yourself sick with guilt and shame." The singer, who founded the Etheridge Foundation in June to research opioid addiction, says she hopes opening up about Beckett's death will help other families. " It's a nightmare so many families go through," she says, "and it just eats away at good people." (Read more Melissa Etheridge stories.)