By Denise Crosby
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Three Chicagoland mothers have formed a support group for those who have lost a loved one to addiction. The first “Gone Too Soon” meeting was held earlier this month.
FOX VALLEY, Ill.
It was not all that long ago Sandy Fink, Karen Gonzalez and Robin Dale were among the hundreds of other parents in the Fox Valley struggling to understand their children’s opioid addictions.
Middle-class, loving and involved mothers, they met faithfully once a week in a well-attended support group in Naperville with dozens of others struggling to stay afloat in that same lifeboat: keeping their children alive while working to get themselves and the rest of their families as healthy as possible.
Then in 2017, one after the other, their sons overdosed and died.
Spencer Fink, who went to Neuqua Valley High School, was found dead in January in the bathroom of a halfway house in Florida, from an overdose of a heroin/fentanyl mix, his mother said. He was 26 and in his last year of law school.
Bryan Gonzalez, a 29-year-old Columbia College grad and well-established musician and sound engineer, was found dead in June, also from fentanyl and heroin, in an abandoned garage in Chicago, his mother said. It was his third and final relapse after almost a year of sobriety.
Matthew Dale, an Oswego High School grad who became a union pipefitter, lost his life at age 26 a couple weeks before Christmas inside a car in Arizona, where he’d started life anew after being clean for almost two and a half years. His mother only found out recently the official cause of death was an accidental overdose from heroin.
One by one, in six-month intervals, all three of their mothers became graduates of a support group that no longer seemed relevant. Just like that, all the issues that were so monumental to them and the other parents, worrying their kid may not come home at night, for example, seemed sadly inconsequential.