"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," she says. "He was a young adult. 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.'"
"I had to come up against the possibility that he might die," Etheridge continues. "But I had to be able to go on living. 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."
While Etheridge admitted that "there will always be" a part of her that wonders what she could've done differently, she knows that guilt "doesn't serve" her anymore.
"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," she says.
Now Etheridge is focused on living her life "with as much joy" as she can.
"Life is also contrast. Life is also up and down. I’ve lived enough of it now to know. And you can’t lay down. You can’t be shattered. You can’t die and give up," she says. "You know, that’s what my son did. It’s to be lived. It’s to learn. I still struggle with it, but that’s what I can say."
Through the dark times and amid her quest for joy, Etheridge, along with her wife, Linda Wallem, has turned to music, which she streams on Etheridge TV.
"The thing that makes life make sense has always been my music," she says. "I started with, 'What is that appropriate? How I get in front of people when, they know what I’m going through?'… [But] it gives us something to do every day [and] get through this time. It’s really just saved us."