"Our family is very, very close, and the strength comes from the love from the rest of us," Etheridge, 59, shared with hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. "I'm not alone in this nation of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction. It was a long journey."
Etheridge's 21-year-old son died in May after a fatal overdose amid a years-long struggle with opioid addiction.
According to Etheridge, there is "a small amount of peace knowing he's not in pain anymore," but she said she and her family still feel his absence.
"Of course we miss him, but my wife and my three other children, we come together and we know he's here in spirit," she shared, adding that they are just taking the healing process "one day at a time."
Etheridge also addressed the "epidemic" of opioid addiction in America, and her efforts to combat it, which include starting The Etheridge Foundation, which raises money for research into the causes of opioid addiction and awareness of the widespread problem.
"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," she explained. "We really want to move to the forefront of things that can help."
.@metheridge talks about how she is coping with grief after the death of her son to opioid addiction. She talks about starting The Etheridge Foundation to research effects of opioid addiction and find alternatives to prescribing addictive pharmaceuticals to treat pain. pic.twitter.com/6AywV9YV3P
"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 said back in August. "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 continued. "But I had to be able to go on living. Of course it’s nothing a parent ever wants."
While Etheridge admitted that "there will always be" a part of her that wonders what she could've done differently, she said 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 shared.