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Judy Kelly

Judy Kelly, mother of three adult children, lost her youngest son Geoffrey at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Judy attends as many grief support groups as her full time library position allows. Building relationships with other grieving family members and finding ways to honor Geoffrey’s memory is how she is finding ways to cope and survive her tragedy.

A Mother’s Story of Loss and Peer Support


Losing my 28 year old son Geoffrey to Substance Use Disorder at the beginning of the pandemic was a heart wrenching and turbulent experience that is still difficult to bear six months later. I didn’t think I could possibly survive the devastation and heartache I felt the day my husband found our son -- deceased.


My greatest need initially was to enter a church and say a prayer for Geoffrey, but (because of COVID) -- the best I could manage was to enter an empty one and say a rosary with my siblings. There could be no service at the funeral home or at our church, so we made arrangements for one at the cemetery, since that was our only option. We then had to wait an additional week for Geoffrey’s burial because our daughter needed to quarantine per travel requirements from California. Our extended family was very supportive during this time, keeping in touch by phone and visiting once during the next week. We all attempted to do our best with the social distancing recommendations. 


The maximum number of people allowed at the service was limited so there was not much planning to do. We chose a few songs for the vocalist and guitarist to perform during the ceremony. We were surprised and touched by the presence of our local Learn to Cope support group who stayed at a safe distance away but wanted to be there to support us.


Valentine message to our son GeoffreyGeoff’s mom heart shaped hammered necklace
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