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Kerry J. Bickford


Kerry Bickford,  editor of SADOD VOICES newsletter co-facilitates two groups (Nathan's Circle and Consoling Partners) on Cape Cod. Her son, Nathan, died in August of 2018 and her work is dedicated to his memory and the memory of all others lost to substance use disorder.

Remember Me


Sally Ponzio was driving to Florida in 2017 when her son, Travis, began talking to her about the disease of addiction and how he wanted her to write a song. Sally was puzzled because, although Travis loved music, she could not sing or read a note herself.  When he persisted,  Sally pulled over to the side of the road to capture his words, which came tumbling out faster than she could write them. This was even more puzzling since Travis had died of an overdose six months earlier.



I started writing the words that you were saying

On a napkin in my car

I had to pull over, I’ll never get over

Now that you’re gone

You said I’m alive in your broken heart

Let my love lift you, you can start a new start


Travis Ponzio was a bright, sensitive child. His mother says talking to him was like “playing a chess game.” He always seemed to have a plan, a strategy, but she embraced his individuality, and they shared a deep and loving relationship. 

Mourning Dove


High above the chatter of birds

The wailing of a mourning dove


Mouth closed; chest puffed

Coo- coo coo coo

It haunts the sleepy morning


Something deep within me stirs

A sadness that cannot be spoken

A silent, painful moaning

Mouth closed, hand over my heart

I reverently listen


Sometimes there are no words

As the waves crash

And wind blows 

And the ancient carriers of secrets

Console me with their songs

Of love.


Mother's Day


It was the Friday before Mother’s Day weekend and I was getting ready to leave work. My cell phone rang, and I glanced at a number I didn’t recognize, but my instinct was to pick up. 


“Hi,” said a quiet, familiar voice and my heart did a little pirouette.

“Nathan! “I shouted into the phone. “Is that you?”

The response on the other end was a delighted giggle.

“Yup,” he said, “they let me out!”


Nathan, our youngest son, had been struggling with addiction. Each recovery was eventually followed by a relapse, and the last one had been particularly excruciating. While he was still on medication assisted therapy, he had been using methamphetamines and had recently undergone emergency surgery for an infection in his heart. We filed a section 35 in a desperate attempt to save his life. The angry, sullen, agitated person we had been so worried about when we sectioned him seemed to be replaced by this jubilant and sober one. I was relieved.


“So, what’s the plan?” I asked.

“I want to come home,” was his immediate response.

Candlelight blessing-overdose awareness



Darkness prevails
In the early hours of grief
Much like the night sky
When the moon is new
And our hearts
A cavern of despair.

As time passes
And sorrow remains
Slivers of light
Appear like stars
And for a moment
We imagine our loved ones
Faces in the sky

The moon waxes on
And so do we
Whether we want to
Or not
And we remember the days
When moonbeams
Shone softly
On their pillows.

Then one luminous night
We are blinded
But not fooled
By the light
For soon it will wane
Into darkness
But take heart:
Love, like the moon
Is always there
Even when we cannot see it.

Love Lives


love lives
between the pages in my calendar
and the holes in my heart
It lives in your painted handprint
on a shingle
and words you left behind
to remind me you were here
it lives between the sunrise
and sunset
and everywhere in between
It lives



Someone once said
Draw what grief feels like
So, I thought for a while
And closed my eyes
And drew a heart
With a giant crack
A gaping wound
Surely no one can survive such a wound
Yet there it was
I was still breathing
and my heart
Still beating.
Slowly I began to grow around it
Imagined cradling it in my hands
And the beat of your heart
In a place deep inside me
Where once you were safe.
And where nothing and no one
Can ever take you away again.

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