BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - After losing her son to a drug overdose, a Baton Rouge mother is determined to help other families through their pain.
The latest stop in Gwen Knox’s journey is Black Torch Tattoo.
“I never thought I would get a tattoo, but I do this in Brian’s honor,” Knox said shortly after getting inked for the first (and probably last) time.
It has been four years since her son died. His battle with heroin addiction caught up with him. It’s still catching up with Gwen, especially on what’s commonly called the “deathiversary.”
“Whenever the date was approaching, I was feeling really stressed and tensed,” Knox explained.
This year, she’s healing that emotional pain through a bit of physical pain, but not everyone takes the same route.
“Find something that your loved one loved doing and celebrate that,” Knox suggested.
In 2019, she fried up beignets like her son used to make. In 2021, she plans to hit up a cigar bar with Brian’s friends.
“It’ll take your mind off the loss and bring in some joy to that day that can be really, really stressful,” Knox said. “You can make a decision to celebrate the loss of your loved one.”
Knox has launched several support groups in Baton Rouge, and she recently became certified in grief recovery. She’s about to start a company called Brian’s Gift to help more people cope with loss.
“There are over 40 different things in life that we lose that we grieve, and we think it’s only death, but it’s divorce, it’s bankruptcy,” Knox said.
Her infectious personality lends itself to her newfound calling.
“I just hope that people are able to just grab onto my energy and my ability to move forward. You never want to lose a child,” she said.
For the first time since he passed, Knox says Brian’s latest “deathiversary” felt like any other day. That’s a big victory in the long process of grief recovery. If you or someone you know needs grief counseling, here’s a list of resources provided by the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center:
Grief Recovery Center
- 4939 Jamestown Ave., Suite 101
Hope for Life Recovery Center
- 2274 Wooddale Blvd.
Hospice of Baton Rouge
- 9063 Siegen Ln., Suite A
Dignity Memorial/Greenoaks Funeral Home
- 9595 Florida Blvd.
Survivors of Suicide (BRCIC)
- 4837 Revere Ave.
St. Joseph Hospice
- 10615 Jefferson Hwy.
Restoring Hearts Outreach Center
- 1821 Wooddale Ct., Suite 210
RLM Adolescent Bereavement Services (bereaved child support group)
- 641 E Airport Ave., Suite B
Compassionate Friends (bereaved parent support group)
- 2012 Tara Blvd.
Pregnancy Infant/Loss Support Group
- 9637 Jefferson Hwy.
Sarah’s Laughter (infant loss bereavement)
- 646 N Foster Dr.
GOAL (Going On After Loss)
- 5131 Greenwell Springs Rd.