Saturday, 24 January 2015

Anthony's Act: A Loving Tribute

I received an email yesterday from Valerie Fiore, a mother who lost her son to addiction. So heartbreaking! She was wondering if I would write a poem about her son, Anthony. Gulp! My poetry comes from a deep place in my heart because it is about my son and my experience as a parent. I’ve never tried to write about someone else, a stranger, although I know that many of our journeys are very similar. I didn't want to let her down or promise something that I couldn't deliver. I said that I would try and, hopefully, something would come to me.

Valerie sent me some information about Anthony, and it touched my heart. We were off to a good start! I downloaded a photo of him and put it in my Word document for inspiration. He was so beautiful, just like all of our kids. I prayed last night for the words that would properly capture this young man’s essence and his life’s journey. I sat down today to write and the words came to me and so did the tears. I am so grateful and relieved that I was able to give this to her.

Please read the poem (written from Valerie to Anthony), then sign the petition and share with your friends. Together, we can make a difference.

Anthony’s Act

A beautiful blessing, my dark-haired boy
Sent from above, full of love and joy.

The years passed quickly, with my little cub scout
A very bright boy, never going without.

Vacations filled with laughter, and lots of plans
Lazy days at the beach, on Florida’s white sands.

A normal childhood, in a loving home
This was Anthony’s life, before he began to roam.

He reached that age, where independence is sought
Looking for acceptance, but it would be hard fought.

Bullies and rejection, took the joy from his heart
No longer feeling worthy, he began to fall apart.

Keeping the pain to himself, he did the best he could
To find a place to belong, but the situation wasn’t good.

Slipping further away, our boy became distant
His drug use escalated, in what seemed like an instant.

He made it to college, where things became worse
Pills became a memory, with the heroin curse.

Hearing this news, we picked up our son
Badly needing treatment, if this battle was to be won.

Ninety days of inpatient, gives them the best chance
But, insurance doesn’t cover this; it is a life and death dance.

The short-term stays were not enough, our boy needed longer
Recovery homes in unhealthy areas, made the cravings stronger.

We fought all we could, and begged and pleaded
Please keep our boy, give him what is needed.

After a tough six year battle, he began to heal
For eight wonderful months, it hardly seemed real.

Laughing again, and calling me mudder
Spending time with Nick, his beloved little brother.

A new job and car, and cooking meals for his pack
So thankful to God, I cried, “I got my Anthony back”.

We began to feel hopeful, that this time he may have made it
But hope turned to despair, when I found him in our basement.

Good-bye our dear Anthony, you are loved beyond words
I miss your beautiful smile, and your laughter, now unheard.

Your life had meaning, you didn’t die in vain
In your memory we fight, to save others from this pain.

We made a promise to you, son; a solid pact
That we would make a difference, through the Anthony’s Act.

We will not let one more suffer, as companies earn high profits
In your name, we stand, as we try to stop it.

Written by: Rose Barbour in memory of Anthony and all those who’ve been lost to this terrible epidemic and those still in the trenches. Things need to change. Please sign the petition


  1. so heart breaking but so heart warming this beautiful tribute to this youn man ...the journey of child loss is one of the hardest things in life to deal with lost my precious grandson 15 yrs old to tragic accident 4 yrs ago .the day your child dies part of you dies with them only learn to cope each day ..

    1. I am so very sorry for your loss. I could NOT imagine losing a child or grandchild. God bless you.

  2. Rose, this is so sad. All that hope and love , but now maybe he can rest as he could not in his life here. I hope his family can find the strength to over come this huge loss in their lives and know that he is really in a better place and smiling down on them . Your poetry makes me cry and very thankful to have the chance to read it and share with my recovering daughter.

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Yes, this is truly a tragic story. It is an unimaginable loss! I love that they are trying to make sure that no other family suffers with a lack of treatment options. That is so important. I'm very happy to hear that your daughter is in recovery. What a gift! My son is also 15 months in recovery and we are so incredibly grateful!


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