The day my older sister died, my heart died with her. On December 3, 2006 my older sister Ashley died of a heroin overdose, four miles away from my apartment. Her ongoing battle with this horrible drug finally came to rest, heroin had won. Ashley had battled with the disease of addiction since the age of 14; she turned 21 a month before she died. Ashley's drug use started like any other teen experimenting with friends during high school. My grandma had died of cancer a year before and Ashley took her death very hard. She was having trouble with her friendships and decided to transfer to the high school next to the town we lived in. She wanted to start over. There she met a new boyfriend. Together they started to experiment with various drugs. Coke, LSD, E, Weed, Acid, the list goes on. I can't even think of the drugs she took. When I was younger we had a conversation about the drugs she tried, she listed about 15-20. I was amazed. That day I swore I would never try any drugs because of her experience. Ashley was your typical smart, outgoing, beautiful, understanding, loving teenager. She had so much potential. Out of the four of us (my older sister, and younger brother) she was always the smartest. She received all A's in school, and had a promising future. We grew up in a small town in Michigan, about an hour south of Detroit. My family had always been close; our relationship with our parents was great. We had trust, openness and overall we were happy. My parents never questioned our social activities because we were always honest, or so I thought. I remember when Ashley was a senior in high school (I was a sophomore) she lost so much weight. She lied and told us it was because she was sick, but really she was doing coke heavily which caused dramatic weight loss. The lies, manipulation, stealing and constant problems started to begin. Her heroin addiction had official began. I can give my sister all the credit in the world, she was a damn good liar, and she fooled everyone. Slowly but surely money started to come up missing. Ashley swore it was never her. My older sister's necklaces, expensive purses, and electronics started to disappear; Ashley swore again it wasn't her. She had everyone fooled. She could manipulate anyone, and she had become a pro. Ashley denied, denied, denied over and over again that she didn't do drugs; she claimed that was in the past, she was better than that. But things just weren't adding up. She was changing and we could all tell. In the fall of 2005 I left for college at Western Michigan University, Ashley transferred from Eastern to attend too. After a week at school she withdrew from all her classes, she said she just didn't like it there (she later admitted it was because of her drug problem). But I remember one day talking to my mom and she was crying, talking about how someone had stolen $300 from her. I knew it was Ashley. My mom is the type of person that doesn't want to see any evil in her children, so she will try to rationalize the situation. I believe self-consciously she knew Ashley took it, but she tried to make herself believe it was stolen by someone else. I remember being so angry because I couldn't believe Ashley would steal that much money from my mom, and I knew I was going to confront her about it. Coming home from school that weekend, Ashley demanded money I owed her. I told her she wasn't getting anything from me because I knew she took my moms money. She ran out to my car to try to take the money from my purse and we got into a fight. My mom tried to stop us and I punched her in the eye. I couldn't believe our relationship came to this; I was so angry and hurt that I physically fought my own sister. I knew then she really had a problem, and I was mad. I questioned so much, she was so smart. Why? Drugs aren't supposed to affect my family, this wasn't supposed to happen to anyone I knew, I hated even thinking about it. Over the next couple of months Ashley continued to deny she had a problem, she had trouble sticking to school and she started and quit about ten jobs. She was falling apart and we could all tell. She had decided to move out to Arizona where my grandma lived to try to start something new. While out in Arizona, Ashley started to experiment with meth and she was doing it heavily. In April of 2006, when Ashley was visiting for Easter, she decided she wanted to move back with our family. My parents bought her a plane ticket to pick up all her stuff and move back. My mom was nervous the whole time she was out there; she just knew something was wrong and kept saying Ashley wouldn't make her flight back home. She was right, Ashley missed her flight and there was no word of her. While out in Arizona, Ashley was doing meth the whole time and didn't sleep a minute. When she was high on meth she thought there was a conspiracy about her and she ate the meth she had left. She recalled thinking the cops were looking for her, so she threw most of her belongings away and was wandering around some hotel in Phoenix. She was picked up by the cops and her friends were called to pick her up. Her friend took her to the hospital and called my mom; my mom was on the next flight out to get her. When Ashley returned from Arizona she entered rehab for the first time, she finally admitted she had a problem and she wanted help. She went through detox and completed the program. Things were finally looking up. Ashley's whole insight was finally right. I had my sister back, I thought she beat it. Over the next couple of months Ashley was true to the recovery program. She started to become the Ashley I knew and loved. She was getting her life together and my family was finally complete again. This lasted for a short period of time. Things were starting to get hard again; the cravings had taken over. Ashley relapsed in September. She was so ashamed and wanted to go back to rehab, but insurance wouldn't pay for it; so she stuck to the program and continued to go to meetings. She wanted to get better, she fought so hard. Ashley had always talked about how she was proud that she never sold her body or shot drugs up. She opened up more about her drug use and explained a lot of her thoughts and experiences with us. That soon changed too. In October, while down in Detroit at a crack house, she met a guy she knew from the town we lived in. He was known for being a drug user all over town. She befriended him; and in return he introduced her to shooting up. From that point on Ashley's life was a downward slope. Heroin was starting to take over. Ashley overdosed for the first time a couple days later in front of my parents, little brother and younger cousins. She passed out right in front of my brother; he picked her up, threw her in the car and rushed her to the emergency room. Her heart stopped twice that night, but they revived her. She was now sick enough to enter back into rehab; she stayed only a couple of days. Ashley had the choice to stay in a ¾ house. She lived in one before and didn't want to go back, so after she got out of rehab she decided home would be the best place. Over the next couple of months it started to get too hard. She made the decision to go to the ¾ house to live and try to get her life back. She was supposed to go on December 4th. On Sunday December 3, 2006, my sister lied to my mom and told her she was going to see her boyfriend in Toledo before she went to Port Huron to live. She asked my mom for $20 for gas. She left our house around 3 that afternoon and said she'd be back later. At 5:00 pm, two police officers came to my parent's door and told them my sister had been rushed to a hospital in Detroit and they had to come up there. I was sleeping at my apartment in Detroit on the campus where I attend college. At around 6:00 pm, my oldest sister called me and said there was something wrong with Ashley and she was at the Henry Ford hospital. This horrible feeling swept through my body. I immediately threw on my coat and ran out the door, crying trying to get there as fast as I could. The whole time I was in the car I remember praying to God to “please just don't let her be dead.” I repeated it the whole time I drove there. When I got to the hospital I ran to the emergency room and asked where my sister was. I was panicking. I asked if she was dead and they told me they didn't know (I knew they knew but didn't want to tell me.) I was lead into this room where my parents were sitting with a detective and a counselor, they all just stared at me when I walked into the room. I knew it, she was dead, I was dreaming. I can't even explain the feelings that I felt when I walked into that room. My life had ended at that moment, and I knew nothing would be the same. Next we were lead into the next room where my sister was lying on a stretcher with a sheet covering her body, it was so unreal and I had to keep telling myself this wasn't a nightmare. I will never forget that moment seeing her there lifeless, cold, gone. The police were called because a man had “spotted” her slumped over the steering wheel in her car. I know he was right beside her when she was doing the drugs. She was rushed to the hospital, DOA. Cause of death: drug overdose. My sister had a promising bright future. She had her whole life ahead of her, but she lost it all because of drugs. My relationship over the years with my sister suffered because of drugs; drugs have taken so much from me. I think about my sister every minute of every day and wish we could go back in time and do things differently. This wasn't supposed to be her ending, she was supposed to grow old with me, get married, become a mother, and become an aunt, live life. But it was all taken away, at age 21.For those who read this who are struggling with drug addiction, I can't say I know how hard it is to become sober but if you can't do it for yourself PLEASE do it for your family. Drugs not only took the life of my older sister, they took my life, my family's life. There are now 5 members of my family, there are supposed to be 6. My family will forever be incomplete. I question everything in my life, I question God, I struggle everyday. Drugs took so much, and I can never fix it as hard as I try. I am 20 years old. I lost my sister when I was 19. Life isn't supposed to be like this. I'm not supposed to feel the pain I feel everyday, and I hate it. I hate that I can't ever talk to my sister again. I hate that I can't ever see her beautiful face. I hate that one day I will forget the way she sounds and it scares me to death. I'm so scared my sister is going to be forgotten by the people who knew her, the thought haunts me everyday. So I write this in memory of my sister, Ashley Lynee' Faiman. She was a victim of a drug overdose. She is loved by many; she will continue to be in our hearts forever. I love you and miss you everyday Ashley…. RIP
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