Danny and I were together for over 7 years. I met him when I was 13 years old. We were together in middle school for a month, in high school for over a year, and again after high school for 6 years. Danny was a very kind and compassionate person. He was hilariously funny. He loved skateboarding. He was creative and artistic. He loved music and watching movies. He loved ALL animals. He was laid back and he had a lot of friends. We broke up five years ago, not because we didn't love each other, but because Danny couldn't stop doing drugs and stay clean. When we got back together after high school in 1998, Danny always wanted to party and “dabble” with whatever he could get his hands on. It could be Cocaine, Ecstasy, Meth, or Pills. It didn't matter what it was, if he could get it, he would do it. After about a year and a half, we moved in together into a townhouse we rented from my parents. At this point, Danny was taking prescription painkillers. We had a joint bank account and he would withdraw money from our account to buy them. When I caught on I took his ATM card away so he couldn't do that anymore and at that point he would just talk me in to giving him money. I was his enabler. I couldn't tell him no. He got to the point where he needed more and more painkillers to get high. On December 1, 2000, Danny called me at work to tell me that he was worried about his brother Billy because he had been over at his house the night before and Billy had shot heroin and had passed out, but that they were able to wake him up. He had not heard from him all day so he was going to check on him. A few minutes later he called back to say that Billy was unconscious and being rushed to the hospital where he spent the next week in a coma. On December 7th, the Dr's told us that he had no brain activity and that there wasn't much hope, so we took him off of life support and he died shortly thereafter. Danny was devastated and felt responsible for Billy's death because he was there the night he shot the Heroin that killed him. He never forgave himself. I don't know if Danny was already shooting Heroin at that point but it wasn't long after that I started noticing bruises on Danny's arm from where he was tying off to shoot up. He was also lying to me and making up excuses about coming home late from work. When he would finally get home, he would nod out. I knew at this point that he was doing Heroin, but I was in denial. It took me a while to actually believe it. Over the next two years, I gave Danny 1000 ultimatums to quit or that it was over. I know he really wanted to stop, but Heroin takes over your mind and body and he couldn't do it on his own. During this time he started going to a Methadone clinic and went to counseling, but neither were helping. We were thousands of dollars in debt because he was using so much of our money on drugs, he couldn't keep a job, and so we used our credit cards to live on. I hadn't paid my parents rent in 6 months. I had been lying to them and telling them that Danny had gotten laid off. It finally got to the point where all of our credit cards were maxed out, we didn't have any money, and Danny wasn't getting any better, so I put him in rehab. While he was in rehab, I packed up our entire townhouse, and we both moved back in with our parents. I was so hopeful when Danny got out of rehab. He was optimistic and seemed like he was really going to be ok, and I was so happy. Then one night when he was supposed to be at an outpatient rehab meeting, I saw him at the gas station. I went over to him at the pump and asked him what he was doing and why he wasn't at his meeting. He looked at me like I was a stranger. He was so messed up that he couldn't even recognize me. As the months went on I began to separate myself from Danny because I had tried everything, and I had been taking care of him for so long and not taking care of myself. He was going down and he was taking me with him, so I had to let him go. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do because I loved him so much and I was terrified that he would die or kill himself. After we broke up, I always kept in touch with Danny. I honestly thought he was doing better too. He was really good at making people believe that everything was ok. And, I wanted to believe that everything was ok. Denial is such a powerful thing. In August of 2007, I saw him at his brother David's wedding and he was clean (if only for that day)! I was so happy to see him clean, and we had the best time at the wedding. That was the last time I saw Danny alive. On the night of July 4th he went to sleep on his friends couch. She said he was snoring at 12:30 when she went to bed. The next morning he was dead. On July 5, 2008, When Danny's sister in law Alison called me to tell me that he was dead; I started screaming the shrillest scream that you could ever imagine. I was completely hysterical. The next few days seemed completely surreal. I was in a complete daze. How could this be? How could life really be this cruel? When your biggest fear comes true, it is horrifying. I am still horrified. My heart was broken that day and I will never be the same. It has been almost a year now and every day I rack my brain wondering how this could be true? Am I living in some nightmare? Drugs took away all of our hopes and dreams. I know that if Danny had not been taken over by drugs that we would have gotten married. They say that love conquers all. I think that is a joke. Love cannot conquer drugs. I am angry that drugs took him away. He was mine! After waiting and wondering for 9 weeks his autopsy revealed that he had Fentanyl, Valium, Cocaine, and PCP in his system. The medical examiner said that it was most likely the mixture of the Fentanyl and Valium that killed him. Danny was always pushing the envelope with his drug use, and this time he pushed it too far. They say God doesn't give you more than you can handle. I feel like God separated me and Danny because if we had still been together at the time of his death I couldn't have handled it. I can barely handle it now. I can't believe that I have to live the rest of my life without ever getting to talk to him or see him again. It's so easy to take the people you love for granted and expect that they are always going to be there. So if nothing else, I have learned a few lessons from Danny. 1. Don't take people for granted. They might not always be there.2. Watch what you say to people you care about because you can't take things back once they are said.3. Don't put people you care about on the back burner. If you care about someone and want to spend time withthem,make the time to see them. I wanted to share Danny's story so that he is not forgotten. He was a good person and he didn't deserve to die alone on someone's couch. The only thing that brings me any kind of comfort is knowing that Danny isn't suffering anymore. He isn't being tortured every day with that monkey on his back, he isn't in pain, and he no longer has to struggle. Rest in Peace Danny 4/26/77 - 7/5/08 I love you punky and I will love you until the day I die. If tears could build a stairway and memories were a lane I'd walk right up to heaven And bring you back again No farewell words were spoken No time to say goodbye You were gone before I knew it And only God knows why My heart still aches in sadness and secret tears still flow What it meant to lose you No one will ever know But now I know you want me To mourn for you no more To remember all the happy times Life still has much in store Since you'll never be forgotten I pledge to you today A cherished place within my heart Is where you'll always stay.
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