On January 26, 2010, my sister Kristine Polastre passed away due to alcohol poisoning. It was (and always will be) the darkest day of my family and my entire life. She had just gotten back to Okinawa, Japan from her deployment in Afghanistan. We were relieved and thought that she would finally be safe. We never realized that we were farther from the truth. When we first lost Kristine, I was numb. My mind wasn't there, except trying to ensure that Kristine had the perfect passing from this world. In the weeks to come, the numbness went away, and inconsolable grief took its place. Even now, I still cry every day for her. She loved her family so much, and did anything for us. Kristine was one of a kind. Her magical smile would light up any room. She was an old soul in a young woman's body. The world was a mesmerizing place that she couldn't get enough of it. We tried so hard to protect her from any pain and sorrow. She was the light in our eye. Kristine loved helping others. When she was in the Air Force, she volunteered as an Honor Guard, and would go in the rain, heat, snow to help honor AirMen after they passed away. When it was her turn, I was glad that the Air Force Honor Guard showed her the same respect. She volunteered driving people to their medical appoints, and even to be a mentor to troubled teenage girls. I admired her so much for how much she tried to help everyone. When my sister returned from Afghanistan in November, she was different. I saw it in her eyes. They were lifeless, and I felt this fear creep up inside. I was only able to be one night before she had to return to Japan. The last time that I would ever see her alive. She had endured war to have her leave denied, so she couldn't be with her family, which is what she needed. When she returned to Japan, her Commander forgot to pick her up at the airport, so she felt abandoned. It didn't help that there was no one that she knew from before she was deployed there on base. The last time we spoke, Kristine admitted that a fellow Airman who picked her from the airport sexually took advantage of her. This made her fall further into a hole. Her only escape was alcohol. She drank and drank. It was what I feared the most because I knew that she could one day not wake up, and my worst fear came true. Kristine tried to not drink, but whenever she felt as though she could finally stop, something happened to knock her back down. One day, she just drank and drank to no longer wake up again. I started Stop Alcohol Deaths, Inc. (S.A.D., Inc.), a non-profit organization bringing awareness to alcohol poisoning, so that no family has to endure the pain that we are going through now. If we can spare a family this grief, then we feel we are doing what we set out to do. We love Kristine so much, and all we can do is honor her memory.
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