My sister was one of the most kind, considerate, fun-loving, beautiful people I have ever had the honor of knowing and loving. She never turned her back on anyone in need and her family (which included her animals) loved her and was loved by her unconditionally. She grew up in a relatively small middle to upper class neighborhood in the suburbs. She loved playing with her animals and dressing them up like little baby dolls. She alwways aspired to be graceful and athletic, but her talents were in other areas, much to her dismay. She had a great sense of humor and loved to play tricks on me, her older sister by 9 years, and my boyfriends. She was the baby of the family and more than just a little spoiled by the attention she received and this may have been a contributor to the "I want what I want when I want it" way of life that led to her downfall. She first tried drugs when she was a pre-teen and our other sister and that sister's boyfriend where teenagers experimenting with marijuana. I didn't know it at the time but she later told me that it opened up a whole new world for her. She went on to experiment with everything from thc to prescription pain killers to cocaine and I'm not sure what else. She attempted suicide more than once and was in and out of rehab before she was an adult. She couldn't or wouldn't hold down a job and claimed she was "sick". Little did we know then just how sick! She had a child when she was 19and then developed a severe pelvic inflammatory disease which led to a hysterectomy in her early twenties. She became very hooked on the pain killers and whatever else she could find that would help her forget about the mistakes and missteps that had led to her health problems. She was distraught over the hysterectomy and the thought of never having any more children and just wanted to escape life. She then contracted Hepatitus (I don't know which one it was, but the life threatening life-long type) and had various surgeries and other medical procedures which exacerbated her drug problems. She would lie in bed for days on end and not bathe or comb her hair, where before she had been so fastidious about her appearance that she would take hours to seperate each and every eyelash, top and bottom, while getting ready to go out. If her hair or make-up wasn't "just right" she would often start all over again. I think her obsessive personality also played a big part in her addiction. As she drifted into heavier use, she started stealing from everyone, including family members, in order to feed her habit. There came a point in time where no one trusted her and didn't even feel comfortable having her around. I'm sure this was horrible for her as she was such a social person, but she would disappear for a minuteand then so would valuables. She became homeless and started living in a shed on my parents property. She sold family heirloom jewelry, coins and any thing else she could in order to buy drugs and this eventually led to her arrest. There wasn't any good option for treatment for the indigent at the time and since she knew she would test positive for drugs at her probation appointment she failed to show and a warrant was issued for her arrest. She fled the state and had to sneak back in to see her family and rarely came around, but would call and talk for hours on end while drinking more and more and becoming incoherent. It was a horrible time for us all. We missed her so much and couldn't even spend time with her at the holidays. She missed the birth of her one and only grandchild because of her fugitive status and became estranged from her daughter. Finally, enough years had gone by that she felt relatively safe in coming back to the state as long as she lived in another county than the one in which she was wanted. We saw her a few times, but she was always very nervous. By then, she had gained about a hundred pounds and lost many of her teeth. What was once a beautiful (and I mean drop dead gorgeous, beauty queen type beauty) woman now looked about 30 years older than her years. She was in and out of the hospital for her liver problems as a result of the hepatitus, but refused to quit drinking or drugging. Eventually it killed her at the age of 46 uears young. My sister was my first baby, my best friend, my confidant, my go to parties with girl and my favorite person in the whole world. I was and still am devastated by her passing and not a day goes by that I don't think of her and I often dream about her. My children were little at the time she was around and at her worst and this has also had a tremendous impact on them. Unfortunately, it was not always positive, even though we frequently talked about what drugs and alcohol had done to my sister's life and the impact her addiction had on all of us. I have learned that I come from an addictive heritage and have to be very cautious that I don't abuse alcohol or prescription drugs. I'd rather not partake at all, even when warranted, than go through, or put my family through, what happened to my lovely sister. I learned compassion for those facing this problem and the struggles they encouter and the aloneness and lack of adequate treatment. Things have improved but we still have a long way to go.
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