Not quite a year ago ‘that call’ came in. Our daughter was gone – more than 24 hours had transpired before her discovery. Her Uncle found her after learning she had failed to show for work two nights in a row and neither he nor her employer could reach her.
They were concerned because this was entirely out of character for her. Her uncle had a pretty good idea, unfortunately, of what he would find when he got there.
She had moved away, out of state, to start over again and to get away from the people, places, and contacts here.
Of course, neither of us was ignorant of the fact that what she was trying to leave behind was everywhere. It had already re-wired her brain into believing she couldn’t be without, so it didn’t matter how far she went if she didn’t fight with everything within her and avoid it like the plague…
She had been to rehab and had her 12 – step book. She refused to go to meetings because she said it made her want it more. She also had anti-abuse meds.
I was so proud of her – she had recognized she had a problem and sought help, was trying to remain sober and get her self and her life together.
When I began to sense she didn’t sound quite right, I decided that we would make sure she got some help. I didn’t like her seeming so down. It terrified me that she would fall off the wagon and go right back to what she had been doing because she would give up trying.
I learned that part of finding a new Doctor meant having to cover what her problems were. She could get meds for anxiety, depression, and mood stability, but only if the addiction was unknown at the time.
And likewise, she could get the addiction meds but not if they were aware of the other mental health issues.
This is a reason for addicts to stay with one Doctor who is mindful of their history but can be a significant issue if they move beyond state borders. Only a few months previous to “that” call we had been to visit with her.
She was doing well, had a LOT of anti-abuse medicine on hand (it was gone when I cleaned out her room, and packed up all of her belongings for donation).
We made sure she was treated for her depression. I was aware she had slipped once or twice but advised that she didn’t want to do that – she hadn’t fought so hard for so many months only to go back to it.
The night I received the call, I asked only two questions: “Is she dead?” and “Was it an overdose?”
I left work, went home, and packed, and met my husband at her brother’s house. When the question came up about what we were going to do, and if we were going to leave to go down the following day, I stated I was leaving the minute I walked out the door.
I explained I was going down there and retrieve my daughter and bring her home. They insisted we fly instead.
When we arrived, I immediately sorted her belongings and packed them up until we were able to see her. Once we were able to locate her, we were told we would need to contact the funeral home.
It was suggested we wait until after the autopsy to view her so she would be cleaned up a little. Finally, we were able to meet with the funeral home regarding transporting her home.
They also arranged for us to view her. This first viewing is what sticks out in my mind the most. I walked in to see my child in a cheap, thin, flimsy looking, plywood shipping crate with a blue sheet draped around her.
Because of the position in which she died, she looked like she was covered in bruises and as if someone had beat the crap out of her.
Although I was able to decipher that on my own almost immediately, I quickly determined the number of things regarding her “condition” and handling.
All I wanted was to hold her one more time, but the depth of the box made that an impossibility. I felt angry and thought that this was so wrong.
No parent should ever have to see their child like this. To know that as soon as we left, they would place a cover over her and seal it and prepare her for transport was hell.
It made me want to stay there with her, so she wasn’t alone and closed up in a box.
Somewhere during that time, it occurred to me that at least we didn’t have to worry ever again about getting ‘that call’ anymore because we had already gotten it.
It was over.
She was finally at peace.
For the first time in her life, she was not fighting; she would never again be ill, in pain, fighting for her health and her life. And I thought I was good with that.
I had been blessed to share her with God, but it was time to give her back. I was honored to have had 25 years with her.
All I wanted was to respect and honor her and what she would have wished and refused to behave as she would not have wanted.
I was so tired by the time it was over, hearing how strong I was, that I was a rock. I was holding everyone else together and taking care of them in their grief.
Before the year was out, I had decided I was tired of being a rock. I wanted to be a pebble. Rocks stand-alone; pebbles need other pebbles to surround them. That’s what I wanted for a while. To not be alone in my strength but to let loose of it for a while and be with other “pebbles.”
By the time we were able to bring her home and make final arrangements the next morning, it had already been a week. It was the day before Thanksgiving.
The day following the holiday we said our final goodbyes. I left her with a couple of roses in her hand and petals sprinkled over her. And it is that which I try to recall if I have to recall it at all.
I prefer, however, to remember her full of life and as the young lady I remember.
The entire thing has been a real experience, an eye-opener, and an education – one I could well have done without ever having had to learn about.
I discovered that drugs while always a danger were like playing Russian Roulette today. That it does not matter what someone is addicted to or taking recreationally. The chances they were seeking to do that was putting their lives at risk exponentially.
Pretty much everything that is created and sold illicitly is highly likely to contain Fentanyl (in street form). It is rarely done safely. It is usually in uneven amounts and not well mixed.
Some may contain little or none while the rest contains high amounts. It takes very little Fentanyl actually to be lethal, and unlike other illicit drugs, it goes straight to the brain.
All too often an overdose is actually due to Fentanyl toxicity rather than the actual product the user has taken, and they may never have a clue the Fentanyl is even there.
Fentanyl is utilized to enhance the high of other drugs – it also increases the chances of death.
We no longer have to worry about receiving ‘that call’ – I can only hope none of you will ever receive it.