My life changed on September 8 2012. My daughter Kayela was struggling for a few years with drugs. At first I was dumb. Yeah, I say dumb because I knew so little and gave money out left and right. The first time she died, they brought her back and I thought—great this will really teach her and she will never touch drugs again. Dumb because I had internet and never even looked up drug abuse signs when to get help. I always trusted her words, “I’m okay momma. ” Well, she was not okay at all.
Once I decided she had an issue, I made her check into a local detox. She was there for three days. I thought again—great, she must be cured! Well not-so-easy… Her dying once did not phase her. The detox did not do anything but get her phone numbers from those who could hook her up. One night, I got a call saying she had been picked up by the police and arrested, not bondable at that time. A felony for heroin intent to sell… What they did not know was she was using it not selling it. I went to see her and even then, through tears she put her hand up on the glass like in so many movies and smiled. My baby in jail for heroin… I don’t know how many houses I pulled her out of or how many times she stole money from me to buy. I told myself she was safe where she was. I had the best night’s sleep, to be honest .
We had court and probation officers. Hers was really nice. He worked closely with her and because my daughter was holding a very good job he had faith in her as I did. By the end of court, they issued her time in a halfway home that had twenty four hour care. She had roommates. At first, I think she actually tried but than she shut down. They spoke to her about it and told me they would remove her from the program for not participating. I was in shock; that was no way to handle the situation, but they said I was her problem and that her attitude came from me. I explained to them that letting her out before she was ready was not a good idea. I told them I did my part; bought a house, redecorated her room, and got a new phone with no numbers (not a smart phone). I pleaded with them not to let her go.
Days later I got a call that she was being sent home. It was some time in May or June and she had just turned 21. We knew she was not ready to be out, so I kept my eyes wide open. Even then she was doing drugs. She was so mad at me because I was constantly “on her”. She would pass the drug drops, the probation officer liked her a lot and always went that extra mile for her.
Then her behaviour changed. She stole my car had it a couple days. She began not to shower. She wanted to go to school and I jumped for joy! She made the arrangements and prepared for school, so I was hopeful she was having a breakthrough.
She bought a hoodie and it was too small, so she asked if she could take it back. I said I would take her. I trusted her, but the car was off limits. We went together to return the hoodie, then we stopped at McDonalds to get her a pop, then the store for cigarettes (all addicts seem to smoke). Then we went home—nothing out of the ordinary. She spent some time watching TV with me and her sister. No one else was home. She said she was tired and wanted to go to bed. She went upstairs and played a “game of annoying mom” by saying, “Momma, momma,” back and fourth. I laughed and it stopped. The program ended about two hours later and that’s when my daughter said, “Mom, go check on Kayela.” I looked at her and said, “Why? Is there a reason I should?” She insisted, so of course I did. At the end of the stairs I announced my approach as she had requested we start doing. When my eyes fell to her bed, she was there. I looked down and she was in a foetal position face down legs curled under her. I screamed out her name and nothing. I ran to her and placed my hands on her very cold hips. I noticed one hand and from my experience working at the county morgue I knew her color was not right, nor was her body temperature. I screamed, “Call 911! I think your sister is dead!”
The 911 dispatcher wanted to talk to me and directed me to turn her over. I cried, “I don’t think I can do this,” and I heard the ambulance pulling up. They worked on my daughter for 2 hours; 1 in the home and one at the hospital. That night, September 8, 2012 my life changed forever. We lost her. I felt guilty wondering if I could’ve saved her by turning her over and so on. I spoke to the men who worked on her and they said she was gone when they got there, but at her age they had to try.
Life is not the same anymore. A big part of my heart is gone, never to return. I don’t care if people say it gets better. It doesn’t. You learn to live with it. Should the halfway house have released her? No, but was it their fault? We have flaws in our systems and they will never be perfect . Months after her death I wanted to learn everything I could about drugs, heroin and helping others. I went to school, became a recovery coach, and helped one girl. Her life has changed and she is now in her own home, but I quit. It was too hard on me at the time.
I prefer one-on-one counselling. It takes a lot of time to help someone. I was with one client all the time. She told me one day she felt Kayela was her angel. I’d like to think so, but as a grieving mother I often wonder where hers was that night. Addicts are smart.
Now I go upstairs and all I see is a few boxes, some videos, a prom dress… It’s sad but that’s what is left outside of your memories. I have a lot of them and they get me through some hard times. To parents out there struggling; don’t give up. Our kids are more than a few boxes, they are our heart and soul.
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