October 23-31 is Red Ribbon Week. Before I go deep into why Red Ribbon Week is important, I am going to take a moment and tell you why it is so important to me. So if there is only one post that you ever read on my site, please let this be the one.
Last September I lost my Mom, though I never disclosed the events around her death. It was far too personal, and those who knew what happened didn’t speak a word of it. Until now. This was probably the most difficult decision for me to decide to write this and share it with everyone. I have debated writing this for a very long time, and I sort of felt like I would be betraying my family by sharing something so deeply personal. Then it occurred to me, that I needed to post this. (So family if you are reading this, know that I did this in hopes of preventing this from happening to anyone else.) I need to greave and in the process, try to make an impact. Here goes…
September of last year I lost my mom to drug abuse.
Crap. I have wrote and re wrote that sentence so many times, and there just is not a nice way to say it.
Backstory: My mom hurt her back some years ago and with the help of her boyfriend, she began to abuse Oxycontin. Just one day, it all changed. I grew up with only my mom and “Dad” (maybe later I will explain why I call him “Dad” with quotations), until I was around 12 (or so) we were poorer and yes Mom was slightly the “hippy” (sorry Mom lol), but I always had anything I could have wanted. Most importantly, I felt loved. Until that year she hurt her back and was put on Oxycontin. All stability that I had was gone. Torn from underneath me.
I would like to blame Mom’s boyfriend at the time (who I found dyeing on the bathroom floor from a drug related illness), but I know that she was a very strong woman who made her own decisions. Those nights that she chose to use enough, that she would pass out face first on her dinner. She chose. Those days that she took so much that my step-dad would have to take that little bottle out of the fridge and give her a shot of something (I couldnt tell you what it was but Im fairly confident that they shouldn’t have had it) that would prevent her from dyeing. Yes, dyeing. She chose. Those nights that I lay scared because people kept breaking in the house trying to steal her drugs. She chose. Those days I watched her chose buying more drugs over spending the money on food. She chose.
I wish these were the only stories about her drug abuse that I could tell. Sadly, they are not. After watching this kind of stuff for years, I could write, and write. So you can see how I wasnt shocked when late one night I got a call from my aunt telling me that mom died, and that it was drugs. Even though over the last few years she had gotten some better, obviously not enough. I was however shocked how pissed I was at her. Not a little pissed, like fuming mad. How dare she let this happen. Then whenever I had to tell the kids that she was gone, and to watch how sad they were. So selfish that she let this happen. Still to this day, thinking about it I feel sad, and then very very mad. No one should ever have to lose a loved one like this.
Thats when it occurred to me, she was not always this way. Before the drugs she was a really great person. She used to help at a womans shelter with my Granny and aunt. She used to be super crafty, and well, just awesome. She didn’t necessarily choose this. She made a few bad decisions involving oxycontin, and before anyone knew it she was sucked head first into a downward spiral. I dont believe that she was ever fully aware the damage that she was doing to everyone around her. The abuse affected everyone who she came in contact with, it reached far and wide.
I just wish there was something that could come from my Moms death that would prevent this from happening to another family. That is why I chose to share this, even though it is incredibly personal. Like I said I really debated about sharing this, I even thought that people might think that I was betraying my Mom my sharing her “secrets”. That when I remembered Mom always telling me to stand up for what I think is right, and I think that by sharing our story maybe it will stop someone from choosing to use drugs.
Did you know that children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations. Lets fix that! Please take a moment and talk to your kids, it could seriously make a world of difference!
Drug abuse tore my Mom from me just shy of her 50th birthday. Drug abuse does not just hurt the user. Drug abuse SUCKS. That is why Red Ribbon Week matters to me, and why it is important for me to make sure more people say NO.
Please take a moment and check out RedRibbon.org to see what you can do to prevent a loved one from using. Also please consider donating to the Red Ribbon Campaign. At the very least please pass along this post. Maybe it will make someone out there think twice before using drugs.