Another Goodbye

Spring, 2019

Well friends, this is certainly not something I thought I’d be writing yet again but here I am. Last week my precious 33 year old niece lost her battle with addiction. To say we are heartbroken is an understatement. It’s been barely 9 months since my father’s death and here we are saying goodbye to another family member.

What I hope to accomplish by sharing this is simple. I hope to spread some awareness about addiction. It is a disease not a choice. There’s such a negative stigma attached to it and that makes it hard to talk about. But it needs to be addressed.

At my grad school graduation in 1994. This girl was my biggest fan!

My niece was a talented, professional dancer. She began dancing at age 3 and went on to win title after title. In fact she had a trophy room at her house. However, after injuring her back in a car accident she became addicted to her pain medicine. The rest is history and as horrible as you could imagine.

I’m not hoping for sympathy; I am hoping for change. If you know someone who is suffering please remember they are sick – this is a disease. Give them love and support. It’s easy to cast judgement on others but once you walk in their shoes you see things in a different light. It’s called empathy and it’s what this world needs more of quite frankly.

If something seems off with someone you know – SAY SOMETHING. Listen without judgement. I never stopped loving my niece, regardless of where she was in her addiction.  People suffering with addiction are not always open to help but offer it anyway. If it happens to be your family member go get help yourself – this is a disease that affects the whole family.

I want people to know that my nieces’s life had value; she was a daughter, a sister, a niece, a granddaughter, a friend. She had a heart of gold and touched so many lives. She loved her family so much yet it pained her to know how much pain her illness inflicted on all of us. That’s the way it often is and it makes it hard to get proper care and treatment.

So these days I am going through the motions. Grief is hard. I never expected I’d get a double whammy of loss this year yet here I am. I have hope and faith however. In December I will deliver the eulogy for my niece and in so doing I hope to convey a message of love and hope.

Thank you, dear readers, for allowing me this space to share my heart with you. I would find it impossible to move forward without being honest with all of you about what is happening in my life.

The holidays are difficult for many, not just me this year. Please know that I am in the trenches with you and I know we will make it out. My best friend Laura sent me this the other night and it really speaks to me, I hope it does to you as well.

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