Even now, I don’t understand

The End…That’s what every writer strives to type. Getting there, however, isn’t as easy as you’d like to think.

I’ve been struggling for the last year since my 40-year old niece died of a drug overdose, leaving a young daughter behind. She also left a husband, grandfather, mother, aunt, uncles, cousins and a grown adult son. None of whom understand what the hell happened. I haven’t been able to write. I don’t know why I haven’t been able to write, I just can’t. I think about my books and I plot them in my head, but when it comes time to sit down and write…blank. The page and my head.

Let me start a little further back. My niece had an injury she sustained when she was a young girl; a back injury caused by her father throwing her against the wall when she was trying to defend her mother from his attack on her. She was never the same. As she got older, I guess the pain got worse. She never spoke to me about it. As time went on, I guess she figured out that pain killers help ease some of the discomfort. I don’t know when that happened, I just know it did.

I imagine it started with Tylenol with codeine and progressed from there. When that would no longer suspend the pain, I imagine next to Oxycodone. What I do know is it eventually ended with methamphetamine, that is her life. The coroner report stated “not accidental”.

Now that doesn’t mean she committed suicide. I think she just took too much. Toward the end, she had contracted Hepatitis C which I assume was from sharing tainted needles. The story I heard was she had tried to get help but because she didn’t have insurance, they wouldn’t continue giving her the meds needed to stave off Hep C or to cure it.

How did she get to the stage where drugs were the only thing that mattered? I keep going over and over it in my mind and it’s making me crazy.

I think I carry guilt because I think I should have done something more. Believe me, I did try, but the help I was willing to give her, she wasn’t willing to take. She stole from my parents, from me and my house (she stole my wedding ring two weeks before the wedding). On my wedding day, she even took the entire bottle of hydrocodone from my purse. I finally had to ask her to not come back to my house. My husband had three girls from a previous marriage and I couldn’t have them exposed to her erratic and unpredictable behavior and I didn’t want them exposed to her drug use. Did I do the right thing? I have to believe I did.

After the wedding, she went off on a bender and took off altogether. Once in a while, someone would spot her on the street and call me or her husband. We’d watch the county jail inmate rosters on a daily basis to see if she turned up. She never tried to contact us. My mother’s dying wish was to see my niece one last time. We couldn’t find her so my mom didn’t get to see her. For almost two years, my niece didn’t even know her grandmother had died.

One day, my dad finally got hold of her through Facebook. She had remembered her password and had logged in. My dad called her and they talked. They were going to meet the next day for lunch, just to talk. He wasn’t going to try and force her to come back home; he just wanted to see her. Her estranged husband gave her older brother her new phone number and he called her up and read her the riot act. She refused to call us back. We never heard from her again.

I received a phone call early on a Saturday, September 8 from her older brother. He said the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s office had contacted the local Tennessee police department to have them “notify the next of kin” about her death. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. My mom died on September 2, 2014. My niece died September 6, 2018 at 40 years old. Four years and four days later. I prayed that in her last days (or hours for that matter), that she cried out to God to ask for salvation because the thought of never seeing her again hurts too much. I pray that my mom welcomed her to Heaven with one of her famous warm hugs. I hope she can finally rest in peace.