Dear Reader and Fellow Human Being,
I’m choosing to write about this today, instead of drinking wine, as good friend advised.
Today is my sister’s birthday, but I did not join her and my mother to celebrate it over lunch because I can’t bear to take in the destruction I would see before me that results a life time commitment to heroin. I cannot overlook the horror of seeing the numerous scars all over her arms, her face, her neck her hands, while I munch on a chicken sandwich and talk about what? I don’t know what to say about the fact that my mother can.
She was 18, I was 20, pregnant with my daughter, when she shared with me her choice to do heroin because she was in love with her boyfriend, who introduced it to her. I didn’t know what to say then either, but I will never forget watching the back of her, outside my apartment window confidently walking away from me, and all I could see in front of her was a life of hell.
When She was 23, my daughter was four, my son was two, I went to visit her at the California Institution for Women. She was not full of sorrow, or regret, or humility. Instead she bragged how well she was doing there, that she was taking classes toward her education, and making lots of friends. I didn’t know what to say.
When I was 28, in the midst of a mental breakdown, she came to my house with my dad. She had a tan from lounging by his pool. She was thin to bones, and her pupils were smaller than the top of a sewing pin. She said she was doing speed, she bragged about how great she felt, and how she was enjoying life. By then I couldn’t speak a single word.
When she was 30, I was raising my daughter and son with out their father, and attending school, she came to my house full of tears and depression. I comforted her until she went to sleep in my bed. When I went check on her, she felt like stone, her skin was dark and grey. When I touched to stir her, to see if she was alive, she felt so cold. She said she was fine, that she had taken drugs to sedate withdrawal symptoms from heroin. She left the next day. I didn’t speak to anyone about it, to who? There was no one. I went to school, and took care of my kids.
The following year she had a child. When the baby was 3 months old, the police called me and said I had to pick her up from the apartment. The boyfriend she fell in love with was not the father, but he was there. I postponed the classes I was taking for a semester to take of her baby, until my other sister decided she wanted to take her.
When I was 33, on graduation day, from College with my teaching credential, she wasn’t there. She was still at the California Women’s Institute.
When I was 34, I found CoDA and learned how I wasn’t responsible for her choices, and that I needed to keep my focus on me. She got involved in a crime ring somewhere in the eastern part of the United States until she got arrested and was put into some facility in the south.
This pattern continued for next 30 years. Her daughter is 30, an alcoholic, with two kids in an unhappy relationship with their father. She has made it clear to me, I have nothing to offer her while she clings to my mother, who invited her to join her to celebrate her mother’s birthday. Once again, my niece asserted her decision not see her mother, but my mother continues to invite her, as she did me. “I can’t Mom. Just tell her I think of her often, and especially today.”