International Overdose Awareness Day – Katherine’s Story


My daughter Angelina, was a gifted and anxious girl. Maybe it’s the gifted who are challenged the most in this life. We spent many years in throes of her addiction which eventually led us to a secure treatment program. I knew it was the last stop. We spent 10 months in treatment as a family climbing our way back to each other. There was some light at the end of that journey and it appeared we had started the makings of a healthy future, together. Not only was my daughter getting the help she needed, but I was able to achieve my own restoration and renewed perspective. We managed to make amends and forge a new path toward healing and recovery. Today recovery takes on a whole new significance as my recovery is solely grounded in the acceptance of the loss of her sweet life. Three weeks after graduating from the program and 6 days shy of her 17th birthday, Lina relapsed one time which proved fatal. We lost her.

There are many unanswered questions and reasons as to why we received the outcome we did. As her mother, I did everything possible to help my daughter out of the hell she was living. Not only the outward hell but particularly with the demons she waged war against in secrecy. Those were the demons we couldn’t see. I got her into every public service available in addition to assessments, counselling, therapy, all which prevailed as futile. I can’t even being to describe how powerless this disease makes me feel…makes all of us feel. When we graduated, we had plans for the future. A future living in sobriety and fighting the war hand in hand. Those plans can now never be realized and I’m left with an insurmountable amount of grief and disbelief that I wear every day.

We are in a crisis. We are losing our children and loved ones at alarming rates. The disease of addiction is cunning and baffling and we have no control over its insidious nature. All we can do is approach it with compassion and love and hope that our loved ones can be reached. My efforts did not save my girl but the lessons I learned (and continue to learn) are being applied across all facets of my life. As a mother, as a daughter, a friend and a soul.

I know that the night my daughter relapsed, she did not intend to leave us. I know that she thought one more high would be ok and she would return to her sobriety the following day. I know she didn’t think that the amounts she ingested on that hot July night, would take her from us. This I know. I also recognize that knowing these things does not make the pain bearable or any less present. I would like to believe that suffering is optional but that is a day to day judgement. It is not a safe place to be an addict.

Both from the shame and judgement that is harshly passed in addition to the deadly strains of opioids that are flooding our streets. It’s a game of Russian roulette with every inhale. I wish us all strength and resolve to get through this pain and welcome a new day where our children are not suffering and ashamed of who they are. That is truly when they will feel free to reach out and ask for the help they need and get the love they so very much deserve.

I gave birth to you, I loved you first, I love you still, I always have and always will. Love, Mom xoxo

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