Updated: Aug 2, 2021
To get to where I'm going, I'm going to give you a timeline of relationships and events that occurred throughout Stephanie's lifetime. When Stephanie was 15, she was sexually assaulted at work. I won't go into detail, but in order to do what was right, she had to go to trial. The offender was sentenced to time in prison. We all felt justice prevailed, but were uncertain of the after effects Stephanie could have. Stephanie continued her life as a teenager and graduated high school.
As a young woman, she met a man we will call "Darren" (not his real name). Darren was Stephanie's first real, adult relationship. They dated a few years. During that time, Stephanie became pregnant. She was ecstatic! She and Darren were going to get married. Of course, I would be her matron of honor.
In December of that year, Stephanie gave birth to her daughter; a very healthy little girl. She was the apple of Stephanie's eye, I even saw Darren soften around his daughter and I thought maybe their relationship would be ok. You see, during her relationship with Darren, she was both physically and mentally abused. One night I went to their apartment because she called and said, "I need you to come get me now". I could hear Darren and Stephanie yelling when I arrived. I proceeded to the door and the interior door was open and the screen door unlocked. I let myself in and as soon as I stepped in, Stephanie went flying across the hallway into the living room wall. She had red marks on her arm and face. I instantly pulled her behind me and had some choice words with Darren. We grabbed Stephanie's things and left. My aunt recalls another time she had to take Stephanie to the emergency room because Darren had physically assaulted her. Stephanie's fear of Darren grew. I asked her repeatedly if she was SURE she wanted to get married. She wasn't sure. She came to me one day and said she needed my help. She had just found out she was pregnant again. There was no way she could have another child with Darren. We set up an appointment with a pro-choice clinic and I took her in later that week. She was so depressed which made Darren even more angry with her. Eventually she left for her safety and the safety of her daughter. I'm happy to say that Darren left the picture and moved out of state.
A time later, Stephanie began dating a young man that was a prior classmate. They seemed to get along very well. He was going to school to be a police officer and he was very good with Stephanie's daughter. They eventually married (yep, I was the matron of honor!). Stephanie began having physical pain that took the doctors' some time to figure out. Stephanie had a disease called Sarcoidosis. This disease causes the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells called granulomas. She wound up with these sarcoids on her spine, near her brain, and also her heart. Pain pills were no longer helping at their maximum dosage; she had a Dilaudid pain pump placed in her back to help with the pain. She also had to have a pacemaker put in when she was 26 due to a sarcoid interfering with the "firing" of her heart. Her husband hadn't been very supportive of Stephanie's medical problems or some of the psychological issues that formed from the "baggage" of her past. They eventually divorced. These are just a small picture of a few life events prior to Stephanie becoming an addict. She longed for the relief from both physical and emotional pain; I sure understand that which is why we journeyed through recovery together.
A few years have gone by, about five, and it's now 2016. I'm still mad at Stephanie for hurting and betraying my trust like she did, but she's still my family. She was always the other "pea in my pod". I still love her and want her to have a happy life. I'm still waiting for her to make her "amends" so that we can begin building our relationship again. The information I get about Stephanie is from my Aunt, my mom, and stalking her on social media! I look to see how she is doing, what she's doing, who she's with, etc.
It seems she has a special someone in her life who makes her really, really happy. Her daughter is growing up and she still gets to see her (my aunt, Stephanie's mom, has custody of her). I see on her social media that she continues to go to a 12 step program or at least she is around other recovering addicts. Her life seems peaceful.
On July 20th, 2016, (my birthday) something occurred that really shook Stephanie. She had been to a friend of the court hearing that day and for some crazy, unknown reason, Darren decided to appear. I can only imagine what was going through her mind. She had been clean for SO LONG. My understanding is she had plans with a friend for lunch the following day.
On July 21st, 2016, Stephanie didn't show for her lunch date. Her friend began calling around because this was very unlike Stephanie. Her boyfriend at the time was at work. Police had gone to her home for a "wellness check" and unfortunately it was too late. Stephanie decided to use again, and that one time is all it took. I received the call from my aunt that I never, ever wanted to get....
HEROIN helped Stephanie find rock bottom.... HEROIN took her life.