Until We Meet Again, Son

Posted in Monthly at 8:45 pm by Pasha

Tears flooded my eyes, rolled over my cheeks and fell onto the little boy that clung to my chest. The outpouring matted his white-blond hair to me; a union of love, sadness and hope. I cried, loud and wailing in the dark, cavernous family room. The snotty breaths entered my body in gasps and exited in howls.

The years of worry, fear and helplessness finally escaped my body in a waterfall of exhausted emotion. Oz screamed out for his momma but at that moment all he had was me and the prayers that this time she would make it.

Sparkel’s affair with drugs started many years before she had Oz. Now, at 24-years-old it must seem to her that pills, heroine and cocaine have been the one constant in her youth. I remembered her past during my long crying jag, replaying the past eight years in my memory.

My mind flashed to my college graduation in 2004, when her problem became obvious to me. I knew she had done drugs before as I had accompanied her on more than one trip. But this time felt different than when we would go out together. That weekend she disappeared for hours at a time, a trait that is customary for addicts. Her mind was loose, she never really looked me in the eye.

We ignored the obvious. After all, we were all in it together.

The following year we made the mistake families often do when we rented a beach house together in Destin. By the end of the week sisters were no longer speaking to mothers and the severity of addiction pulsating through all of our vanes was apparent. Later that month Sparkel admitted her addiction to OxyCodine and checked herself into the first of several rehabilitation centers.

Over the next year relationships were mended, one member of my family chose sobriety and two others chased a greater high. My mother used the Twelve Step program and an unwavering faith in God to become clean and sober. She has stayed that way for more than three years. Words cannot express the pride I have for her winning the battle. She is the lighthouse to every addicts lost ship in the night. I am more proud of her than I have ever been for anyone or anything. Ever.

My only little sister soon started chasing a quicker and more intense high and chose heroin. In the next eight months I was called at least three times with word that she overdosed, had been revived and continued to use. I thought I could fix her. I truly did. I bought her a plane ticket and told her to come live with me. I thought addiction could be fixed by changing a person’s way of life. I was so wrong.

The night that she got off the plane in Atlanta her eyes were vacant. She did not see me. Through the cloud of addiction Sparkel could only see a new city to hide her problem in. In less than one month she had lost her job and was smoking crystal methamphetamine. I dropped her bags off at the dope dealers and learned my first real lesson in addiction and enabling. I learned that you can never take a sip of alcohol with an addict because it will turn into a line of blow. I learned that by completely carrying someone you also completely enable them to use.

When she called from Florida, where she fled when I refused to let her come back home, she told me she was pregnant. Sparkel and I had still never really talked about her drug use. Everyone except me believed a baby would cure her. I never thought it would.

After Oz was born she tried so hard to hold onto the moment’s sobriety. But without true help from God and a program to become sober an addict’s days are numbered, as where hers. She moved into a bad part of town and lived with the baby’s father, an functioning alcoholic and occasional hard druggie. She never had a chance.

It all came back to a head this summer. Sparkel was high daily off a prescribed opiate blocker in a conscious thought that heroin would take the life of Oz’s mommy. But it did not stop her from shooting cocaine into her neck, a thought that sends chills racing through my body. Using her experience, knowledge and faith my mother fought head on. She reported it to authorities and had Oz removed from the home. It was only a matter of days before Sparkel would kill herself, before the addiction would finally steal her life.

She never stopped loving Oz. Sparkel held him close at night whether high or dope sick. She couldn’t pull herself away. Sparkel wanted to and even told us she planned to go into treatment mid-summer. But as fall crept into the air her usage showed no signs of stopping. It was only when Oz was taken from her that heart knew what it needed.

In the past 10 days I have struggled as a sister, unable to help and so far away. Our sister Vrolet’ was the only one to step into the batter’s box and take Oz in, even with her other four children in tow. Sparkel vowed to go into a long tern rehab. During these past couple of weeks Vrolet’ and my mother became increasing frazzled. Sparkel never intended to lose Oz. She spent nights at Vrolet’s caring for him. She realized the intense burden her addiction had caused.

I arrived in Fredonia early this week without a precious moment to spare. Sparkel and I packed boxes into a small room in our mom’s basement as she waited for a bed in a 28-day chemical dependency facility to be followed by a long-term treatment center where Oz could be with her. In the first few days she continued her withdrawals from the opiate blocker. For the first time we spoke about how that sickness felt, the flu-like symptoms, the paranoia, the anxiety, the shame.

Somewhere between getting the packing almost done and making soup a bed opened up. My little sissy came inside with the news; her eyes wreaked of tears and she oozed her feelings. She was scared. For the first time in Oz’s life she would have to spend almost a month without him in her bed at night, cuddled up to her increasingly fragile body. They went for a walk together. When they came back in the house we left for her long journey towards a real life.

After hours in the emergency room (attached to the rehab) it was finally time for Sparkel to say goodbye to her life, to Oz. And as she did she reached towards her new life, one where she remembers the days and the nights. A life where drugs don’t control her.

I took Oz home to my mother’s house with me. I cried for them both, heartbroken, wounded and on their way down a rocky, winding path. I prayed so hard in my sobs, and I am still praying this moment as he sleeps upstairs without his momma.

Dear Lord, Please give her the strength she never had before. Please make it all different this time. Please let hearts, wills and faith prevail. Please … please … please …