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Where We Are Today . . . . 



Everyday I get letters from people telling me how much my site has meant to them ... but wanting to know .... "How are things now? ..... How are things today?"  How are "you" doing in your recovery from losing your daughter?  So, I decided to start a type of journal.  I know I won't write something everyday ..... I may go a month or more between writings.  I'm going to base it on what is happening at the time, and just how much my heart can share. 

If you're a regular visitor here, I've changed things a little .... putting the latest entries at the top, so you don't have to scroll all the way to the bottom.

To be very honest, it's been hard to write here since Kathy died.  Some people have even asked me why I keep up the site now that she's gone.  But in my heart, I know that I must.  This site meant a lot to Kathy, and it means a lot to me, and although I started the site as therapy for myself, I know from all the letters I receive, that it has helped many people.  

Just because my child didn't make it, doesn't mean that yours won't.  And that's why I continue with it.  The problem of drug abuse didn't go away when Kathy died ..... it only made the "push" inside me to help other people .... stronger.

I'm not sure how often I'll update this page, or how long I'll leave it here.  Right now, I just don't have it in me to take it down.  These were the last days of Kathy's life and as long as it helps me to come here and read about, I'll leave it here.  I hope it helps you too.

 


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February 9, 2003
It's been a long time since I've written in this journal.  It's hard to come here and face the reality of it all, but ... that's silly because I face the reality each day.  Everytime I walk into Kathy's room, everytime I hear her favorite song on the radio, the reality hits me in the face.  Last year was very hard, a year of "firsts" .... the first Christmas without her, the first Thanksgiving, her first birthday in heaven.  

But, I receive letters often from many of you, wanting to know how I am.  I'm okay ..... the pain will never go away, but I always have the peace in my heart of knowing that Kathy made peace with God before she died .... so I know that one day I will see her again.   

And .... I am able to see my grandson.  He's almost 14 now and has grown into such a handsome young man.  He looks just like his Daddy, but his mannerism and his actions are all his Mom.  I see Kathy in him so clearly and each time I look into his face, I remember the deep and undying love she had for him.  I remember her telling me at the end how much she loves him ... and for me to always make sure that he knows.  This has been hard for him, but somehow ... I think he knows.

 

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December 22, 2001
It's been a while since I've updated this page.  It's hard .... it's terribly hard sometimes for me to update, especially now in the holiday season.  A few weeks ago, I had a terribly hard time cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  Thanksgiving was one of Kathy's favorite holidays .... she LOVED to eat, eventhough she was just a little skinny thing!!!  Everytime I would start preparing a dish that she liked .... it would hit me hard.  And now ... we're preparing to celebrate our first Christmas without her.  We went to her grave the other day and put Christmas flowers there.  That was so hard .... I wanted them to be perfect ... and believe me ... I'm no floral designer.   But, between my husband and I ... I think they looked pretty decent.  

We have decided to make things different this year ... to help us get through.  Instead of having our holiday celebration here at our house, we'll be going to a friend's house for breakfast and then will spend our family celebration at our son's home.  It's going to be very different, but then ... different doesn't mean bad ... it only means ... different.  Our son in Florida and his family weren't able to come up this year ... so that will be very different also.  

God is so good to us ..... and I know ..... he will be right here beside us helping us to cope with Kathy's first Christmas in heaven.


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October 28, 2001
I've received so many notes and letters from so many of you asking about me.  I've had a rough time getting past Kathy's death.  I have so much guilt, just like all parents of addicts.  We always feel that there should have been something we could have done, something we could have said, ..... these feelings never seem to leave us.  But ... God is good.  He has taken good care of me and is helping me to work through these feelings.  I've started updating my site again and have started answering letters again.  Thanks so much for the support you have given to me. 
 

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June 21, 2001
Kathy's funeral was today at 11am .... that's just all I can say today.

 

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June 18, 2001
Kathy passed from this world into the gates of heaven at high noon today.  She made her peace with God and is finally at peace within herself.   We've been here at Beacon Place with Kathy for the last 5 days and I haven't left her side since they called in the family.  My husband left this morning just for a little while to go home to pick up some fresh clothes for us.  While he was gone, I was standing beside her bed watching her and realized that something wasn't quite right.  She had made a funny little sound, kind of like a little bird, and I realized it was her time.  I held her close and she died in my arms, just me and her.  My husband arrived about five minutes later.  He felt so bad that he wasn't there to be with me.  I think God planned it that way.  It was only me and her (and of course the doctor) when she was born .... and I truly think that's the way she was supposed to go .... just me and her.  I cherish those last moments with her.  


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May 5, 2001
I haven't written recently ... things are real bad ... and my heart just can't yet .. sit and write it all down.   Just let me say .... she was moved into a Hospice Home ... and just this week, decided to walk out.  Right now ... we don't know where she is ... but I'll try to keep you posted as I can. 


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January 25, 2001
During the weekend I wrote of below, we spent most of our time in and out of Baptist Hospital.  On that Sunday morning, we were to take her back there at 9AM.  I was so upset as to what to do, I began to pray and told God, "God ... if you want us to bring her back home to live, you're going to have to tell me.  And .. I'm so mixed up and confused, I may not even know that its really You telling me.  So God, if you truly want us to bring her home, please ..... beat me in the head with it.  Make it so clear to me that there's no way I could question whether it's you or not."  

On the ride to the hospital, she was still very belligerent and hard to listen to.  When we got there, they immediately took her back and my husband and I sat out in the waiting room waiting for them to call me back.  We talked .... and came to a decision that because of her attitude in the car, we were NOT going to bring her home with us ... that when we left the hospital, we would take her back to the shelter.  

In about a half hour, they called me back to tell me they were going to "tap" her again, to drain fluid off her abdomen.  This is a very painful process and very hard to watch.  They stick a 16 gauge needle (which looks more like a spike) into the abdomen until they reach the fluid pockets, then begin draining it into 1 liter bottles.  

While I was sitting there watching the process ..... I felt God telling me, "it's time to take her home.  She needs to go home."  Well ..... the more I sat there ... the clearer it became to me.  God was truly "beating me in the head" with it.  I excused myself and went out into the waiting room and talked with my husband.  We decided that if this was truly what God wanted, he would help us to deal with it.  So ... when they finished with her, we told her we were taking her home.

It's a good thing I was listening to God .... because I'm not sure she would have survived the next few days on the street.  When we got home ..... she was soaked from continuing to leak from the hole where they tapped her.  We did everything to stop it ...... made her a pallet on the floor so she could lay on her back, stuffed thick towels into her pants .... but still ... it continued to leak.  For the next two days, she drained and soaked everything.  

Finally on Tuesday morning, we went back to the hospital where she was fitted with a bag to cover the hole in her stomach so it could drain there without soaking her.  For two days now, she's continued to drain and they said that hopefully, the hole would close by the weekend.

So ... that's where we are now.  Do we trust her? ..... That's going to take some time.  Do we love her? .... Yes dearly, with all our heart.  Where do we go from here? ..... "one day at a time."

 

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January 19, 2001
I received a call this morning from our local Salvation Army Homeless Shelter.  They said that Kathy was there, that she had checked in last night and that they were calling an ambulance for her.  They said that she was very sick and that she wanted them to call me.  They were going to transport her to her regular hospital in another town where her doctors are ... it's an hour away.  I asked the woman if she was messed up on drugs ... she said it seemed so.

And so ... I'm in a situation.   Although I have no doubts that she's sick,  if I go there, this could be a ploy that she's using to get us to let her come home.  As the woman said, she seems to be still using.  I do know that if they're carrying her to her hospital, Baptist Medical Center .... they will take very good care of her .. and hopefully admit her for a few days.  I have total trust in that hospital.  They've been very good to her.  

So .... here I sit writing this down, trying to keep my sanity.  Tears rolling down my face ..... for a daughter lost.  This is truly .... the toughest love of all.

 

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January 17, 2001
Today has been a tough day for me.  Today is Kathy's birthday.  I've reflected so much today on the day that she was born.  I was so young, only 16, and didn't know the first thing about how to take care of a baby.  But .... when I looked at her, the love I felt in my heart for her was so real.  

I learned really fast how to take care of her.  I went to school, I worked part-time, but I still made time in my day to spend with her and to take care of her.  

It's become a tradition in our home, that no matter where the kids are on their birthday, we call them first thing in the morning and sing Happy Birthday to them.  It's actually become kind of a joke, you would understand why if you could hear the way my husband and I sing.  It's pretty bad .... but ... it's also pretty special.  I really think the kids would miss it if we didn't do it.  

That's the first thing I thought of this morning when I woke up.  We don't even know where she is .... no way to sing to her.  We didn't get to sing to her last year either, she was "out there" last year also.

So, instead of singing, I sat down and made her a card.  That's really hard to do sometimes when you have so many mixed emotions inside.  But this is what I printed inside:

Kathy,
We want you to know
today and everyday
how much we love you.

Though we can't condone,
though we can't enable,
We can love,
And we can pray,
And we do that everyday.

Happy Birthday!

Love,  Mom & Dad

Then I carried the card to my brother's business where she seems to show up most everyday.  He said he hadn't seen her in a couple of days .... so I don't know if she'll get the card today or not.  I hope she does.

 

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January 15, 2001
It's been a long time since I shared anything new about Kathy.  It's been almost a year since I started this site and during that time, much has happened.  

Kathy went to jail in February, 2000 for writing bad checks.  She had been writing them for quite a while to pay for her drug habit and it finally caught up with her.  

When she went to jail in February (this was not her first time) we decided not to get her out this time.  We felt that in order to help her .... we must be tough and let her stay there.  She finally was able to make bail at the end of February. 

During the time she was out, we had our phone number changed so she couldn't continue tormenting us with calls.  We did however receive a call one night, in the middle of the night from an uncle whom she had called.  She had gotten into a truck with a man .... supposedly for drugs ... we'll never know the real story.  The man robbed her, beat her up, and took her off to another town and dumped her behind a gas station, leaving her for dead.  She was found by the police and when found to be alive, she was carried to a local hospital who nursed her back to health.

It was, of course, only a matter to time until she was picked up again for passing bad checks.  This time we let her stay in jail.  She managed to get herself out once, but was picked up again by another county.  You see ... she had written bad checks in three separate counties ... so as soon as she'd get out of one .... another would get her.  She was caught in a vicious cycle of her own making.

She spent most of the time she was there in the infirmary at Women's Prison because we found out that she had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and it had almost completely destroyed her liver ... she was dying from cirrhosis.  After we found out that, we wanted to help her to get out, we couldn't stand the thoughts of her dying alone .. in prison. 

But ... she had woven such a web for herself .... we ran into the situation with the various counties being involved, and until we found a good friend who had some connections with law enforcement who was able to get all the counties together, there was nothing we could do.

Finally in September, 2000, we were able to get her out and for the first time, brought her back to our house to live.   We were very leery of doing that but felt we had no other choice.  We didn't give her a key to the house or the code to the security system, so she was at our mercy if she wanted to leave.   But, at this point, she didn't seem to want to leave.  She had reverted back to "a little girl" ... it was like having a 12 year old in the house again.  She was dependent on us for everything and seemed happy that way.  She told us continually .... "I feel so safe here."  She continued to get sicker and sicker and finally got so bad that her gall bladder had to be taken out.  Her diseased liver had destroyed it.  

After we brought her home, she began to swell in her stomach.  Her liver was causing her body fluid to back up and so ... from this point on ... it was back and forth to the hospital every week or so to drain the fluids off her stomach.  They were draining up to 5 liters of fluid off her each time we went back.  She would feel so much better after that, and then in a couple of weeks, she'd swell up again.

Christmas was approaching and she seemed excited about that .... but about 4 days before Christmas, she started acting strange.  We recognized right away that it appeared that she was "using" again, but had no idea how, since she had only been out with us.  On Christmas Eve, she and I spent the entire day and up into the night in the emergency room having more fluid drained off her.  Christmas Day she felt much better and was able to enjoy the holidays with the family.  She continued after Christmas feeling better and on Friday after Christmas, December 29th, she decided that she'd like to spend the night with a friend.  It was someone we knew and she said she'd be home the next morning.  Well .. the next morning came and went and she didn't show up.  We called there on Saturday night and she said they were watching movies, that she'd be home the next morning.  Still the next day, she didn't come.  That night, she called and said they were walking out the door and would be here any minute.  Still nothing .... we didn't hear from her all day on New Years Day.  The next day, we had to return to work ... still nothing.  But, by this time we knew the truth.  We got a call that night from a "friend" who said that she was using heavily and that he had actually picked her up and carried her to buy drugs a few days before Christmas, but that he didn't realize that was what she was doing until it was too late.  That night, our doorbell rang, and there she stood.  She was very "messed up."  We told her she couldn't stay ... we reminded her that we had told her when we brought her to our home, that if she "messed up" ... she would not be allowed to live here.  She went into a tirade .... told us we were crazy ... that she wasn't leaving her home.  Finally, we told her she could stay the night but must be ready to leave the next morning when we left for work.  

The next morning, of course she wouldn't go, so my husband stayed home all day.  We were afraid that in the condition she was in, she would burn down our house.  Finally, the next day, she left and has been back in the streets using every since.

She called yesterday morning to say she was hungry which broke our hearts again.  My husband took food to where she was and he said that she was so "messed up" ... she couldn't even stand up.  

So ... that's where we are today.  Our hearts are breaking from putting her out.  After all ... she's our daughter, and she's dying.  But ... what else can we do?  She's a grown woman .... she's 32 years old.  Can we leave her here in our house and go to work each day wondering .... "will she burn down the house? .... will she rob us blind while we're gone?"  We don't feel that we can do that.  We know at this point, there's nothing we can do to help her  .... we've done all we can.  We must take care of us now. 

 

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