Im Good TodayI Never Know About Tomorrow

We live in a quiet neighborhood, with neighbors that are close - like family. Where neighbors come together nightly for bonfires, to work on each others tractors, or to watch a Packer game or two. We share our lives with family, friends, neighbors and our community.

My husband and I have been Chamber of Commerce members for 25 years. We proudly serve as Lions in the Muskego Lions Club. Our children have always been involved too. Helping with floats for the annual parade, and starting the Leo club, which fosters interest in Lions for youth. This was all in addition to their own activities at school.

Holly was the youngest of our three beautiful daughters, and was very talented. She loved to cook, sew, fish and she loved people, children and animals. She was an honor roll student, and in the solo and ensemble choirs - she had even tried out for the track team.

But in Hollys senior year, her group of friends changed. New faces. Her old friends would come over and warn us that these were not good kids. These longtime friends stopped coming around because they werent doing drugs, and new they might get into trouble just for hanging around with people who did.

With just four months left to graduation, I reasoned that her friends in general would be different, as they went away to school and such. Or so I thought. My nightmare was just beginning.

While we found out Holly had started smoking marijuana with an old boyfriend, it became prescription pills like oxycontin with the new boyfriend. We never had prescriptions in the house, so I had no clue what oxycontin was, or how addictive it is, or how you could get your hands on it. When the pills became too expensive, it would eventually become heroin.

I could not stand by and let this happen to my daughter, however. A couple of days before Hollys graduation, I was arrested for trespassing when I entered the house where her boyfriend lived. I knew there was a party there, and knew by that time that he was a drug dealer. I wanted to get her out of there. However, there was no party and his parents were home.

Holly was in the house, and was insulted that I would just walk in.  I was assaulted by his mom, and they called the police on me, and I did the same.

When the police came, they put Holly and I in separate squad cars. In the end, I was arrested, but the police said she was free to go, even though I told them she was stoned and should also be arrested. I was told that because she was 18, I had no right to enter the house, and that she hadnt done anything wrong. I called my husband to bail me out, but the family dropped the charges. However, the event caused us to cancel her graduation party.

From here I felt my life spiraled out of control, no matter what I tried to do. It took me a long time to realize that I had no control at all over this. It was like stopping a runaway train.

We continually told Holly no drugs were allowed and that we would call the police if we found any, and we did. Do you know how hard it is to call the police on your own kid? Its the worst feeling. But we felt that if she were in jail, at least that kept her from doing drugs, and kept her from dying.

There would be anonymous phone calls, with someone on the other end telling me that Hollys boyfriend was shooting her up with heroin, that sent me flying out of the house several times trying to find her.

Attempts at counseling were frustrating. On the way to one appointment Holly remained at the back of our van, and was growing increasingly agitated as we got closer to the office. I kept telling her to calm down, that it was just an appointment with a psychologist. No big deal. However, she was going into a crazy fit, and as we approached the clinic, she threw a roll of masking tape with such force that it cracked the vans windshield after it just missed my head.

When we arrived, I jumped out of the van and asked the staff for help because Holly was going crazy, but no one would help, they just stared out the window. I went back to the van to try and calm her down, and noticed the syringe on the ground by the open door. I knew what had happened.

There were so many other, similar events. My daughter, who was once so strong and independent, was at the mercy of this terrible addiction. She loved her family, loved her homebut when it came to the drugs, none of it mattered.

Over three years, we tried to get her help through three bouts of rehab, including state rehab in Taycheedah, the Enlightenment Program, then the court system. We had her stay with friends and family that thought they could help. The drugs however, had turned a sweet young lady into a Jekyll and Hyde personality that slept a lot.

Her stay at Taycheedah was nine months long from October 2008 - July 2009, and when she came home we arranged things to be with her almost 24 hours a day. It was like keeping a bird in a cage. We were encouraged when she decided to take up kickboxing with her sister Amber. They had so much fun, theyd come back laughing and joking, just like when they were kids.

She took online classes at MATC for basic education, and we wanted her to keep her mind on good things. She wanted to go to school to work in the medical field, but with her drug situation, we felt that was out of the question. She decided instead to work with animals in the veterinary field.  

She worked with her father in the familys landscaping business laying brick and doing outdoor living work. She even joined AA.

Our first Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2009 was the best we had had in years. Life was good.

During this time, she was going in for drug testing twice a week, and she would always tell me, Mom, Im good today, but I never know about tomorrow.

Hollys 21st birthday was coming, and she was supposed to go to another AA meeting on February 18, 2010, just a day short of her birthday. However the woman who picked her up to take her there instead drove her to a drug house. This was someone Holly had trusted, but she ended up to be a drug addict as well.

She was given drugs, including a fentanyl, a drug patch similar to morphine, and was left there to die. However paramedics were sent to the house to revive her, and when we were contacted by the hospital, she was in a coma. We would remain at her bedside and watch her slip away for three days. We made the difficult decision to let her go and removed her from life support on February 21.

The man who provided the drugs that would end her life was sentenced to spend ten years of his life in prison. The woman also received some punishment, but its never enough.

Our lives have changed forever since then. Our holidays remind us of her absence: an empty basket at Easter, an empty chair at Thanksgiving and one family member missing at Christmas.

We are trying hard to help our grief by helping others, helping people become aware. This is an epidemic, and for everyone who thinks this cant happen to them, think again.

My advice: Watch for a change in friends or their friends themselves changing in personality. Search their rooms. Above all love your children by caring enough to be critical to keep them safe.  

We are looking to create Hollys Hope, which is a way to help families going through the ordeal of drug addiction. Since Hollys death, Ive had so many people contact me looking for help, and I want to create a place where people can go to get information and support when dealing with this issue. Heroin is terrifying, but going through it alone is much worse.

For the time being, I feel that her words, Im good today - I never know about tomorrow, could also be my motto, too, and I will be good today, one day at a time.

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