Letter to my Daughter

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Anna (left) and Ava (right)

Meet Ava and her daughter Anna. Recently, Anna died due to a drug overdose while away at college. During Anna’s funeral, Ava wrote this lovely letter about her daughter’s story and struggle with addiction. Ava shared her story with us in order to help spread the word about drug addiction and how it can reach anybody. The letter reads:

“Dearest Anna,

As I write this letter, I pray that you will hear and understand my words. I don’t blame you for what happened; I blame myself. I hope you will forgive me.

You were such an amazing child. You were such a beautiful baby. You were a happy and affectionate and everyone wanted to hold you. Your childhood was full of love and warmth. We tried giving you everything and anything you wanted. Why wouldn’t we? You were our only child. Drug addiction had no place in your future. That only happened to neglected, unwanted, abandoned, abused and ignored kids. Well, at least that’s what I thought.

Growing up, you were the brightest student in all your classes. Your teachers loved you. Your classmates wanted to be your friends. As a cheerleader, all eyes were on you. Even though you didn’t make it as captain, it didn’t matter. Your stunning smile and charisma made people pay attention to you. Your SAT scores were off the charts, and you received full ride scholarships left and right to the universities across the country. I always thought kids like you didn’t take drugs or get drunk. I’m sorry for being so ignorant, but that didn’t sound like someone who can have a substance abuse problem to me.

You were saying how school was tough and the stress was getting to you. I just told you that it will get better and to keep your head up. I wish I did more to help. I’ll never forget the night I checked my Facebook and saw you at the top of my feed. You were at some kind of house party. Very high, very drunk and doing things that made me feel sick. Your dad was on his way up to school within hours, and what he found there was heartbreaking. You were passed out on the couch of this fraternity house. The guys were laughing at you and taking pictures with your intoxicated body. Your sorority “sisters” were nowhere to be seen. God only knows what could’ve happened to you if your father didn’t get there when he did. How does a charmed life turn into a nightmare overnight?

We pulled you out of school and put you into a state-funded treatment center. Life turned upside down. We learned that you had used drugs and alcohol since you were 14. We also learned that you were very good at hiding it. The state-funded rehab was a disappointment. Within days, the staff caught you with drugs and sent you home. You promised to stop, you went back to school, but things got worse.

During the next few years, you were in and out of rehab. Eventually, we ran out of money. Our insurance company would no longer pay for treatment. Again, you said you would stop; again, we believed you. I know you really wanted to stop, but by that time, you were in too deep. We finally arranged an intervention. We were hoping it might have some impact your addiction, but the very next day, you overdosed and died.

This is the hardest day of my life. I am at your funeral. I cannot stop replaying the past. Looking back, I can now see the warning signs. They started in high school. If I had faced the truth and arranged an intervention then, this tragedy might not have happened. If I had taken you to a treatment center that would have catered to your needs, you might still be alive today. I refused to believe that addiction could happen to you, but if it did, I was sure I could fix it.

Good treatment centers are expensive, but at this point, money means nothing to me. Please forgive me, Anna. I would give everything just to hear you laugh again.

With all my love,
Mom”

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