As you celebrate this holiday I ask that you please remember in your thoughts, prayers and most especially in your hearts the people who struggle every day against a demon for which there is no cure. Drug addiction touches each and every one of us either through ourselves, a family member or a friend's family.
For our family, it was watching a beautiful little girl with big brown eyes turn her life upside down. Bad decisions, circumstances not in our or her control, family members who over the years turned away from her, some in hopes she would beat this monster of an addiction, heroin. A father who walked away from her when she was a toddler choosing to live in the same town, raise a second family, not allowing them to acknowledge her in any way. Nothing can replace the love and support of a caring father. His absence in her life left a hole that nothing seemed to fill.
She tried to understand why she was not able to see her father and be a part of his life and that of his other family. Our beautiful little girl tried hard to fight through all of these obstacles as a small child.
Hurt turned to despair and went on to anger and finally rebellion. All of this while battling juvenile diabetes and learning disabilities.
Nothing seemed to come easy for her, except the love of her mother, a Champion resident. Her mother fought hard to help her. She supported her daughter financially and emotionally and became both parents to her.
We believe that all of these things could have led to her drug abuse. The many tries at rehabilitation only kept her clean for short periods. All of the struggles she had early and throughout her life all proved to be too much.
In July, my sister received the phone call that no parent ever wants to receive. Our little girl, now a 33-year-old woman, died in St. Joseph Health Center, leaving behind three beautiful children and a family asking ''why?''
As I watch my sister grieve, second-guess herself and her actions, her reactions and her non actions at times, I have learned one thing. It is very hard to love someone who is addicted to drugs and watch them slowly kill themselves right in front of you. My sister asked me one day, "How do you live with yourself when your 'tough love' didn't work? What do you say to yourself?"
I don't have an answer to that.
We do, however, have the opportunity to try again with the three surviving children in Warren. To hold them close, love them and to pray our mistakes and theirs will not lead down the same path for them.
Embrace this season of giving, this season of light and reach out to that person in your life that perhaps you may have fallen short with.
-- Pamela Kuebler, formerly of Warren