Tell us what they were like before they developed a substance use disorder*
Bobbie was the big sister to me that I followed everywhere. She was so loving, warm, and special. Everyone wanted to be in her company. She was the one in our family that always made "it" work, found an avenue, whipped up a family gathering (great cook). She had so many friends. On top of this, she was smart, and could of been anything she wanted to be, academically. She was such a beautiful woman and just so caring. Our Grandparents just adored her as she always spent time with them. She married and had 3 beautiful children, whom she left behind. One of her son's was born with a heart problem and his health was a life scare for her. She was a great care take to him and although scared, she remained strong. Bobbie was that person in our family that everyone went to, talked to, etc. She was a strong woman and our parents had a special bond with her. She would always find a way to make sure everyone felt special in her eyes.
Tell us about their struggles with substance use disorder
Bobbie started using alcohol/drugs in her mid 20's. Her addiction ended her marriage and she ended up loosing her children. She went to many rehabs and felt very hopeful. Her addiction brought crime to her, in which she ended up in jail a few times, she was estranged from the family, was hospitalized a few times for poor health, and she got to the point she missed her visitation with our children. She put herself in relationships that were violent, she was missing for a few months, she stole many times from family, and she herself became very violent. Often times, family members were nervous to be around her because she was so erratic and impulsive. No matter what ever happened, she NEVER admitted to a relapse. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia prior to her death. I feel strongly that her mental diagnosis had a lot to do with her addiction.
What made them smile?
Prior to her addiction - she smiled at everything. Family, friends, etc. She was such a loving and happy girl. The family holidays were the most wonderful times because she was the one that everyone wanted to sit by.......she had a special bond with our grandmother and when the 2 of them were together, Bobbie beamed. She loved having family events and she loved to cook. She enjoyed seeing everyone around her happy and that was so gratifying to her.
What do you miss the most about them today?
I miss my sister! Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. For me, I miss the dream that she was going to become sober and that we would have that sister/bond relationship. I yearned for that and when she passed away, I mourned that as well. I miss her warm loving heart, she was always trying to make everyone happy, but she was the one suffering the most. My sister, good or bad, was always in my corner. She always found a reason to stick up for me, etc......She was such a genuine person. I miss her laughter, her phone calls, our talks, her deep thoughts........I miss her so bad that even after all these years, the pain is still so strong. My Father talked about her everyday till the day he died. He had her picture in sight all the time. When he passed away, my first thought was that he finally is with her.......that brought me peace.
If you had a chance to say one more thing to today what would it be?
I would tell her how sorry I am for not taking the time to educate myself on addiction. All I would say to her is mean things because I did not understand her going to jail, loosing custody of her kids, etc. I was only seeing the impact of her addiction. If I could tell her today how sorry I am for not taking the time to educate myself on addiction. I would hold her so tight and ask for her forgiveness. I would tell her how much I miss her and how much I love her. I would tell her all the wonderful qualities that she has and that she was so loved by so many. I would tell her that I will stand by her side and do what ever is necessary to help her so she would not feel alone. I would tell her that not only was she my sister, but she was my best friend. I would make sure I expressed to her how much so meant to me and how we all loved her. I would take the time to treat her special, because she didn't allow that for herself, sadly.