I’m sitting in the Miami airport looking around at everyone else, wearing their masks, socially distancing 6’ apart. No one is talking except to people in their own party or some are having a conversation on their phone. There is a child over in the corner, maybe 6 or 7, crying, well not crying just whimpering and letting out the occasional wail. Dear Lord I do remember having a small child but please let him get on another plane or all the sudden become magically happy. Most of us are just looking down. You know looking down at our phones, tablets, whatever it takes not to look each other in the eye. With this pandemic we are fast becoming a closed off society. There’s also the occasional person who doesn’t know what headphones are or an inside voice. Yes everyone wants to hear your conversation or listen to TikTok or whatever movie your watching. Were you raised in a barn. I’m thinking so. Where is your mother?!
As I struggle to breathe, well that’s a little overly dramatic but I’m so over this mask, I get it, I’m wearing it. Let’s not go into that issue. So, I’m getting ready to board my flight and this trip has been emotional. I didn’t come down here to soak up the sun or to relax. I came down here to pick up my sister. My sister Miriam. I travel back on this plane with her cremains. It’s almost too much to even wrap my head around. We just buried my Dad a little over a year ago. To have another loss this soon is almost inconceivable.
Miriam passed away November 22, 2020. There is no doubt Miriam lived a hard life. We have been through ups and downs with her and have expected this call many times through out the years. My Mom and I have been on the phone with rehabs, women’s shelters you name it. We have had places lined up for her ready to go right up to the minute all she had to do was get on the bus or connect with a person. We had such excitement that each time was going to be THE time. It never was. And not just me and my Mom my whole family and even people that weren’t family have stepped in and tried to get her help. As horrible as the dark times were she always seemed to pull through them. God always put people in her life to witness to her and to help her. From the random guy at the gas station who would just walk up to her and say “God told me to tell you he loves you and you are not lost.” To men she met in Miami who would call myself and my Mom on the phone and tell us they were so in love with her and they just wanted to save her. They would do anything to get her out of the life she was in and get her back to us or to treatment or to anywhere just out of Miami. She has seen and been through a lot in her young life. Things to horrific for me to write on this page. Things no person should ever have to go through. One thing I’ve learned though my own addiction, you can not help an addict until they decide they want help.
You can pull someone out of the depths of hell, put them in the best program and take them out of the situation they are in. Clean them up, give them new clothes, a job, do everything under the sun to put them on the right path. You would be better off spitting in the wind and setting your money on fire in the back yard. An addict will find that life no matter where they are. I don’t care if you move them 5 states away. I don’t care if you put them in a different country. You can not help someone until they have hit their rock bottom and are reaching up saying please, please help me. I need help. I know this. I don’t speak because I read this from some book. I did not stop drinking until I said I need help. Until I hit my rock bottom. Everyone is different. My rock bottom may be totally different than what yours would have been. You may say you would not have gone down the hole I did. You would have stopped before I did. Maybe. I hope you never find out.
What I know is, it is hard to find a person or family out there that has not been affected some how some way by drugs or alcohol. It is a beast and all it does it destroy families and ensure the pattern gets repeated from generation to generation until someone stands up and says ‘NO MORE!’ and breaks that cycle for their future generations. It’s an escape people. We will do anything to stop the pain we feel and to not go through the emotions that come along with being hurt. Let me tell you, and addicts reading this understand. It’s no fun going from numbing your pain and not having to feel to all the sudden feeling every emotion and having to deal with all your baggage. Who wants to do that? Miriam had a lot of pain and because of that she wanted to escape. She wanted to block out all the pain that she had been through. So starts her cycle for her future generations. She has 6 children. She didn’t raise any of them. Are the things that happened to her an excuse for why she wasn’t a present mother? No, lots of people go through bad things and become productive people. She could not be one of those people. So goes the pattern for her children. They have the choice to numb the pain, be absent from their children’s lives or stand up and say. ‘NO MORE!” I do believe the person or persons who exacted so much pain on my sister will have to answer for what he did to Miriam and how it changed the direction of her life.
Miriam wasn’t just her addiction. She was funny. She loved to make people laugh. She had the ability to talk to anyone. She could meet you and within 5 minutes she knew everything about you and you felt like you had known her all your life. She was a ride or die. She was my very first best friend. She meant so much to so many people and she will leave a hole in so many lives. I’m bringing her home today, where she belongs. Her family never gave up on her. We loved her no matter who she was or what she did. She was ours. She was loved and she belonged to someone. While we have her ashes, I do know in my heart through everything she went through she knew Jesus as her savior. Was she walking hand in hand every day with him? No. Do you? Do I? Salvation is not conditional or based on works. Salvation is eternal and none of us deserve it. I thank God that he loved us all so much to send his one and only son to die on the cross for us and shed his blood to make us clean so we could live and have everlasting life if we believe.
Hug those you love more often. Take time to have conversations. Miriam was 40ish (I’m not sure of the exact amount of days) clean from drugs up until the day she died. She was supposed to be traveling to my house for a visit mainly for her Mom. We don’t know where we are going to be from one minute to the next. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Say hello to those you pass while your out and about. Just say it loud so they can hear it from behind your mask. Smile but make sure you smile with your eyes so people can see your smiling. If anyone out there reading this needs help or is struggling with an addiction of any kind please reach out. Reach out to me. Reach out to a friend. Call the National Drug Abuse Hotline 24/7 (888)582-7969. If Miriams passing has done anything at all it has renewed my desire to maintain my sobriety and it has also brought family together that we never thought we would have a chance to meet. Heaven is so amazing I bet my Dad is still showing her around. Those two are quite a pair.