My beautiful, loving Carly was funny, adventuresome and fearless to a fault. Great qualities, but she also was a carefree risk-taker and often did not follow or understand limits. She migrated to alike individuals and as a college student, like so many, did not always make the best decisions. She was no saint, but your typical college kid figuring things out. Most of us have been there, done that. Times have changed. We had the opportunity to make mistakes without great consequences, but sadly kids today do not.
Carly’s life was heartbreakingly cut short at the young age of 20 years old. A time when she should be learning, growing and looking forward to a promising future. She, like so many young people today, take risks and experiment with readily available drugs like cocaine, overwhelmingly laced with fentanyl, and unintentionally die. I am not proud of the fact that Carly died from an overdose. I loved Carly, who she was, and who she woulda/coulda/shoulda been. I do not define her by the way she died. She was so much more. Carly left behind a younger brother, Carson. Carly’s death has sadly and dramatically affected Carson.
I do, however, admit that I cried every single day, at least once, for five straight months after Carly died. I have, or so I thought, an incredible gift to compartmentalize my brain – things to put in the past; things to march forward on. Not this time. I knew within a few weeks that I needed help to navigate waters “too important, too overwhelming, and too tragic.” I felt that I needed help right away. I could not wait. I recognized that I was in a fog, experiencing forgetfulness, abnormally things were falling through the cracks at my workplace.
Carly left behind a younger brother, Carson, age 18. Carly’s death has sadly and dramatically affected Carson. I worry about Carson’s loss and his grief. His life is irreparably changed. I recognized that I needed help to ever be able to help Carson.
My best friend since fourth grade and a supporter of Cornerstone of Hope recommended that I call for help. Simultaneously, others began to talk to me about either their personal experience or someone they know who received life changing professional bereavement services at Cornerstone of Hope and recommended that I seek help.
The best call I ever made was to Cornerstone of Hope. I attended the Overdose Support Group. I learned that it was okay to cry every day and that there is no wrong or right way, or time line, to grieve. I needed to hear these words. I was told that all my emotions were mine to feel as I feel them. I was not judged, as a parent, Carly was not judged. Everyone in the group was suffering the loss of someone they loved to an overdose – commonality opened the group to a trusting and judgement-free environment. Bonds were formed and friendships were created. These are my “groupmates.”
My tears of grief and talking about Carly now is the only time that I have left with Carly. I don’t run from it, hide from it, but rather enjoy sharing the memories.
Cornerstone of Hope and the incredible support of family and friends is so important and appreciated.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share Carly with all of you.
I grieve the cost of a lost future for Carly. Some days, it is overwhelming and dauntingly my biggest struggle. I may carry that for the remainder of my days, but if so, I know that Cornerstone of Hope has given me hope and prepared me to take one day at a time and if ever I need to seek grief support, for Carly, or anyone else that I love, I will have Cornerstone of Hope’s phone number ready. If you are grieving, regardless of the circumstances of your loss, please call Cornerstone of Hope. YOU deserve hope.