By Carole Fawcett
Sharon didn’t know that when she gave birth to baby Brian that he would die at 19 years old of Gioblastoma. She walked alongside him when he had his brain surgeries and his subsequent cancer treatments. That was Sharon’s first loss. It impacted her in ways she is still coping with to this day.
Her daughter Monique was a painfully shy child. She started using drugs at age 21 with her boyfriend who was a heroin addict. She became pregnant and by the time the child was born, the boyfriend had left. She was trying to raise a baby on her own and wasn’t a very good parent. Her boyfriend’s Mother took over as the baby’s guardian and has raised her, together with Sharon for the rest of this baby’s life. This child is now a teenager and very loved by both sets of Grandparents.
Monique continued to use drugs and was a sex worker in order to earn the money for the drugs. She had two more babies, who were adopted by the same adoptive parents. One was born in a hospital and one was born in a toilet in a motel. Both were drug addicted at birth. Monique still lives on the street, sleeps in a car and barely survives. Sharon has lost contact with her, despite her best efforts to stay in touch.
Sharon’s third loss was when, as a13 year old, her daughter Jamie started to use drugs and get into trouble. Jamie became an angry, impossible-to-deal-with teenager with erratic behaviours, lashing out at her Mom and her step Dad to the point she had to go into foster care. But, by the time she was 16 she was free of drugs, returned home, graduated, and went on to train in a professional career that would have her working with children.
Sadly, she was in a very bad car accident, suffered head injury, had her jaw realigned and had to wear hearing aids. Jamie was put on oxycotin (3 months prescription at a time). When her physician cut her off her meds suddenly, she turned to street drugs to deal with the pain. She has spiraled down from there, getting involved with fraud activities, spending time in jail and once again becoming involved with drugs. Her boyfriend overdosed on fentanyl and died.
Just as she was preparing to speak to a drug counselor who had agreed to attend her parent’s home, Jamie overdosed and Sharon had to do CPR. At this writing, Jamie is still using and now lives on the street, having recently been kicked out of her rental. It is unknown if she has another place to live.
Sharon and her husband Bob, did everything for the girls. They tried to help them, bought them groceries, paid the rent on a few occasions, drove them to medical appointments and reached out with love in every conceivable way. But despite their best attempts, nothing worked. Each time, their daughters would climb back on to the spiral. Bob has done his best to be strong throughout all this, but as he says, “it’s hard to be the rock, when the rock is crumbling too.”
Sharon shares that the guilt and the shame is at times overwhelming for both of them. She has spent years trying to figure out why these two girls went down this path. She has cried oceans of tears and she shares “there have been times when I didn’t know if I could go on any longer and there are times when I am devastated by events and it feels like my heart is crushed.”