I guess this is where I begin. It truly is difficult to know because as the mom of a recovering addict, there does not seem to be a clear starting point.
What I am hoping for in this is to reach out, particularly to friends, family, and anyone they know who may need to see that their struggles and nightmares are not their own. The best way to begin may be to let you know that right now, this moment, my lovely daughter is alive, working as an addiction counselor, and struggling to enter back into a world which totally fell out from under her ten years ago. That is where I will start because to understand this journey , one needs to know a bit about the fire.
The phone call came at 5:00AM. I thought it was Steve’s, my husband’s, work as he had been on many conference calls the day before. I remember almost nothing else except Steve turning to me and saying, “It’s Ashley.” My life seemed to just stop and hover in the moment.
I could barely get any information from the nurse on the phone. When I asked if Ashley was going to be okay, all she repeatedly said was for us to get to the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville as soon as possible. Drive carefully. We were needed there safely.
There had been a house fire. Ashley and another person were in critical condition. I knew the other person was Brett, the man Ash was hoping to marry.
I cannot begin to describe what I felt when I saw my daughter lying in the Burn Unit ICU. She had full thickness burns on 30% of her body and virtually everything that was burned would need to be grafted. There goes another 30%. There was eye damage and lung damage caused by smoke inhalation. I saw the x-rays. Her lungs were totally black. Her left foot was also black and for days we did not know if the foot, or Ashley, would survive. Within a few days, the grafting began.
I knew all the physical pain would be nothing when we would have to tell her that her love, Brett, had passed away from the carbon monoxide poisoning.
Journal Entry Day 4
My Ash- I wanted the chance to write a few things to you.
Scared? You bet.
Sick to my stomach? Yes.
Anxious? Every moment. I am all of those things but find I don’t really mind. I am ready to be with you every step of the way as we help you rebuild your life.
I know we will cry alot.
Cry some more
And one day, we’ll be okay. Maybe not how we want it to be but it will be the best we can do with what we have been given.
I love you so much.
I adore and love your friends. They have become part of our family. We have laughed and cried and hugged and found comfort with each other. We know we have a very long journey ahead and all of us want to be with you every step of the way.
My journal then begins its daily recording of blood pressure readings, heart rate, feed rate, and fentanyl doses.