First blog post

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.

 Worried?  Tremendously.

  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.

   And laugh.

  Cry some more

  Be angry

  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.




3 thoughts on “First blog post

  1. Kathy,

    I also have a daughter who is a recovering addict. Coincidentally, she knows Ashley from when she lived in Charlottesville. She now lives in Richmond. Like you, I have wanted and needed to tell my side of our story, but could not find a place to begin. Each beginning moment that comes to mind is up-ended by a previous memory, and then another, and another – back through adolescence and early childhood. Who could have predicted or known what to do to redirect the future? I am grateful that you found a place to start. I realize it is not the “moment” of the beginning of the story, it is the “starting” of the telling of the story. Thank you. Laurel


    • Hi Laurel! You stated it perfectly when you wrote that you did not know where to begin. I jump all over the place with my thoughts and am writing strictly from stream of consciousness. Very free flowing and never knowing if I am remembering events correctly. What I do know is that even when I think I have everything correct, Ash still can spin me around and say, “Well, that’s not really what happened.” That is what loving an addict is about. We never really know if our truth is THE truth. I hope your daughter is doing well. In the reality, I take one day at a time, just like Ash. Thank you so much for writing and hope you can continue to comment. We sincerely appreciate it.


    • This is crazy! I must not know of your daughters addiction as I can’t think of any friends in Richmond that have identified as having problem. Please tell her I am here.


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