I lost a friend yesterday.

I was going to say “not someone I was in contact with on a daily basis”, but I was, in a sense, due to Facebook. She was someone who would tag me in anything she thought I would like. She would send me strange little messages. And, occasionally, she would reach out because she needed an ear. Sadly, a lot of the time she did this was at 3am or so when I was not awake to be who she needed.

Last night, when I heard of her death, I was sad, instantly just…low. Heartbroken. A flood of memories I have of her rushed in, the lovey, clingy, huggy little spider monkey that she was when she was in the same room with me, hearing her voice calling me “Betttyyyyyy”. Watching her go from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, quiet as a mouse to ‘holy shit, get off the ceiling’. The story about the glass martini swizzle stick with the yellow ball at the end that she mistook for a lemonhead (ouch). Cuddling with her at parties when she got to ‘that point’.

I hadn’t thought of how much this whole life of hers mirrored, to some effect, my sister, Roxanne’s until this morning.

They were very different creatures, but very similar on so many levels: Loving. Lost. Desperate. Glorious. Generous. Funny. Sad. Struggling. And a huge presence in everyone’s life they touched.

Like Sarah, my sister fought with her own existence. She drank to excess to numb the pain, she turned to harder drugs when alcohol didn’t do the trick. And, while it may have dulled the emotional pain, it began to destroy her physically. Slowly, not overly noticeable in the beginning, but by her later 30s, my sister’s body was not able to process the intentional poisoning in the name of self-medication.

By the time she died, I honestly don’t know what the “one thing” is that killed my sister. I don’t think there was “one thing”. Whatever is on her death certificate is “the straw” that finally took her down. In her attempt to heal herself, she had destroyed her body to the point that something that would normally be overcome by medical care would be the deadly blow.

Like when I lost my sister, when Sarah died I was (am) dumbstruck. Slapped in the face with surprise but, at the same time, not surprised. Devastated and sorry…sorry that I couldn’t have done more. Even though I know I couldn’t have. Addiction is a bigger monster than anyone other than the addicted can defeat, best intentions be damned. It’s just so insidious. Only the person who harbors the addiction can truly battle it and turn out the victor, the cruel trick being that most of them are unarmed and without the ability to do so. Sometimes looking for the weapons, often times not.

So today is that much harder with the realization that this sweet little pixie monkey that left us yesterday went out in a startlingly similar way that my sister left us: Tragic, too soon, and leaving so many behind to wonder what happened, even though we all know.

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