There comes a time in your life where you reflect and look back at moments that may have shaped who you are or directed the path you walk in this world. On December 22 2000 there just so happened to be an event that changed my way of thinking for all the wrong reasons.
The phone rang somewhere around 3 am. When I answered in a hazy semi concious state the voice at the other end introduced himself as a constable from Morningside Police Station. The news that he would bare was something only a 3 am phone call could bring.
My sister in-law, he was to notify me, had just passed away from a heroin overdose!
Well, now I was awake. In shock yet still wide awake. Was this a joke? Was someone taking the proverbial here? I soon learnt that the constable required a family member to identify the body. Sadly my elder brother, now 42 years old was out of his head on smack and unable to string two words together let alone identify a body. He has been a junkie since he was 17 and caused far too much emotional and physical destruction to even begin talking about here. Chelsea was dead. Plain and simple.
As the realisation began to sink in I began to run through a conversation I had had with Chelsea only a few days before when I visited them both at their Norman Park residence with my then girlfriend, Karen. Chelsea had been wanting help for some time. During a moment in the kitchen making cups of tea she asked me for help. She wanted to begin the long hard road of getting off the gear and finding her way towards a better life.
Chelsea was a beautiful young woman. The kind of girl that stops traffic in a bar. The kind of girl that breaths life into a dull house party. Wherever Chelsea went the people around her were better off for it. At the time of meeting my brother she was employed as a photo lab manager, owned her own car and had money in the bank. Life was good.
Sadly, as with most heroin addicts she met the wrong person at the wrong time. Within two years of meeting my brother she was married, living in slums and stealing money of pensioners to get hold of the next hit. Typical behavioural patterns from smackies.
That day in the kitchen shortly before Christmas was a moment that i could have reacted quicker to. Chelsea had asked for my help. She wanted me to take her to a clinic and get professional help. The first step to recovery for addicts is always the hardest. Despite her eagerness to change I brushed the conversation off as typical junkie talk. I told her I would gladly help, but maybe in the new year when the Christmas period had blown over.
Unfortunately I never got that chance to help her. Ever since that fateful late night phone call came in I have questioned myself over and over. Could I have made a difference? Did she really want to change? Why didn’t I encourage her to come with me and get help the very next day? It’s swallowed me whole and left me in deep reflection for the past thirteen years. Hard to move on from.
Life is short. It can be taken from you in a heart beat. Go out there and follow your dreams, dive head first into your passions and, should a friend or family member ever ask you for help make sure you follow through. You just don’t know what is going on inside their head. And you never know when you may lose them for good.