I Lost Myself
by: deliciously Dee
This is the hardest post I will ever make, but I want to share this because maybe one of you will read it and learn from my mistakes.
If you didn't know I live in Las Vegas. Yes, I know, Sin City. I love Vegas and I owe a lot to this city. Honestly I owe my life to Vegas. It enabled me to meet a lot of people that I would not have met back home. And some of those people helped me get myself back. I know I am probably the only person to say Vegas saved me, but after you hear my story you will understand why...
Back home for me was in a small town. When you think small, think three stop lights small. My parents live on a lake in the middle of the country in Franklin County, Virginia. It is as small as it sounds, but oh lawd it is so beautiful there. The community there is nice, laid back, neighborly. No one there really cares about money. Even at the local nursery you can actually put your purchase (mulch, plants, roses) on your "tab" and they will bill you in a month or so. (That kind of laid back) You worked and made enough money to provide for your families and to go out on the lake. That was what you do there. Go out on the lake. Wake boarding, jet skiing, etc. What our little town was known for was Moon Shine. Our BIG NEWS of the week was reading the paper about moon shiners getting busted. (Lol) I had a great childhood. Was a good kid, played outside, got good grades, got dirty...I was a tom boy. Never cared about make up, wore sweat pants and a t-shirt to school every day. My parents were the best parents I could've dreamed of. Very supportive and loving. They were on the "hippie" way of life. They never saw anything wrong with Marijuana. But they also didn't let me know that they smoked until I graduated High School. I had two older siblings. My brother, Jason, was the eldest. He was the only reason why I had girlfriends growing up besides my sister. Mainly because they all wanted to date him. (lol) He was dating my sisters best friend Julie and still is to this day. They have been together now 16 years.
My sister, Amber, was the wild one. I was always so jealous of her. She had the body, the popularity, and the boyfriends. But, even though she was older than me by age, I was the older one with her. She was always rushing for life, while I was the slow steady one. She was love crazy. Always read romance novels and would fall head over heels for her boyfriends. I spent many nights with her while she cried over whoever broke her heart and I would just roll a joint and we would blaze until she forgot about the prick. (lol) Watching her constantly get hurt probably was what deterred me from dating at all when I was younger. (I didn't even have a boyfriend until college) So, since she was the fast life kind of soul it was no surprise that she was the first one of us to get married. She got married in a bright red dress when she was 20 and was pregnant at 21. I have a beautiful nephew named Christopher. Her marriage ended up failing and she got divorced when Christopher was 5.
Now that you have a little background -- I want to share with you what happened.
Seven years ago, I lost my sister to a drug overdose of methadone (legal form of heroin that doctors prescribe to wean you off of your addiction).
She was found in an abandoned apartment that her "friends" left her at. The worst day of my life was getting that call from my brother. My mother and brother had to go and I.D. her body. I wasn't able to...I couldn't see her like that.
I was the first to find out that my sister was dealing with addiction. I was on my way back to Virginia from a road trip and kept getting crazy phone calls and voice mails from her. She wasn't being clear about what was wrong, she just kept saying she needed me. I called my brother who was in town and told him to go over to her house with me. I felt like my stomach was dropping out of my body. I get to my sisters house and she was seizing on the floor in her underwear with a loaded gun next to her. Thankfully, Christopher wasn't there. My brother called 911. Paramedics got there and she was out of it. Strung out and drunk. She was taken to the hospital right away. The doctor came out and told us what was going on. My family and I were floored. Couldn't believe that my sister had gotten into this. The doctors told us to go back to her house and search it high and low for drugs and alcohol. Her problem was made clear when we found 28 empty Jim Beam bottles and needles hidden all over the house. She was hiding her problems from everyone. She went through rehab. A few times. Never stuck. She kept going back. She had that addictive personality. Was the same when she loved. When she was in love, she gave all of herself and would put them first before anyone. And when she got her heart broken she would fall hard and was the end of her world.
When I lost myself...
When my sister passed I was working at a restaurant/lounge. It was an awesome place to work and had a lot of great memories with those people. I was known then for making my edibles. (I did so as a hobby) I would make brownies for the staff and salad dressings. Everyone loved them and I had many friends that loved to be my guinea pigs. :) Marijuana was always something I loved, but cooking with it was just something that made me happy and relaxed.
The day she was found, I went to work that night. Worked my entire shift and then went up to my boss Jamie and asked to speak with him in the office. I told him that my sister was found dead that morning. He was shocked I even went to work. I asked him if I did my job any different. He said no, he couldn't tell any difference. So I told him I needed to work, that I didn't want to think about it, I just wanted to work. The guy I was dating at the time, I was with for two years, wasn't supportive. A couple of days went by and I was crying next to him and asked him if he had a suit to wear to the funeral. He replied, "I don't do funerals and I barely knew your sister." Yeah...he was a winner. So not only did I lose my sister, I was dating and living with a man that was in my opinion the spawn of evil. I couldn't mourn in front of him. I ended up sleeping in the guest room of my own house that I owned because I "bothered" him with my crying. He never held me or even showed that he had any emotion to what I was going through. About a month after she died I looked at him and told him that I didn't love him, that I wasn't in love with him, and that he needed to move out of my house. Can you believe he was shocked... ? I said, "the only reason to be in a relationship was that when things happen (death, health problems) that you weren't going through it alone. You were there for one another. And since I am alone I might as well be really alone and not be with you."
This was probably the worst combination of events I could've handled. I honestly don't know how I kept myself together. It ended up taking me 2 months to get him out of my house. YEAH...I know how to pick them right...?
I was literally living in hell. Going to work, school, couldn't cry, couldn't sleep, living with a heartless man. I ended up starting to drink a lot to hide my pain. Was the only way I could go to work with a smile on my face.
Going through all this at once made me numb. Cold. Death does do terrible things to people. And everyone handles death differently. I didn't want a relationship after that guy. I just drank. That's how I solved everything was that I didn't want to think about it so I would drink it away til I didn't feel anything. No one really noticed how miserable I was or the pain I was in. I kept it all in. I had problems talking to people because I didn't want judgements on my sister or myself.
At this time, I had many friends that moved away to other states. I kept telling myself that I should move and start fresh. I felt that I had way to many bad memories there. Those memories were every where. Any where my sister and I went. People, places, things all reminded me of when she was there. I feel bad saying this but my nephew looked so much like her, even had her laugh, and I couldn't even be around him without being depressed. I ended up trying a few cities out (Baltimore, Boston, NY), but always came back to Virginia. It wasn't until I met my friend Courtney that was at the time going through a divorce and she was talking about moving to Vegas. I had never been. I went out there with her and fell in love with the weather, the lights, the mountains and the fact that it is a city that you have to choose to be bored in. There is always a show and so many great restaurants (we are #1 for best restaurants). So I was in! I went back to Virginia and sold everything! I packed what sentimental things I had, my clothes, and drove 3k miles by myself and moved to Las Vegas.
I ended up meeting amazing friends here. One friend in particular I met at a pool club. He offered to buy me a drink. I accepted and then asked him "you aren't having a drink?" He then told me he didn't drink and all he did was marijuana and edibles. I was in shock because that's what I was known for back home and was funny to me because back home what my family and I did was more unique. Out west it was more common. I became immediately interested in getting a job in the industry. I got my stuff tested to make sure I could properly weigh out my doses. And was back in business (lol) Befriending him actually kept me away from drinking long enough to deal with things sober. And, oh my was that an eye opener.
Truth is -- I moved to Vegas and I calmed down. I have lived here over four years now and have finally started getting pieces of myself back. I figured out what I love to do and how to make it my job. And I have met so many people that have been blessings to me and my life here.
I look back at who I was 7 years ago when everything happened and I don't know that girl. I was the worst version of myself all because I didn't know how to handle death. I just masked everything by drinking. I am not perfect nor try to pretend I am. I have made plenty of mistakes, but learned from them. And with moving from a small town to Las Vegas I had to learn things quick. My life is completely different then it was back home and for the first time in a long time I am actually happy. I became The Happy Chef.
Advice to you from what I have learned... Don't use drugs to get away from problems it never takes them away it just delays you dealing with it. Talk to people and surround yourself with "positive" people and family. Be there for one another. If you are dating someone who isn't there for you emotionally...get rid of them. Trust me you are better off alone. Everyone has problems and the best thing you can do is talk to someone. I recently was finally able to talk to my mother about Amber's death. I never wanted to talk to her about it because I didn't want to make her sad. No one should have to bury their child. Now my mother and I are starting a fund in my sisters name - Amber Maree - to "Be A Hero" and helping others dealing with addiction. My sister was 29 when she passed. Life is short. One last piece I learned in all of this, you HAVE to KEEP GOING! This thing called "LiFE" - doesn't stop! One can get lost in their problems. Lock themselves away from the world. Ones suffering impacts more lives than just theirs. Mourning is important and talking to someone is essential to working through it.
"This thing called "LIFE" - doesn't stop, keep going and become the best version of yourself!" - deliciously Dee
My beloved sister Amber and her son Christopher.
RIP- Amber Maree - (12/04/79 - 02/26/09)
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