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The Last Three Months... Our New Reality

The last three months have been a whirlwind to say the least. We have found a bit of "back to normal" and by that I mean going back to work, showering regularly, getting the kids together, some conversations are able to be had where you don't talk about the passing, cleaning the house etc. Those normal everyday things. But...overall, our lives have been completely changed. I said once to my husband a few weeks back, "You will never have your old wife back..."

Losing Joey has totally changed the trajectory of my life and although I am not sure of the path it will take me, I know I will never be the same. We can't be. When something like this happens, you're just different.

Some things that have happened for me are my lack of caring for others judgment. I was always scared of what others would think if I spoke my mind or just in general. I care so much less now. I want to live. For me and for Joey. For the life he no longer has. I want to truly dance like no one is watching, because even if they are, in that moment when I am dancing, it's for me... because it makes me happy, not for them. I'm learning to appreciate life in a way I never did before. It really is so short and so fragile. It can be taken or end in an instant and we do not know what happens after, so squeeze out every ounce you can while you're here. I have also started to explore the difference between self worth and excepting good things for yourself and the difference between this and being an asshole. Joey and I were raised to believe that we are no better than anyone else, no matter who they are. We both whole heartily believe/ed this. But, somewhere along the way, I distorted this... I confused having love for yourself, setting expectations for people and the way you allow them they treat you, setting boundaries that are healthy for you, and expecting good things to happen for you as arrogance and not being humble or being elitist or entitled and thinking you're better than someone else. You can and should expect all of the good things without being the latter. I don't know where or when or how this happened... but it did and it is something I've been trying to figure out my whole life and I have feeling this same thing happened to Joey. I have a feeling this has happened to a lot of people. Especially people with addictions. I'm still very much exploring this and learning about it for myself, but it is something else that has happened since Joey.

As an adult who has lost their sibling, you enter into this weird world. If you have kids like I do and are young like I am, you still have a lot of things to do besides focus on your grief and healing from it. You have to make sure your children are enjoying their life, making sure they do not forget their uncle also, which sometimes prompts painful conversations that you may not want to have with them. They will bring up Joey in the most random times and sometimes I am taken back and find it difficult to talk about without crying, but I do anyway... I have too. It's okay for them to see me sad, it has to be okay for them to talk about him as much as they want and learn how to manage their own feelings by watching their mother manage hers. Then there are times when they won't talk about him for days and I almost silently wish they would so I can talk about him. You're still a daughter to your parents. The absence of Joey has brought this out even more. I am always conscious now that my parents just have me physically here. The thoughts come often, How quiet is the house now? Are they okay today? Am I there enough? How can I help them with this, if I can at all? Did I call today or was life just crazy? This is something that of course happened to Joey... but it also happened to me and my family and his friends. When something happens to you, that effects your life, makes you feel strong emotions, throws you into a complete tailspin for a bit, one of two things can happen. You can let it destroy you... take you down a deep dark path of depression, anger, hurt or you let it work on you. It can lead you to a place of exploration, self and world. For me, it has been working on me. Joey's death has prompted all these questions, these thoughts, these wants, needs (see above paragraph). Truth is, there is no right way to grieve. There are healthy and unhealthy ways... but no right way.

When a sibling passes you think of everything from when you were young until the day they died. Hopefully you had a close relationship like Joey and I. You have a lot of good times to remember. When we were young, Joey was afraid to do things on his own. He wouldn't do karate unless I joined, I had to go to communion classes with him, he didn't want to go to his first party unless I went, he always wanted to be with me and wanted me with him. He had social anxiety from the time we were very young. I think that is part of why I am the way I am now. I was always his champion and he was ALWAYS mine... I would have done anything for my brother and same with him. Anything to make him feel comfortable and that he was okay where he was. This feeling will never change. I could never be disappointed in him. Never hate him for this addiction. He made me proud to be his sister, always. Even in active addiction, even when he did things that weren't good or in line with who he was at his core. He was always a good person. He always had a big heart, was kind and when he did something that he was not proud of himself, he felt the most guilt and disappointment in himself. I never needed to or wanted to add to that. We are our own worst judges. The way we speak to ourselves is sometimes so horrible, you wouldn't say those things to your worst enemy, but you say them to yourself. I know this because I do this and I know Joey did too... Why would I add to that in any way? No matter how he died, I will always be proud to say he is my brother. Despite anything he may have done and I know without a doubt he would be the same with me.

We are still in the middle of dealing with everything regarding his death. Once all is said and done I can share more on that, but until then... we are and will continue to work toward a change. A change in the way we see people in active addiction, a change in the way the world (dream big) treats people in active addiction, a change in the way families help their loved ones, a change in legislation that will allow the prosecution of dealers for their part in this. Although Joey made the choice to pop that first Oxycodone that started this all and ultimately ended his life, addiction is a disease... I will not debate this.

These dealers, the people that make money this way... the ones that cut drugs with other drugs and baby formula and fentanyl, pretending they have Pharmacy degrees and licenses can and should also be held responsible for their actions. If you want to play with ratios and experiment with how you can get the best high for your customers while spending the least amount of money for yourself but making the highest profit, you should absolutely be held responsible if someone overdoses. Why shouldn't you be? What gives you the right to sell something and then claim no responsibility if your mixture hurts someone... YOU created this, YOU thought you were intelligent enough to do so, YOU sold this to them... You DO NOT have a degree, you DID NOT spend money or take time to educate yourself at an accredited institution, you were NOT taught by experts in the field... You are a drug dealer. You are an opportunistic poor excuse for a person. Your life has probably been filled with poor judgement and bad decisions and you finally found something that maybe you think you're good at and that makes you money and you're "living the dream" but you're not. The fact that, if this is your goal, your life, your highest achievement... how sad for you. What are you teaching the people in your life? What are you reinforcing to yourself everyday? That this is okay? That these decisions are the decisions of a grown adult with good judgment?

No... just because you make money doing something, doesn't make it okay. Just because you have repeat customers doesn't mean you are loved or valued or respected. You are feeding their addiction. You make what they've come to need. They hate you. You are the worst person in their life. They look at you and see nothing but despair, anger, violence, self hatred, sadness... they think about all the things they've done to get the money that is in their pocket to pay you for the drug you are about the give them. They are in the worst place of their lives and you are taking advantage of that, you're disgusting. How could they have respect for you how could anyone? You literally embody everything they hate about this world and themselves. Then, because they for some how trust you with this horrible, hidden, shameful piece of their life, you in turn sell them something that you just kind threw together without any background or training? You now lack any trace of integrity that may have been left inside you. So we will continue to push... We will fight to have you held accountable for your actions. If you take the chance that your product will kill someone, you should share that death in a way besides a lose of revenue. You should have a record and it should state homicide.

The definition of Homicide is "the deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another"... you do this every single time you sell something you created. You take that risk, you are aware of it and you should be held responsible for it if someone dies as a result. Now, the argument can be made that the user (client) is buying the drugs, they are responsible for what happens... Yes, they do share the responsibility, of course, I am not claiming that they don't. All I'm saying is the dealer, the maker, the mixer (supplier) should also bear the weight of this responsibility. The "client" has died as a result of their decision, price paid. The "supplier" is still alive, still able to make and mix and supply this poison for and to others. Where is the accountability? Where is the punishment? Where is the consequence for their actions? They are not in jail, they are not in the ground, they are not suffering. They are still actively making money from this "job"... This is a problem. Take a look at the bill that is with the codes committee right now at the below link.

"Section 3 adds a new section 125.24 to the penal law establishing the crime of homicide by sale of an opiate controlled substance and making it a class A-1 felony."

"This proposed law would hold drug dealers accountable for the true consequences of their activities and help reduce the availability of these dangerous drugs on our streets. It would give district attorneys a tool to pursue the criminals who are responsible for supplying deadly drugs. Facing the possibility of life imprisonment for selling drugs would be a powerful disincentive to engaging in illegal drug sales. This proposal is designed to punish those individuals involved in the illegal drug trade. It is not intended to punish those individuals who may jointly and simultaneously acquire and possess illegal drugs for joint use with someone who dies of an overdose. Someone who shares the drugs with the victim would still have an incentive to follow the current Good Samaritan law, and try to save someone who overdoses."

When you click on the link above, you will have the option on the right side to support it by clicking "aye"... Please do this... Support this bill, send a message to you representative that you side with this. That these dealers should be held responsible for their actions and the part they play in a overdose leading to the death of a human being, someone who was loved.

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