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Alyssa H.

By Alyssa's mom, Amy

Alyssa Daniels Hagenbaugh

Madison, Wisconsin

Alyssa Daniels Hagenbaugh was born on a mild, Wisconsin winter's day on 2/12/91. I remember she had severe colic and I did everything I could to soothe her. Alyssa had the genetic makeup of addiction on both sides of her family - going back generations. Her first exposure to any type of opioid was at two years old. During a mission trip, battery acid leaked out of a portable TV onto her clothes. Alyssa was given stadol in the ER.

Alyssa was a fun spirit; she was silly and loved to smile and laugh. Fast forward to the age of 12, Alyssa's father and I were divorced. She spent the night at her dad's house and woke up all alone to find her father dead. Alyssa's father had been going to a methadone clinic and was taking Xanax, but I did not know this at the time. Alyssa later blamed herself for his death - imagine a 12 year-old feeling that kind of guilt. I got Alyssa into therapy and after a while she seemed better.

I did not know that she was skipping school and smoking pot while in high school. Alyssa wanted to live with her older sister, Michelle, during Alyssa's senior year of high school and I eventually relented. She seemed to drift away. I thought I was giving Alyssa space to grow up; I had been a nurse for years and was traveling. Time seemed to jump ahead of us, all so quickly. One night I dreamt Alyssa died. It seemed so real.

Two days later her sister called to tell me that Alyssa needed to tell me something. Through her tears, and almost 2,000 miles away, I heard the nightmare truth over a phone: "Mom, I'm a heroin addict."

The next day, Alyssa was on a plane back home and later off to treatment in California. She reluctantly did a 90-day stay. After her insurance was up, the facility kicked her out for fraternizing with a boy from her intensive outpatient program. The next two years was a whirlwind of trying to save her. In 2015, Alyssa impulsively married a man much older than her and who was extremely abusive to her. At one point, she broke her pelvis trying to get away from him. Alyssa started self-medicating for her emotional and physical pains. She agreed to another round of treatment, but it was only for 30 days. My insurance lapsed on her, as I couldn't get some documents to Human Resources by their deadline. Alyssa went to live with her sister right out of treatment but a subsequent overdose took her. Alyssa was found dead on 5/29/16. There is so much more I could say but have left out. My heart is broken.

Alyssa did not see the true nature of her beautiful soul. Deadly drugs demeaned her on a regular basis until that final day.

No more my sweet Angel. You have peace. I'm searching for mine. Alyssa's only sister misses her only sibling beyond measure.


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