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Shawna G.

By Shawna's mom, Rosalie

Shawna Gurule

Denver, Colorado

This is my pain, my anger, my emptiness; although my journey is only just beginning.

On May 25, 1990, I was blessed with having the most beautiful daughter. Shawna was the cutest baby; fat and chubby, and hardly ever cried. I always gave her whatever I could.

From an early age, Shawna was full of life. When she was older, she was a cheerleader and loved playing volleyball, singing, and dancing. Shawna was passionate about hairstyling and was great at it. She would do all her girlfriend’s hair for special occasions.

I dealt with Shawna’s struggles with addiction for years; beginning around 13 or 14 years old, when she was introduced to prescription pills. Consequently, her behavior started to change, affecting our relationship. Shawna was no longer my baby girl that I knew, she was someone else.

Over the years, Shawna tried to clean up her act, not only for her own well-being, but for her newborn son. Then in 2015 she was introduced to heroin by the boyfriend she was living with. He fed into her existing battle with addiction. Shawna hated how overpowering heroin was; she had little control and felt she could not refrain from using.

On January 9, 2016, I received the dreaded call; Shawna had overdosed in the boyfriend’s home and was in critical condition. A mixture of heroin and methamphetamine was found in her system. January 11th, just three days later, Shawna was pronounced dead. My heart is forever shattered into pieces. My sleeping beauty won’t ever wake up.

In the following three months, another girl passed away of an overdose in the same boyfriend's home. Now two beautiful young women are gone, leaving behind their beloved babies. Their children will live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives. My grandson will forever feel the loneliness of growing up without his momma.

Parents who enable their children end up hurting more than just their own child, they hurt others around them. It affects not only their own family but the entire community. Maybe parents will see what is going on and try to understand the seriousness of this disease of addiction. Understanding this, along with the consequential effects of these drugs, can perhaps save our children’s lives. I thought that tough love was the answer, but heroin is no other drug - it's a ruthless killer.

These are my feelings; no names, just facts. I have to talk about these things. Heroin came into our lives and now my baby girl is gone forever. This is what a taste of this drug does. My family will be forever broken.

I pray for all you mother’s out there going through the struggle. Have your stories heard. Say them loudly and help other parents, brothers, sisters, and children through this ugly battle with drugs. Don't enable your children but also don't push them away. I send my prayers and tears for all of our children.


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