The war on drugs has hidden victims, babies and kids pushed under the rug, in hopes they will just go away. Tiny babies born addicted to heroin and Percocet, Oxy and Fentanyl.
I know one. She came into this world sick. Dog sick. Dope sick. You’ve never seen sick until you’ve seen dope sick. I can hardly imagine being born that sick. I’ve seen grown men in tears and puking and shaking, near death, from being dope sick. It’s hard for me to fathom this happening to a baby.
The little girl is six months old now. We can’t use her name or picture. Child Protective Services won’t allow it. They don’t want it discussed. I wish they would allow the story to grow and not the stigma, but saddens me. Saddens me greatly. Truth be told it infuriates me, but that serves no good at all.
We can’t raise money either, not much. It seems people would rather donate money to somebody’s sick cat than a little girl born addicted to heroin. Don’t get me wrong, I love cats, but this situation is a little more dire. A lot more dire.
This little girl is a fighter, tougher than any man I ever met. Maybe tougher than any ten men. Surgeries and tracheotomies and seizure meds and god knows what else to follow, but I saw a picture of her holding onto her grandmas finger like it was her life line, it is.
Her Grandma JoEllen, I can use her name. We don’t have to pretend the grandma doesn’t exist, just the addicted baby. The grandma is real. She is almost as tough as the unnamed baby. She runs a cleaning business, and works in a bar. She has turned her home and life upside down, but it’s never about her. It’s about the granddaughter.
Long after the novelty of being “the grandma” has lost its appeal, now that we are down to the nuts and bolts of this life, because that is exactly what this is now, it a life about another life and JoEllen’s old life no longer exists, down in the the shitty diapers and crying and screaming life exists my hero, JoEllen.
It gives me hope for this broken and selfish and shallow world that people like “the grandma” still exist. The people who don’t care about the idiocy of government red tape and endless regulation. She doesn’t care about some imposed stigma attached to this baby because the mom, now in jail, made some bad decisions that led to a life out of control.
There are people who are selfless enough to throw it all up in the air and not caring where it lands and how it lands or even if it lands, they get off their asses and do what needs to be done.
When I meet people like JoEllen I think there may be hope for us all. A slim hope, but hope nonetheless. Maybe if we all could step up to the plate when called. Maybe if we could embrace our courage and not our cowardice. Maybe stories like this little girl’s story could serve to educate and lead to a solution to a problem that is heartbreaking, but simply put under the rug, to be ignored and forgotten.