A few months ago, my then 16-year-old little sister Mickey almost overdosed.
I pulled into the drive my of my house around 5:30 that evening. I had just driven 3 and 1/2 hours from where I am living to where the rest of my family was, whom I haven’t seen in about 4 months. My littlest siblings were so excited to see me, the 10-year-old wrapping herself around my leg and the 12-year-old wrapping his arms around my neck. Mickey came outside to greet me, and all was well. We sat down to have dinner, and everyone was happy. It was rare that our family dinner would occur without fights or debates, but this particular one was quite lovely. My father joked with all of us and I was quizzed about my last semester of college as a freshman. After dinner we all disband and went about our night.
I stayed up until around 12:30 in the morning watching a few TV episodes I had missed since I don’t own a TV. I shut everything down and walked upstairs and ran into Mickey. We said good night and passed each other, and for a moment I thought to myself “Maybe I should give her a big hug good night and not let go until she complains.” But, we had already passed, so I dismissed the thought and crawled into the bed I had missed so much.
About an hour or two later, I wake up to talking downstairs. I hear a deep male voice asking if anyone was home, and a female voice saying no. Immediately I thought the 10-year-old had answered the door for a stranger and panic arose. I jumped out of bed and ran to the banister. When I looked down, I saw Mickey and a police officer in the doorway. I walked downstairs and introduced myself, to which he responded with a request to get our parents. I sent Michaela back to wake my parents up and they tiredly came out of their room. I don’t remember all that was said, but I remember the officer looking at me and asking if I had been on Facebook. I looked at him confused and said no, so he turned to Mickey and asked her. She had the same reaction and response as me. He took out a notepad and asked a few more questions. I thought someone called the police to our house on accident or as a prank, until he asked if anyone had taken pills. He then went on to explain that some boy from Arizona called about a possible OD at this location.
My sister started nervously fumbling with her words, denying everything that was asked or said. The officer then asked me to fetch Mickey’s phone and computer. I did so, knowing where this was going. As my father and the officer sifted through her phone, I remembered about all of the problems we had with her and her online friends from all over North America. She didn’t exactly have friends in high school, and to her our parents were the enemy. So she would turn to people online, which we lectured her so many different times that it was dangerous.
It immediately became apparent that she was conversing with a boy from Arizona, and about an hour before she sent him a Facebook message of a long poem about suicide and pills. I looked at my little sister and she began crying. Soon the truth began pouring out. I was just sitting on the stairs, my head in my hands, not listening to a word. I pulled her onto the stairs with me and wrapped my arms around her.
Her phone began ringing, and it was a number form Arizona. My father answered and went into the library, the police officer following. By that time two more officers entered our house as well as some firemen and EMTs. I remember my sister getting the pill bottle that she had taken, I remember hearing the sweet boy on the phone explaining things and saying how sorry he was that he had caused so much trouble. I remember sitting on the steps, watching my little sister being stopped down to a gurney and taken out of the house. I remember my mom looking at me and saying “I have been waiting for this to happen. I knew it was going to. It was a matter of time.” And I remember being left in the dark.
There are still so many unanswered questions. We don’t know exactly how many she took. We don’t know when she took them, or why she took them. Mickey has said that she remembers counting out 37, but she doesn’t think she took them all. She describes that moment as being in a haze, as if she was having an out-of-body experience, as if she couldn’t consciously control what she was doing. I don’t know if I believe her, but it is the only thing that makes sense.
Around 5:30 in the morning, my mother called from the hospital and asked me to pick her up. I drove there, my mind blank. I parked at the front doors, under the emergency sign. I began thinking about what I had done that evening. I should have given her that hug. I should have talked to her more. I should have never left her out of my sight. Maybe, if I had hugged her, she would have been okay.
I remember being in the car with my mother, crying my eyes out because my little sister was in pain and I never knew it.
Right now, three months later, my sister is in counseling and is hopefully doing better. She refuses to talk about that night and likes to pretend it didn’t happen. But it did, and we all know it. I still don’t know why she was hurting, I don’t know if she still is. I just hope I can be a good big sister this time.