The woman pictured above is my friend Sara. Thirty-three years old, single mother of two girls, and financially independent. We became friends shortly after I moved to Florida almost four years ago. We were never very close friends, but Sara has always been very kind and generous to me. She looked out for me back when I was a naive newcomer to Florida who didn’t yet know how to deal with all of the crazy wackos around here. And when I was injured and temporarily unable to work three years ago, she told me that I was welcome to as much money in her bank account as I needed.
Sara had recently appeared on my mind when I suddenly realized that I had not seen nor heard from her in several months. I hadn’t even seen so much as a single Facebook post from her in months. I got curious as to where she was and what she was up to. As luck would have it, I happened to run across two of her close friends a few nights ago. In fact, they were watching a video of her on one of their iPhones and I recognized Sara’s loud booming voice coming from the video. I mentioned that I hadn’t heard a word from Sara in quite awhile and asked what she had been up to these days. They looked at me with sad serious eyes and said, “She’s dying.”
Sara is a loud, flamboyant, Puerto Rican party girl who loves to drink and get rowdy and have a good time. She is as tough as nails and never takes shit from ANYONE. I was already aware that Sara liked to drink and smoke weed a lot. But I was NOT aware that she was also addicted to cocaine and Xanax pills. And as you may or may not already know, alcohol, cocaine, and Xanax do not mix.
Apparently sometime back in February, Sara took a near fatal hit of cocaine and Xanax that severely damaged her brain. She has been in a coma in a nursing home since then hooked up to life support machines. Every once in awhile, she opens her eyes and makes gurgling sounds, but the neurologist who is overseeing her says that she cannot see and has no conscious awareness of anything. Her level of brain activity is little to nothing. Even if she were to somehow miraculously wake from her coma, her brain has been so severely damaged that she would never be the same Sara that we all knew ever again. And after being hooked up to life support machines for several months, her brain and body are further deteriorating.
So now this once lively, animated, tough mother of two is now a vegetable lying in a nursing home. All because she let the fast life of drugs, partying, and money in SoFla suck her in. I feel so sorry for her two young daughters who are losing their mother at such a young age and whose lives will never be the same ever again. It must be absolutely horrible for them to see their mother lying unconscious in a hospital bed like that, wishing for her to wake up. And to compound matters further, Sara’s mother is an ultra religious “pro-life” Catholic who believes that removing a brain dead person from life support is “murder”, so she plans to keep Sara’s unconscious body hooked up to those machines forever…although I’m quite sure that the nursing home and the insurance company that is paying for her medical care won’t be agreeing to that plan. The way I see it, Sara is already dead. Her spirit has already left her body and gone somewhere else, and all that’s left of her is an empty, deteriorating shell.
Sadly, Sara is not the first friend I have lost to drugs, and I’m sure she won’t be the last, either. I have had several other friends over the years who suddenly died from drug overdoses. I have another (former) friend who is still alive but also has a serious addiction to alcohol and cocaine. We are no longer friends anymore, because once I realized that she was drunk every single day by 10 AM and that she was snorting up $500 worth of cocaine every week, I kicked her out of my circle of friends and told her to seek some help. But addicts hate being told that they have a problem and that they need help, so she angrily lashed out at me when I hit her with the truth and has never forgiven me for it. I recently ran into her again after not having seen or spoken to her in almost three years, and she is still as butthurt over it as if it happened only yesterday. She snarled at me to stay out of her way and told me “How dare you call me a drug addict!” Well if you don’t want to be called an alcoholic or a drug addict, then don’t get completely hammered everyday and don’t snort half a week’s paycheck worth of cocaine every week……DUHHH!!! She may be still alive, but I can clearly see that she is very quickly spiraling down towards her death, and I highly doubt she will live to see her 30th birthday. Mutual friends have told me that anymore she often gets so drunk that she has no memory of where she was or what she did the previous day. She will undoubtedly meet with the same fate that Sara did.
I keep seeing all of these people I have known suddenly drop dead in the prime of their lives, and it makes me reflect on my own life and mortality. And at the same time, it also reminds me that I must be doing something right since I am still here and they are not. Sara was a tough, strong, vibrant woman who probably felt that she was invincible, and yet drugs still easily took her down in an instant. I’m sure that many of my other young friends who died from drug overdoses probably thought that they were in full control and that their drug use would never kill them, either. One of them was found dead in his college dorm room. Another was found in his car. A friend of mine recently lost one of his closest friends after he was found dead in a truck stop restroom from a drug overdose. Still think drugs are fun and harmless?? Drugs do not care if you are still young or if you have children dependent on you. Drugs have no conscience, and they will KILL you without any consideration of your age, your status in life, or the other people in your life who love and depend on you. Aren’t drugs so much fun and awesome???
Sara was a single mother of two daughters who worked smart and had plenty of her own money. Her most important purpose in her life was to raise those two girls of hers. That’s why I’m so disappointed that she allowed herself to get sucked into drug and alcohol addiction. For many years, she had a long term boyfriend she cohabited with who was good to her daughters and kept her stable and grounded. He was a redneck guy from Loxahatchee….kind of simple and quiet and never said much, but he kept her grounded. He definitely was not the type of person who was into drugs. So I’m guessing that this is something she must have gotten into after they split up and she began getting involved with other men. This is the reason why I am so selective of who I keep company with, because bad people can influence you and quickly drag you down with them just like they did to Sara. If I had known that Sara was addicted to pills and cocaine, I would have stopped associating with her completely, because there is no room in my life for people who abuse drugs and alcohol. But I never saw her high on drugs, so I wasn’t aware that she was using them.
I am sick and tired of seeing my friends and acquaintances die young from drugs. It’s a stupid, shameful waste of life. I have no idea what makes so many people so Hell-bent on sticking needles into their arms, snorting drugs up their noses, and altering their brains so that they have no comprehension of real life. I’m sure that a lot of it is probably their way of coping with pain in their lives. However, I have experienced far more than my fair share of pain in my life, and yet I have never once felt an urge to put drugs into my body. Maybe I just deal with pain in other unhealthy ways, I don’t know. Their tragic self-induced deaths have only made me even more determined to stay on the straight and narrow path. I have never used drugs, and I never intend to. I barely even drink alcohol anymore. I drank plenty back in college and in my twenties, but the thrill of it is pretty much gone for me anymore. I just don’t get much enjoyment out of it anymore.
I’m well aware that a lot of people in SoFla look down on me as being “boring”, “lame”, prudish”, and “uptight” because I’m not much into the party scene and don’t drink or use drugs. And that’s just damn fine with me. I may be “lame” and “boring”, but at least I will live to see age 40. I have come across A LOT of young people in SoFla who I highly doubt will live to see their 30th birthdays. They are only in their early twenties and already deep into alcoholism, drug addictions, and other risky lifestyle behaviors. There’s a good reason why I often describe south Floridians as “walking corpses” who “already have one foot in the grave”. It’s because within five minutes of meeting and talking with them, I can already quickly tell that their minds are empty and that their souls are already gone. They are just empty shells walking around, going through each day on a steady diet of alcohol, cocaine, pills, house music, and selfies. They have no real hobbies or passions in life….nothing that drives them to fulfill a purpose or reach some kind of enlightenment. Their only concerns are how much money they can make and spend, how good they look, and getting drunk and high. That’s it. A lot of people think that using drugs is fun and awesome and cool and glamorous, but it’s not fun, awesome, cool, or glamorous when you become a vegetable in a nursing home while you’re still young or when you are buried six feet under the ground. So if there is anyone reading this who is abusing drugs and still thinks that nothing bad will happen to you, then by all means keep on doing what you’re doing. But mark my words, your days are numbered.
I am sorry that Sara’s life is already over after only 33 years. I am sorry that she fell into the trap of this fast and glamorous Miami lifestyle that so many others have fallen into and that I myself fight daily to keep myself separated from. The woman who often said no one or nothing could ever get the best of her is now gone, and I’m still here. It’s kind of hard for me to believe. Maybe I’m stronger than I thought.
Rest in peace, Sara. I will keep on keeping on. And if you should ever return to Earth in a new body as a new person, please don’t make this same mistake again the next time.
In closing, here is a song from many years ago that I used to like. The news of Sara’s death brought this song to my mind again.