Catherine Emily had a gypsy soul. She was my wild child. Catherine had many many friends & loved to travel. Seeing sites all over the United States. Catherine was beautiful, smart, funny & caring. People were drawn to her. She was radiant!
Sadly, Catherine was raped in College. I believe that’s when things began to fall apart in her life. She started to partying. Her friends were not the same ones she hung around her whole life. Drinking & bad decisions had now become the forefront. Catherine started to get in trouble with the law. Looking back, it seems like it was a fast spiral spinning out of control from there.
Catherine found heroine. Over the course of 5, what seemed like VERY LONG years, it changed her into someone I did not recognise as my daughter. My sweet, loving baby girl who once stuck to me like glue & called me 10 times a day, was no longer living in my daughter’s body. She didn’t eat well & I’m guessing she didn’t sleep well either. She was skinny & pale. She began to get sores on her face & body. At first she denied her addiction for many years. Often times telling me I was wrong & she wasn’t an addict because she didn’t need it & then try justifying that it didn’t make her sick when she didn’t have it, like it did to other addicts. She became angry & would say horrible things to me, when I offered help. Things you never want to hear from your child. Other times she would ask for help. I think she was becoming tired of who her demon was turning her into as well. So I would RUSH to go pick her up & bring her home. Thinking I could help save her, I would hustle to make phone calls to get her into a rehab as soon as possible. Many of them I couldn’t afford because neither Catherine nor I had insurance. Or the ones that you could get a scholarship for had a waiting list a mile long that would take months to get in to! But nevertheless I always ran to get her, in hopes to help in some way to get her clean & get my baby girl back again. I would feed & shower her & tuck her safe in bed, thinking each time, “THIS time it’s gonna happen!” But unfortunately, she would always leave in the middle of the night & be long gone before I woke up in the morning. My heart was crushed each time!
As a mother of not one addict, but two, your life also changes. You start to live in fear!! Your thoughts become centered around where your child is, who they are with, have they eaten or showered today? Are they alive? You become physically sick from worry. I couldn’t eat or sleep, when I wouldn’t hear from her for days on end. I lost weight & 3 different jobs. My hair started falling out. I got calls from the Police several times when Catherine would overdose & had to be naarcanned back to life. This alone, literally makes you FEAR answering your own phone!! I was at the point of begging Police to arrest her each time this would happen. Pleading with them that she was on probation & if they didn’t arrest her she would go get more drugs & probably die. I just wanted her to have a roof over her head & a few meals in her belly & be clean for a few days. But they would not arrest her, they didn’t care, it wasn’t their child!
FINALLY, after 4 long years of torture with this drug being a demon that stole evterything my little girl once was…
Facing criminal charges, she was arrested in September of 2018. I called & messaged all of her friends that I knew & her father and told them NOT to bail her out this time! I was determined to do what ever it took to save her from herself!!! I pleaded with her lawyer & the district attorneys NOT to let her out on bail but instead to do what’s called a bed to bed transfer. Meaning she would go right from jail to a rehab. We had it all set up for her to go. I was so excited that THIS was going to be the chance she needed to be RID of her demon! Catherine was not, she was angry & bitter, but at this point she had agreed to go. I went to visit her on a Tuesday morning & she was not at the jail. In total panic, I asked them where she was. They said someone had set bail for her & she was released. My heart pounded & I lost my breath. Once again, I would be sucked into the limbo of lifelessness, until I found out my baby was alive & safe. I knew she was bound to use again. I was so angry!!! Angry at the jail, at the lawyer, even at Catherine! I felt like the system had failed us! I STILL feel that way!!
About a week later, I saw Catherine, for what I had no idea, would be our LAST Christmas together. Just 8 short weeks from being released from jail, 3 days after her 26th Birthday, my life would change FOREVER!, she became my angel. 💔 Catherine picked up a packet of drugs that she thought was heroine. It was NOT heroine at all, it was pure fentanyl. She was poisoned & died within minutes of injecting it into her body. 💔
I immediately went to the Police with her phone & demanded that a case be opened & charges be pressed on the dealer she got it from. I worked closely with the DEA for exactly 11 months to the day Catherine passed, before her dealer was arrested. He has now been in jail for 1 year & is awaiting trial. However, he is not being charged with “Drug Induced Homicide,” like he SHOULD be! Unfortunately, we don’t have that law here in Maine. He is ONLY being charged with “Trafficking Leading to Death,” which only carries a 4 year sentence.
This man KNOWINGLY TOOK my childs LIFE by selling her pure fentanyl for profit and is ONLY looking at spending FOUR years of his life behind bars. Our justice system is just not fair & our laws need to change!!!
I can NOT get my daughter Catherine’s life back!! But I have vowed to help end the stigma by Speaking Out to help bring AWARENESS to this awful disease & the lives it takes and those left behind in grief.
Sending gentle hugs of comfort to all the Mamas out there. May you be surrounded by your angels.
You are not alone! ❤💜
Catherine Emily Shepard