The title kind of sums this post up.
I was feeling particularly positive yesterday, having turned over a new leaf and feeling refreshed about my blog and writing as a whole, and making important decisions.
Then Elder answered the phone.
It was a friend of ours, whose daughter we are also friends with. J and I were very close in Medway, she is a few years younger than me, and at first I thought she was an "airhead, gobby chav" and she thought I was a "snobby up my own arse know it all". You know how I know that- because she told me and I told her! She was the girlfriend (later ex and Mother of child) of a friend of Elders, and over time we got quite friendly. We have always been very different.
Since last year, sadly, J has rather gone down hill. It seemed that she got involved with the wrong sort of people, and I felt bad for kind of deserting her by moving away. It felt like when we moved, our "group" dissolved without us at the centre of it, very much in the Mum and Dad role, and whilst everyone else has got on with it, some have visited us, including J, but everytime I would see her, or talk to her, I noticed a change.
Now, growing up where I am from, I can spot someone who is a little too fond of drugs a mile off. Their faces change, they lose weight, they get ratty one minute than its 100 miles an hour, mega watt happiness the next. They have no control anymore.
I last saw her at Christmas, and from the moment she walked in, I knew things were not as they should be. Don't get me wrong, the same old gobby bubbly J was there, but the shine in her eyes had disappeared, her formerly gym toned figure had withered away. Her teeth had started to rot.
I asked her what was going on, told her she could tell me anything, I wouldn't be cross, but if I could help her, I wanted her to give me the chance, as a friend. I told her I wasn't a fool, you're teeth don't just fall out for no reason. Nor does your hair.
She swore to me that she had neglected her dentist, there was nothing wrong with her, she swore to me.
I knew she was lying.
There wasn't much I could do. You can't make someone tell you they're a drug addict, you can't make them let you help them.
Off she went.
Then she went missing.
For months we had no idea where she was, what she was doing. I worried, often, between Elder and another mutual friend that maybe the worst had happened, maybe we'd get that phone call.
Out of the blue, months later, she appeared online.
She had been sent to prison, for 4 months, was "clean". She had had enough of drugs, and running away, she wanted a new start.
We made plans to move her here, set her up in college, get her healthy again. I told her about the nursery schools and activities for young Mums, the support she could get here. That she could have a fresh start.
She had a few months of curfew to get through, and then she'd ask her Key worker to help her move here. Healthy, clean and back to herself. I breathed a sigh of relief, kept thinking I'd get my friend back.
It lasted three weeks.
She cut the Curfew bracelet off, and went on the run, disappearing one minute and posting pictures of herself that made me cry with shock at how ill she looked the next.
She talked in a language I didn't understand any more, running with this guy and that girl, in London, and Surrey and back in Kent.
I felt like we had lost her. She sent me a message, blaming her Dad for her troubles, telling me it was everyone's fault, everyone had let her down. No one understood, or wanted to understand. She hated us all and we hated her too.
It made me cross. I received it, sent at 1am from God knows where and for God knows what reason, at 6.30am. I had been up most of the night with Littlest, who felt that it was a great idea not to go to sleep at all. So I was grumpy, and tired, and not in the mood for being told it was mine and everyone else's fault for someone I thought the world of, who I joked with about the mess we'd see junkies in when we were pregnant and shopping for blue and pink baby gear in town, being a junkie themself.
I really told her off. Told her she was selfish, that she had such a lovely boy, a loving Dad who'd do anything for her, friends who cared like she'd never know, everyone rallying, thinking she was dead at times. But no, none of us cared, we all couldn't care less. The times her Dad had cried to us down the phone, the times I had told Elder I thought my friend would die of an overdose, or worse.
I was so angry. I hit send and then wondered if I made a mistake.
No. She messaged me almost instantly back and said sorry. But that she didn't realise how much we cared about her.
Then she went missing again.
I heard she had been pushed down stairs at a night club and had broken her leg, that she was in Surrey. She asked if she could stay at ours, but how could I let her? I knew she had stolen from her family. I couldn't let her stay, not with her mood swings, her drug use, not with my children in the house. I don't let anyone smoke in my home. Much less allow them to use drugs of any kind.
I know she was angry, saw it as a snub, thought I didn't care. She even tried messaging Elder the same.
Her Dad was on the end of the line yesterday.
She is in prison again.
We don't know what for. Or how long.
Her Dad couldn't believe how she looked. She has been stabbed, covered in cuts and bruises. She nearly died in hospital, they had to bring her back.
I can't get my head around my bright, beautiful friend, who I laughed with for hours, was there a mere hour after she gave birth, now someone I don't recognise. Someone that the life has been drained from.
Someone who I am scared that I am going to lose. Someone who I couldn't sleep for worrying about last night, I love my friend. I had such hopes for her, for our children to grow up together.
The last person who I thought this would happen to.
The guilt is indescribable.
Because no matter what, there's not much any one of us, for all the love and care we have for her, can do.
She has to do it herself. But my fear is that she has given up.
And if the worst thing happens, I don't know if I can stand it.
So, J, we love you. Please, please, don't leave us, any of us. You are so loved, the bright, funny, ballsy girl I met in Kent. Where have you gone? What can we do to make it better? Whatever you need, we'll help you, all of us. We want you back to "you" so much. It hurts to see you like that, to see a picture of you then and you now. I don't even know who that person, the faceless, so skinny you can see your bones, girl who is hiding our J inside. You're like a shell. The light has gone out and it sucks because you were always so fiery, so caring, so careful with your appearance and your health and your finances. I miss you so much. We all do.
I'm sorry this is a bit of a hard post to read as it is to write.