Updated: Oct 7, 2020
One of the reasons we bought our house was for the staircase. I had envisioned the girls coming down the stairs in their graduation gowns and wedding lenghas (Indian Bridal dress). Over the years, we have laughed, cried, argued, made plans, and dreamt many dreams on these stairs. Never in my wildest dreams did I visualize Lilly’s FINAL decent down the stairs in this manner.
After two hours of waiting, the detective and medical examiner finally came to the house. We were asked to go downstairs and wait. The detective was talking about us not being able to see Lilly until the funeral. Nonsense! I would not hear of it! This was Lilly’s home and she was going to leave her home in a dignified and respectable manner. I demanded we be given ample time to say our goodbyes and send her off with love.
As we waited downstairs, Lilly’s rehab counselor had made his way to the house. We were able to piece together how she procured the drugs, her activities over the past few months, and who she had been hanging out with. In rehab, they request the family to stay out of their recovering child’s way. We have to let them figure things out on their own versus being a helicopter parent trying to control their actions and activities. We are taught the 3 Cs: We didn’t Cause it, We can’t Control it, and We can’t Cure it. If she was using, it would come out in the wash. One of her peers would have eventually said something. That never happened!
In 2019, we found out about Lilly’s mental health spiraling and drug usage when she overdosed and ended up in the hospital. During this period she was living with a group of sober girls from rehab. No one said a thing! This time, we found out after she died. Again, none of her peers who knew she was using came forward. No one said a word to the counselors. What happened to not being a helicopter parent and things coming out in the wash? I don’t blame anyone for Lilly’s death but ME. I knew she was using. I had confronted her about it in June. As usual, she vehemently denied using. I knew she was spiraling. We had increased the psychologist sessions to twice a week. I knew her mental health was out of control. We had looked at another facility that treated mental health. We had an appointment scheduled for July 20th. I should have gone back to being that HELICOPTER MUM! I could have Controlled and Cured it!
Lilly was brought down the staircase by the police, detective, and medical examiner. They placed her stretcher at the foot of the stairs. We gathered around her, tears silently rolling down all our faces. Her dad and I whispered prayers in her ears and took our time hugging her and talking to her. I sprinkled Ganga Jal (holy water) all over her and said various prayers. Her dad and I stepped out of the way and let her sisters hug her, say their prayers, and goodbyes. We accompanied Lilly to the ambulance. I’ll never forget the sound of the doors shutting! We all collapsed on the front porch stairs in shock. We just sat there in confusion, denial, and silence not knowing what to do next.