Now, my step-sister, let's call her C, has had a long history with drugs and mental illness. We have encouraged her over the years to seek treatment, I have done my best to be a positive rolemodel and someone she can turn to for support. In 2008 she was hospitalised for the first time, I don't recall what for exactly. I do remember it affected my performance in teacher's college because I was extremely stressed and upset.
She lived at home for a brief while, but she was erratic. She was violent and very angry towards my brothers and my dad. My step-mom, L, and Dad kicked her out at some point around there. Since then she has lived here and there, in rooming houses, spending some time at shelters, and occasionally affording a bachelor apartment in random slum buildings around the city.
She has been on opiates for years. She has done just about every drug, and was arrested for exchanging sex for drugs in the past. She was never in attendance at family dinners (often wasn't invited because she was constantly high and L & Dad refused to let her around my Niblings while she was in that condition). My husband hadn't even met her (we've been together for 2.5 years) until recently at Easter Dinner.
So, returning to the more recent present: She got pregnant. I am actually surprised that she never got pregnant before this. She is 28, almost 29. She hasn't held a job ever in her life. The father of her child is in his 50s. He has 3 grown kids and grandkids of his own.
Shortly before Canadian Thanksgiving C was admitted to the hospital - she was using, and wasn't taking any medication for her schizophrenia. She stayed there until the baby was born (a beautiful girl born in early April named Cassie). She was allowed visitation at L & Dad's house, and to spend time with her "boyfriend" (I use the word loosely). She was drug tested every time she returned. It was arranged for temporary custody of the baby to go to the Boyfriend's daughter, M.
When the baby was born, C exhibited maternal instincts - attempted to breastfeed, wanted to see her daughter. She was able to see Baby twice a week with a Social Worker in attendance, but C was still in the hospital in the psychiatric ward. C even came to Easter dinner, and I was so excited to see her - she was looking better, and was able to hold a conversation. She met Nyx and Rick, and I felt so happy and hopeful that she would be part of my family again. We even made arrangements for me to bring her over some purses for her to choose from. I had a collection of stuff going for her when she finally got her own apartment.
A few weeks ago, she was released from the hospital and was checked into a half-way home for women. She was meant to stay there, to prove that she can stay clean, and then she would get assistance getting an apartment for her and Cassie.
C. lasted less than 12 hours - she checked herself out that afternoon, and I don't think that anyone has spoken to her since. I am so sad. And heartbroken. I hate that I am likely never going to know my niece (my first niece too!) because her foster mom doesn't know our family. I am hurting so hard inside - I was used to not having C. around. When I tell people how many siblings I have (being the oldest of 7) I included her, but only barely.
Seeing her at Easter, sober, reminded me of the fact that I DO love her. And that I DO care about her. It was like having my family whole again. And I didn't realize that a part was missing.
Now that she's back out of our lives again - she only ever contacts L, and only when she needs money, never anyone else - I feel this sense of loss. I am not only losing her, but I am losing my sense of wholeness for my family. I feel really really sad. I don't even know how to contact her or her foster mom to get to spend some time with my niece.
Thanks for listening <3