Stories of Resilience: Kelly Hill


“Facing the death of my daughter, I had to be very kind to myself and extremely gentle. The need to people-please is no longer an option.”

When my daughter Kathryn first told me she was addicted to heroin, I was terrified, full of shame, and convinced I could ‘fix’ it. I have two daughters, both born on the same day, but the one who is ‘sick’ got all the attention. I’ve spent thousands of dollars looking for a ‘cure’ only to feel ripped off from treatment centers and so-called experts in addiction. 

For ten years, Kathryn had been in and out of the prison system with a couple of years of sobriety. While incarcerated, Kathryn got to experience three years of stability and sobriety. She told me she was afraid of relapsing upon release. With no after-care when she returned home to Pemberton, that is exactly what happened.

She soon left for the city and was very resourceful in finding ways to fund her habit. I actually miss her dramatic tales of the situations she would find herself in. At the same time, I had to learn the art of detachment. I always maintained weekly communication with her, however, and loved her without judgement. 

The last time I saw her, we went for dinner and she looked good. I hugged her and asked if she ever considered getting clean. She told me that she’d keep it to herself [if she did get clean] for fear of letting me down.

Then, a tragic motor vehicle accident happened on August 16th, 2020 and on August 29th, we made the decision as a family to take Kathryn off life support. I miss her contagious laugh, her loud behavior, and her authentic self, but I am grateful that we were with her when she passed. I am also grateful for friends who wrapped me up in their arms and the kindness of a complete stranger who offered me her condo when I had nowhere to stay while in the city after Kathryn’s passing. I was even grateful for Covid, as it allowed me to cocoon myself in grief. (I have a box of letters from her while she was incarcerated that I have yet to go through.) 

Facing the death of my daughter, I had to be very kind to myself and extremely gentle.  The need to people-please is no longer an option for me. If you have a loved one who is sick with addiction, be kind, be gentle, and set boundaries. Know that they are sick and know that they love you. I even miss the addicted version of Kathryn and would give anything to hold her in my arms again.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.