Megan Rose Kelley
Megan Rose Kelly, forever 22, was the youngest of four siblings. We called her Megan throughout my pregnancy, so there was no way we could change her name. Megan was a joy to be around; our little blondie with long hair.
From a young age, Megan was helpful and always nice to people. Michele, Megan’s older sister, always relied on Megan, whether it be to ask questions, to call people, to make her something to eat or just be her companion. Growing up, Megan was involved in soccer and Girl Scouts. She was well-liked by everyone who met her.
When Megan was 7, she heard me talk about the Golden Rule a number of times. One day, I asked Megan, “What is the Golden Rule?” Megan replied, “What goes around, comes around.” After thinking about it, I told her, “If you don’t follow the Golden Rule, which is ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ you’re right, what goes around, comes around.” I must have said that phrase way too many times.
Megan, who was a kind and beautiful girl, had a lot of insecurities. In the eighth grade,to better fit in with her peers, Megan started hanging around with people who were drinking to have fun. As things progressively got out of hand, I turned to a social worker for help. I put Megan in counseling and an outpatient drug treatment.
At 14, Megan met a guy who was seven months younger and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Through this destructive relationship, Megan turned to shoplifting and began experimenting with more drugs. By sophomore year of high school, Megan started skipping school, which resulted in truancy charges. My response was letting her know that the next time I found out she had skipped school, I would go to school with her. And, sure enough, the day after spring break in the same year I found myself going back to high school.
I marched into the school’s office and requested Megan’s class schedule. I went into each classroom and introduced myself to all of her teachers. One teacher even said he wished more parents would do the same. I had warned Megan that I was going to wear my worst clothes that day to embarrass her. During lunchtime, Megan told me I didn’t need to eat by her and her friends. I told her, I would stick to her side like glue. By the end of the day, Megan called her dad for a ride home. I told her, “No, I can take you home, we live one mile away.” She cried and told me she was sick of me. I told her I was sick of her too and that if she skipped school again, I’d be sending her grandmother next time. This was enough to stop Megan from skipping school again.
Throughout high school, Megan got into enough trouble where she had to serve time in jail and was court ordered to be on probation for three years. After two years, her probation officer decided to take her off of probation.
Things started to settle down for Megan, until the summer of 2013. I was told that Megan was addicted to prescription painkillers. I confronted Megan, but she denied it. Later that summer, Megan and her boyfriend of four years got into huge argument and broke up. Soon afterwards, she started seeing another guy.
I spoke with Megan multiple times about her addiction, and each time she blew me off. On November 2, 2013, I spent the entire day with Megan and her new boyfriend cleaning my house, which I had moved out. Around 4:30 PM Megan and I both left; Megan went to work and I drove home.
Around 10:10 PM that night, I received a phone call from my sister telling me that Megan’s boyfriend was dead. I couldn’t believe that was possible; I had just spent the entire day with the both of them and didn’t see either Megan or her boyfriend do anything out of the ordinary.
I found out that her boyfriend had been snorting Percocet throughout the day, and died as a result. Shortly afterward, two of his friends showed Megan how to inject heroin. At the time, I had no idea she was addicted to heroin. By March, Megan came to me and asked me to help her by sending her to a rapid detox facility in Detroit. I was reluctant to spend the $7,800, but Megan begged me and said it was a matter of life or death.
After Megan completed detox, she got so sick she ended up having to go to the hospital and was hooked up to an IV. She was diagnosed with pancreatitis, caused by heroin use. This was when I first found out Megan was using heroin, and our nightmare had only just begun.
Three days later, after being discharged from the hospital, Megan was arrested and charged with four felony counts involving heroin. The next day at court I paid $10,000 to bail Megan out.
Over the next five months, I thought Megan was doing great; she was passing all of her drug tests. One night, Megan was stopped by the police because her car windows were too darkly tinted, and was rearrested when they found syringes on her.
Megan spent four months in jail before she was sentenced. During her sentencing, the judge said that heroin was a powerful drug, only to deny Megan a nine-month court-ordered inpatient treatment program for a drug that kills. Four months into her sentence, Megan relapsed, overdosed, and died. My life forever changed that day. Her sentence became a death penalty.
For the past 17 months, I’ve been presenting Megan’s story to other families who have been affected by addiction. I know Megan’s story does make an impact, and I am determined to try to prevent other families from walking in our shoes.