Submitted by Brittney’s mother, Carolyn
What Brittney was like
Brittney was a lover of children. She touched the hearts of every child and parent she came across. Her smile was infectious, as well as her personality. She was caring and never made anyone feel like an outsider. Brittney had always been a hard worker. She bought her first car by herself when she was 16. She moved out at 18 and did very well for herself. She wanted to be a pediatric nurse. She had long, bright blond hair that was beautiful. She loved to tan in the summer. When she became a mom, it came naturally. She was a nanny to many children. She always had a way with the babies. She watched her own baby in awe while noting every one of her milestones and firsts.
Becoming a mother was her most joyful accomplishment
Brittney would want to be remembered as loving her baby, Hollyn, more than anything in the world. There was a time where Hollyn was eating spaghetti, and it was just everywhere. Brittney took a video because it was so funny. She always said she was never going to let Hollyn feed herself, because it was so messy.
How drugs became part of her life
Brittney was introduced to heroin by her boyfriend in 2013 and she immediately overdosed. I didn’t even find out about that until a year later. In November of 2018, at her baby shower, a friend pointed out that she had track marks on her arms and in her hands. I never got to confront her, because the day I was going to talk with her she went into labor. Hollyn was born with NAS (neonatal abstinence syndrome), but that didn’t stop Brittney from using and using lies to cover up the truth. She never told me the severity of her addiction. Yet despite the truth being in front of me, I denied that she ever had a problem.
She hid it from us
After Hollyn was born, they came to live with me. The first month was awful. She was mean and hateful. She didn’t want to be here with us. She was detoxing, had a newborn and had lost everything.
By the third month, she was improving and began having more patience with Hollyn. She later started drug classes two times a week, got a job and even was working on repairing her mess-ups with money. For seven months, she was showing me that she could get back on her feet.
She never told me her true struggles. We grew close over those 10 months — so close. I’m still shocked. She had a secret addiction. She did it in our home, always in the bathroom. I found out after she passed away. She had texts on her phone where she said she was going to the bathroom to shoot up.
We spent the day she died together
Just her, Hollyn and me. She died at the house on a Saturday night. This was a rarity, that we could just have a day for us. We shopped at Goodwill, then Tiny Tadpoles, a consignment store. We smiled and admired the smocked outfits we could imagine Hollyn in. We picked up a bag of jeans from a friend that we would never get to go through together and finally picked up her sister from the pumpkin patch she worked at. While picking up her sister, I turned to Brittney and told her I was so grateful that we got to spend the day together and that we should do it more often. I’ll always have that time.
When Brittney died, she had just showered, her towel was around her and her hair still wet. We found her. It was the most traumatic night of my life. She had lost too much oxygen and was brain-dead. We tried so hard to bring her back. She stayed on life support for three days.
You were my baby girl for so long
Brittney, I love you so much. It was just me and you, kiddo, for years. Why didn’t you just tell me? I know that with our love and your love for Hollyn, we could have beat this! I taught you to be strong!