“Be My Junkie Shadow”: An update on the women, eleven years later
Alisha said she was ready to go, that she had had enough, and she meant it. The last time I spoke to her, Alisha had already exited and I was looking into vacant eyes as I asked her questions that she no longer could comprehend or answer. She died of dementia. RIP sweet Alisha. Thank you for your contribution.
Angel died from HIV related symptoms. I visited her a couple times in ICU in the hospital before she passed. She was not able to speak yet she squeezed my hand as I spoke to her. She came to life for a bit and everyone was hopeful that Angel was coming back and she was as feisty as ever yet it was more like the eye of the storm and within days she passed. Bless you Angel and thank you for helping me learn to express love.
Denise, sigh, rest in peace my dear. Her and I became quite close friends and I had the most hope for her to get out of the hood. She also had hope and wanted desperately to get back to her sons. She was such a bright well spoken kind woman. She had cleaned up, had her teeth worked on, had an operation on her hip, was growing her hair long and was looking amazing. Yet she relapsed and when someone gets clean and then uses again their body tolerance changes and her body could not deal with the amount of drug intake. I was heartbroken to hear of her passing and I think about her often as her spirit speaks to me.
Josey and I have been good friends since we met on the street over 10 years ago. Her birthday is May 11th and if I am in the country I like to take her out to the beach just to get out of the hood and into nature. We often have a campfire and a couple of beers and even went on a dinghy ride one time to the island at a special spot I take her to which I call 'girl beach'. On her 40th birthday I arranged a party for her on the beach which involved a group of great women friends, guitar and singing, roses and unicorns (Josey likes unicorns). I wrote her a song and sang it to her 'Oh Lordy, Josey's turning 40' - she has the lyrics framed on her wall and has an album of pics from our birthday celebrations. Josey did not celebrate her birthday until she was 16, so there is a little bit of making up to do. I have loads of respect for Josey. She has been part of a few documentaries that I worked on and also helped me find people who had stories to tell. I look forward to seeing her when I get back to Canada.
I have learned heaps from Josey as well as the other women from the hood who taught me unconditional love and to actually tell someone that you love them as some of these wonderful women did to me. What a gift. I am so grateful.
Since I no longer frequent the hood except to see Josey, I do not know the whereabouts of Wendy or Bernadette or Nicole. I would love to know how they are doing. I did see Wendy quite often when I went to the neighbourhood and really enjoyed meeting and catching up with her. Sometimes I ran into Bernadette as well. One of her daughters is also living in the hood and going down a similar path. I hope they are all doing well and wish them peace, love and hope.