By: Jen Boyd
It has been said that there are only two certainties in life. One is that you are born. The other is that you will die.
Most people would agree, there aren’t too many life events more profound than having a baby or burying a loved one.
Early last year, I gave birth to my first child at the age of thirty nine, after years of battling mental health and addiction issues and declarations that I would NEVER have children.
Earlier this year, my high school best friend, who had walked the same path of self-annihilation as me, died at the age of forty.
Lou* and I both hit our treacherous paths while still in our teens and attending a respected Melbourne all girls private school together. By the time we had both left school, our addictions were free to reign and a parasitic lifestyle had firmly taken root.
Our lives would continue to merge and divert over the years until finally, we lost complete contact. I never stopped feeling a connection to her or wondering where she was at, which is remarkable in itself when one is consumed by heroin. Never has a more potent drug, overflowing with numbing and narcissistic qualities existed . With no evidence to the contrary, and in spite of the lives we were living, I felt strongly that she was still alive.
But I started to wonder if in hanging onto hope for Lou’s survival, I was also actually fighting for my own. And once I completed a ten month stint in a residential rehab, I was certain of nothing any more except that the earth had kept spinning whilst I had played out my Sleeping Beauty fantasy. That it was now a different world. I wondered for a while if oblivion was the better option, because how do you resurface from below and begin breathing the air of land mammals again?