Patrichia Rose

My little sister, Patrichia Rose, died as a baby due to severe heart issues related to FAS. I was nine when she was born. I stole bottles of wine for my mom because she wanted me to. I wanted her to be happy and not kill me, so I did it, even when she didn't ask. I helped kill my sister. I feel so bad about that. Shortly after that, my mom was put in prison.

My mom has FASD, and is very ill with alcoholism. She has been sick so long, that I don't have any good memories of her at all. My mom is slowly loosing her mind and her body is failing.

I watched my mom drink through many pregnancies. She began to drink at 12 or earlier and had her first baby 5 months after her 13th birthday. I was her third baby at 16, and she had 6 babies before she was 25. I knew it was wrong somehow. I knew that that was bad for babies by seeing what it did to my mom. I would always steal wine for my mom because that is what she wanted. I wanted love but she wanted wine.

I remember the day of Patrichia's funeral. I was sitting on the steps of my school with my sister Jennifer waiting for my mom to pick us up. Teachers where walking by saying stuff like, "Well, you sure don't look like you're going to a funeral." At the time I had no idea what they meant. Now I do. We wore the same clothes pretty much all the time. They never were washed, so we went to her funeral dirty and smelly. I remember standing by this big huge green carpet with a white object on it. The sun was so bright that day, everything sparkeled. It was a cool crisp day in autumn I think. The pastor said something about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and I looked around wondering if this was the valley becaue there where so many shadows. I wondered why my sister was being buried in an ice chest. I thought maybe because my mom had a lot of those for her beer, it would be something to remember us by. I know now that it was a small white cheap casket for poor babies.

After she died, my mom got a doll from a store, and she said that our sister hadn't died, that it was a joke. She said that this doll was our sister. So she took take care this doll as if it where a baby, when she wasn't drinking. When she was drinking, she would lay the doll on her bed where I would sneak in and see her. I would hold her and rock her and kiss her. I was confused, but it just felt so much easier then the pain I felt.

I know it's not my fault. I was too young to save my sister. But it hurts so bad when I think of her. I wonder if she heard my voice or if she remembers. I wonder if she loves me and forgives me. Most of all I wonder who is taking care of her sweet baby soul now? Who rocks her and feeds her and loves her and washes her? I love my sister and I miss her.

Me and my siblings were all exposed to alcohol. I know that this could have very easily been me or my other sisters and brothers. Some of my siblings' kids have FASD. I am raising two of my nieces and they have FASD. I adopted them and took them so they would not grow up in foster homes as I did. Some days I dont feel as if I have the strength to go on one more day. I have to though, for my children.

-- Stephanie

"When I die I'm going to dance first in all the galaxies...
I'm gonna play and dance and sing."
-- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying

Return to FAS STARS page