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Squamish and the opioid crisis: Letter to my daughter — Forever 15

This is a letter from Brenda Doherty to her daughter Steffanie Lawrence who died of toxic drug poisoning in 2018.

Editor's note: this is a letter from Brenda Doherty to her daughter Steffanie Lawrence who died of toxic drug poisoning in 2018.

It's been five years since fentanyl took you from me. The day they told me you were gone was the worst day of my life.

For five years, I don't sleep at night; I wake up constantly looking for you. When I get up in the morning, the first thing I think of is, "How will I get through this day?"

For five years, my smiles aren't real, but the hole in my soul is very real.

For five years, I haven't had a hug from you or heard your cheeky comments.

I never got to see you learn to drive. 

I never got to see you graduate with your class. I won't ever help you plan your wedding.

Won't ever see you raise your children. There is a whole lifetime of memories that I will miss.

I've learned how to "survive" without you; I had no choice. I haven't quite figured out how to "live" again: how to smile and mean it. 

I am still lost in life. I am not sure who I am without you. 

However, I do know where I belong, with your family.

Without you, there is so much missing from my life. 

So much loss.

You were there one day and gone the next. Forever. 

Letting go is not easy for me, and I am not sure I will ever be able to do it.

Today I will get up and carry on without you, because I don't have a choice. 

Just know that I will always love you and miss you with everything I am.

Forever your Momma. 


Brenda Doherty


This article is part of an in-depth, provincewide journalistic effort by Glacier Media to examine the scope, costs and toll of the opioid and toxic drug crisis in British Columbia – a public health emergency that has taken at least 11,807 lives since 2016. If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911. If you need help with substance abuse, call the B.C. government's alcohol and drug information and referral service at 1-800-663-1441. It's available 24 hours a day.

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