The phone call that no parent wants to receive came on November 10, 2016 at approximately 8:15 AM, the day that forever changed our lives. If we knew more, questioned more, educated ourselves, the outcome could possibly be different.
Tori made decent grades during her first year (2012-2013) at Virginia Wesleyan College, nothing to write home about, but we were happy that she was happy. She was meeting new friends and getting into the swing of college life. Her volleyball season was not as planned, however, she was or we thought she was in a good place in her life.
After her first day of volleyball practice in her 2nd year of college, she decided to quit the VWC volleyball team. Her reasons were, she just didn’t want to play anymore and was burned out. We were okay with that and just wanted her to be happy and get a degree. Maybe then we should have questioned her more, as we knew volleyball was her love. We still beat ourselves up over this type of thing all the time. Please friends, parents, etc, question your kids no matter what and if you do question them and they give you an answer, don’t always believe them. If you think something seems different about them, more than likely your intuition is correct.
Tori’s grades declined tremendously in her 2nd year of college and we saw less and less of her. We failed to see the signs! She gave up her love of volleyball, her grades were declining and she alienated herself from her friends and family. At some point during her second year of college, we drug tested her and somehow, she showed no signs of drugs in her system. The following summer she worked as many hours as she could and came home just often enough to give her family the love and gratification that was needed to ensure that she was okay.
She also lost her grandmother that summer, which was a very difficult time for her. She entered her 3rd year at VWC in the fall of 2014. We as parents knew something was not right, however we completely missed all of the signs. Immediately, upon her 3rd year she was skipping classes, her grades were at rock bottom and it was recommended that she quit the semester. In November of 2014, she quit school and moved back home. We knew something was not right, however we were not able to see the signs. They were all around us and we did not see them. After all she graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA.
Today, she has been gone for 142 days. Heroin laced with fentanyl took her life. In summary, Tori’s story could have been different! We were not educated on the signs of addiction, therefore we missed it! We also looked at her near perfect life and were convinced that she was not capable of participating in any type of drug use. Please take the time to educate yourself and others about addiction, share her story and make it your goal to save a life. We all know someone!
A big huge thank you to those that continue to share her story! In this unimaginable event that was life altering for us, we know that her beauty shines and that her story will save the lives of others.