Photo submitted by
Stephanie Corinne Hales
Tell us about your loved one.
A letter to one of Mandy's NA friends:
Sorry for the delay in getting this to you. I am so grateful that you were there at Mandyâ€™s viewing. Itâ€™s very strange for me to know Mandyâ€™s gone, but Iâ€™m glad she doesn't hurt anymore. Iâ€™m glad she had a short time to know what it was like to have a regular life. I knew there would be a day where sheâ€™d be gone long before I would, but knowing did not make it any easier. I never expected hers would be the first obituary Iâ€™d write. Thank you for letting me know my family and I were not the only ones trying to help her.
We got the autopsy report back this week. It confirmed the combination of meth and alcohol was the cause of death. Part of me wanted to believe this wasn't the case, but I knew better. I didn't want Mandy to be just another statistic. Iâ€™m hoping this will impact someone elseâ€™s life in steering them away from drug abuse.
Although I cannot personally understand addiction, I have witnessed multiple other people just as close to me as Mandy go through the same thing. I know the battle is internal and one of the most difficult, constant fights a person can experience. All I know is my family and I wonâ€™t allow ourselves to give up on those going through this fight. Once we do, the person has lost half the battle.
I pray this letter finds you well. I pray you and I will both find the peace we are looking for. Most of all, I pray that we can create so much good in the world from losing Mandy.
Mandy was abusing pills as a young teenager and had moved to meth and heroin by the time she was 21. By then, she had also lost custody of her two girls who were younger than 2-years-old. When her girls became teenagers themselves, their only dream was to meet their birth mom. They sadly finally met Mandy at her viewing.
Mandy was strong and clean for the last 9 months of her life. She was starting to work on her GED, had her first job, and had hope in her eyes. "
Tell us about Amanda's struggle with addiction
Mandy was strong and clean for the last 9 months of her life. She was starting to work on her GED, had her first job, and had hope in her eyes. The summer of 2012 was the first time Mandy, our younger sister Vanessa, and our mom were together in years. It would also be our last summer with her. Before that summer, the last time I saw Mandy was so heartbreaking. She was strungout and had no idea who I was.
Mandy faced jail and prison sentences for her drug abuse. At one point of her being out, she lived in a basement ""apartment"" of a ""fourplex"" in Ogden. I include the quotations because this house had no real separate apartments. The four kitchens and four bathrooms made it seem like a fourplex, but all four sections were accessible to each other with no real privacy. Mandy lived in the worst of the four sections. I know this because my boss, a real estate agent, has been in charge of the now bank-owned house. I've walked through the house, taking inspections every other week, and came to view it as her addiction manifested as a building. A couple weeks ago I begged my boss to do the inspections on this house for me. It was too much and took hours to recover from the anger that house brought out. My fantastic and understanding boss asked no questions and took on the burden for me. It doesn't matter that this is not where Mandy ended up, just knowing she was in such a horrid place
The last night Mandy was alive, she got in a fight with her boyfriend. They were both drinking heavily, and Mandy left the house at about 1 am. She walked to her dad's house where Nessa was staying. Nessa had been struggling with heroin herself for years and was facing a similar path. Mandy begged Nessa to talk with her, but Ness asked her to come back tomorrow when she was sober. This haunts Ness, because the next person Mandy went to was a cousin who sold drugs, which he offered to Mandy. The meth combined with the alcohol was enough to kill her."
What made Amanda smile?
There are two versions of Mandy. She had two worlds, one with us. Nessa and Mandy's blood relatives for the most part were/are recovering addicts/paroles/felons/dead before age 40. One cousin emancipated herself before age 17 and moved to California to avoid such a fate.
My mom and their dad were together for a few years, but after they split, the girls were still considered to be my sisters. They look like my mom than I do. People think I was the adopted one.
During the funeral, it became clear how unwelcome the blood relatives were towards my family. Some blamed my mom for her death (even though the cousin who gave her the drugs showed up with no blame). My 19-year-old brother, who adored Mandy probably more than he adored me, asked us all to stop fighting, it wasn't what Mandy would want. An aunt interrupted him, yelling Mandy fought over a pair of jeans. She had to fight to survive them, but was a peacemaker among us. One world didn't fully know the other."
What do you miss most about Amanda?
Amanda, translated into Latin, is "loveable". Even at her worst, our Mandy was always loved by everyone who met her. Mandy's greatest talent was her ability to love and laugh. Her laughter was infectious. Mandy's green eyes and golden curls could have you wrapped around her finger. Mandy lived a tumultuous life, struggled with many things and had attained a measure of normalcy in her last year.
Mandy suddenly passed away November 8, 2012 and is now among the angels she loved. She will be deeply missed by all who loved her more than she ever knew. She is now reunited with Gramma ""Weezie""; Granny; sister, Nicole; uncles, Tony and Rick and many others.
Mandy had three children who she cherished with all her heart, Marissa, Mariah and Chaz; she is also survived by her mother, Robyn; ""other mom"". Carrie; Gramma Sharon; father, Rex; ""other father"" Louie; sisters, Vanessa, Stephanie; brothers, Bo, Tyler, and Brady; many aunts, uncles and cousins who she adored."