I lost my grandaughter, Elizabeth Jarrard, to overdose

by Betty Schnellenberger

Elizabeth Bryan Jarrard was my first granddaughter so that made her special plus she was my namesake. She had riotous curls every mother wants for her little girl. Elizabeth became an Army brat early born at Ft. Bragg and moving to her dad’s other posts including Alaska and Belgium.

At each move every three years every school district proved more difficult for her academically. When my son in law finally retired to Frisco, TX we hoped she would find her place amount lasting friends at the last high school; however that began her descent into a very dark place.

Elizabeth gravitated to people who wanted to use her but not to the people who loved her.

Outbursts, cursing, depression, staying out all hours, experimenting with marijuana and hanging with the wrong crowd. She began to steal from the house and my daughter had to put a lock on their bedroom door. She and her sister had serious skirmishes.

Over the next few years, there were several hospitalizations with the diagnosis of bi-polar and schizoaffective followed by a host of medications which would sometimes calm her. Then she would stop taking her meds since she said “she couldn’t feel anything”. She said they made her feel like a zombie. Chaos and fear would then again reign in their home.

Another hopeful time began when she met a guy that lived nearby. He was autistic but the two of them seemed like “two peas in a pod”. She became relatively stable during this period….until the fairytale ended. He dumped her and then she spiraled.

My other daughter who is a special Ed teacher got her into an alternative school and she did graduate. Later her so-called friends convinced her to sell her old car and they would go to live in California. They left her in Mexico with no money and it took a long bus ride to get her back home.

My daughter and son in law were able to get her accepted into a treatment facility in Houston. We were all relieved and she she seemed to be doing better. Unfortunately she met a guy 14 years older at that facility and when he left to go back to his home in Louisiana, Elizabeth soon followed. They moved in together; a one room flat in a very seedy part of town.

What we didn’t know was that he wasn’t in the treatment facility for depression, he was in for addiction. All the money sent to her went to feed his habit. The guy went back into treatment, took his car and Elizabeth was left without any transportation, a friend, money or food.

At last Elizabeth reached out to my daughter on a Sunday and said she wanted to come home. My daughter told her that she and her dad would come to get her on Saturday since they had to work that week, not realizing how bad her current living situation really was and her state of mind.

My daughter called her throughout Monday but no answer on her cell phone. Monday evening she called the police to go and do a “wellness check” to be sure she was okay.

It was after midnight before they arrived to find her dead from an overdose. It’s been five years but it feels like today that I got that call from my daughter. It’s changed our whole family. It’s a brokenness that a piece of us is forever missing.

My hope is the demons of mental illness that chased Elizabeth are gone and she has found peace she couldn’t find in this world.

My beautiful granddaughter was only twenty-three years old.

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7 thoughts on “I lost my grandaughter, Elizabeth Jarrard, to overdose”

  1. Your Granddaughter was a beautiful young woman. She died way too soon. I’m so sorry. I’m addicted to narcotics and will be until there’s a cure for me. I have hope. Every time my narcan expires I get more because Worker’s Compensation has to pay for it because I’m on narcotics, but I bring it everywhere with me hoping one day, just one day my narcan can make a difference and then I can by staying at the hospital with them for a little bit to talk. I was always in the helping field until I became permanently disabled. I knew Anne’s son. Charles was great and the work Anne is doing is amazing. It took a lot of courage to write your story. Dealing with mental illness is hard as a parent and as a child. I’m sorry your journey ended this way, but speaking up and telling your story is what we need. We’re looking at a big monster in the war on drugs. I’m calling it a war because it’s no longer a crisis when so many people like your daughter are dying. There’s way too many drugs being made, brought in to this country, and sold illegally. I know arrests are being made, but there’s so many others ready to take their place. A wall certainly isn’t going to stop it all. It’s a start, but then where. You see neither side has the answer. I am frustrated. I’m frustrated Charles passed away and your daughter or granddaughter (I’m sorry) passed away too. Then there’s so many others. There were at least 43 confirmed by the FDA that decided to take their lives due to being forced to be weaned off their needed medication for a medical condition. That was just the ones that they confirmed. I was forced to wean down on my medication to. The CDC apologized and said it wasn’t meant for chronic pain conditions. Others turned to the street or Anne I don’t know if you read all comments or not, but they sell it in cigarette shops and it’s called kratom. It works on opiate receptors in the brain too, but isn’t against the law yet. I didn’t go to street drugs or kratom. I’m sorry I went off topic.

  2. Oh my Dear Betty , your Grandaughter was so Beautiful. Your story broke my Heart. She is at peace now, no more pain. I Dam the demons that stole your Grandaughter. I’m so very sorry 🙏 RIP Elizabeth💫✨💫

  3. Dear Betty, that is so upsetting and I am so sorry you and her family have had to feel that pain. We had a very similar situation with my son, and he was only 25 and was beautiful as well. He was depressed and took his life alone in an apartment in New York. He was scheduled to come home for Christmas and then we were going up to help him with his apartment after the holidays. We sent his cousin to check on him and they found him with detectives. It was 7 years ago.
    I think of your daughter and you, and hope that you both have had good support as you have found your way forward without beautiful Elizabeth.

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