Beautiful, big-hearted, funny, adventurous, animal lover
Katie was an adventurous, smart, jokester with a wicked sense of humor and a zest for fun. She was fiery and outspoken standing up for the underdog in any situation. Another side of her was gentle, sensitive and insightful.
Katie was an equestrian, passionate about her horse, being with Pony Club friends and competing in Eventing and Dressage. She also loved to travel, visiting unknown places and trying interesting new foods. Katie was drawn to animals needing love, and talked her parents into rescuing Kit, her Shiba Inu and soul mate. Katie’s dream was to live abroad with lots of horses and dogs.
Katie would often call her mom, and ask if she was hungry, which Cathy said was code for “buy me some food, Mom.” When her parents went shopping Katie would ask to “go with,” another ploy to sneak things in the cart to get them paid for; “it was fun to see her try to get her way,” Cathy said. The family took many wonderful trips together, but a favorite memory is of the time Katie, her brother and dad camped in the North Carolina Mountains. Between the hornets and bad food, the trip is one that her dad and brother still laugh about.
After high school, Katie went to UNC Charlotte for a year and after a trip to San Francisco, she began researching a transfer to UC Berkeley in California. And then life came to a halt because of her addiction. Cathy states: “Her future was wide open, she was just figuring out what she wanted to do.” Even as her addiction took over, Katie showed deep love for her family; “that love was her gift to all of us,” her mother said.
Some of the most grueling times during Katie’s active addiction were “watching her go from being hopeful after treatment, to despair after relapse,” her mother said. Katie overdosed several times and the stress of not knowing what would happen was overwhelming. At times Katie turned her back on her family so she could use without having to deal with their concerns. Even then, Katie played a huge role in helping her brother get sober and turn his life in the right direction.
Living with a loved one suffering from substance use disorder was the most difficult challenge the family ever faced. “The stress kept us up at night and my brain now immediately goes to the worst-case scenario in any situation because I know the worst CAN happen,” said Katie’s mother. The family tried everything they knew to help Katie, from stays in rehab to therapists and after-care situations. Even though they were struggling to help their children overcome addiction, the family felt stigmatized by their community. The love of family and close friends was invaluable and kept them going. They are now more empathetic about what parents of substance users go through and realize it is nothing that they did; they know this illness is not a choice anyone makes.
Katie’s mother, Cathy Moses, provided the information for this narrative.
January 30, 1996 – May 30, 2016
Age 20 – Lived with addiction two years