Lovable, kind, giver, happy, well-liked
“Tonya was like the Sun,” her grandmother, Adrienne said, “She blinded you with her energy and infectious joy.” Tonya loved the beach and concerts, getting her nails and hair done and was passionate about the people she loved. She generously shared what she had, lived in the moment and was happy, bubbly and always laughing; until she started using drugs.
Tonya had an extraordinary gift with children, they gravitated toward her and she gave herself to them completely. “Tonya was good at putting on a carefree, happy-go-lucky façade, but her face showed what her mouth didn’t say,” according to her grandmother. At times, darkness and depression took over and Tonya got bitter with anyone who tried to help. She quit talking with people and isolated herself. “Tonya would be the first to fight with me, Adrienne said, but also the first to fight for me.”
One of Tonya’s biggest accomplishments was being substance free for almost a year. “She was working and thriving,” her grandmother said. She broke away from the man who had encouraged her drug use and was herself again, filled with joy and laughter. But when a good friend died from an overdose, Tonya became despondent and used again. Two days later she died from an overdose.
“It is still hard to understand why she used drugs,” her grandmother said: “She always said she would die young. It angers me that for many, Tonya was just an ‘addict’ a statistic, too weak to help herself.” But Tonya’s friends and family saw a different, lighter side of her. “She just wanted to love and be loved; unfortunately she attracted people who supported her drug use.” Adrienne said, “This family’s life has now forever changed, we must speak out.”
Tonya’s grandmother, Adrienne Powers, provided the information for this narrative
December 2, 1975- December 30, 2018
Age 43- Lived with addiction 12 years