GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Molly Reid’s nightmare became a reality early in the early morning hours of Oct. 30.
Her phone rang, delivering the heartbreaking news that her daughter’s struggle with drugs was over. Heroin had won.
“Meghan’s dead,” Reid said. “They are bone-chilling words that you never want to hear and the sights that we saw after that are sights that you never want to see, especially (when it’s) one of your children.”
Meghan Reid was 23 years old when she overdosed on heroin.
“She was a dancer, she loved music. She loved people. She did gymnastics,” Reid recalled as she held back tears. “She played sports, she was a track runner, a volleyball player. She had passion for life and what she loved to do. She loved her friends.”
Reid sifted through photographs, which is all she has left to show others the vibrant smile of her formerly vivacious daughter.
“It’s beyond difficult to sit here and look at these,” Reid said. “I wish I had even a few more minutes with her.”
Molly and her long-time boyfriend Doug Chapman, who Meghan called her stepfather, believe it was the past that led her to a life of addiction.
Meghan’s father killed himself when she was just 9 years old. She was also a victim of molestation.
“I believe that the numbness, taking away the pain of her own pain from… these struggles that she had, losing her dad and being a victim of another crime, things like that probably were things that set the groundwork for where her head was at, as far as her own personal space and why she wanted to help other people,” Molly Reid said.
“She made poor choices,” added Chapman. “But the other thing: she clung to people that had problems. She wanted to make everyone feel better. And she clung to those times, trying to help them but then it came to the point, she couldn’t help herself.”
In May of this year, Meghan cried out to her parents for help with a call in the middle of the night. The couple traveled across the state to come home and take Meghan immediately to a rehabilitation facility.
“That kind of started a process where she checked herself in and we got her into Pine Rest (Christian Mental Health Services),” Reid said. “Then she checked herself out and we weren’t even told she was let go. The hospital didn’t call us. So she was left out on the street because she signed herself out or she was able to be let go. She wasn’t ready to be let go.”
Reid described her anger and frustration with navigating the system as she and Chapman fought to save their daughter after her release. Reid said she spent all day trying to get a petition to have Meghan checked out.
“That just ended up being kind of a mess,” Reid said. “They told me that she didn’t have a problem and they let her go.”
“We are going to carry guilt, I’m sure, (for) the rest of our lives because of things we feel we failed to do,” Chapman said as he held Reid’s hand.
Chapman, a Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office employee, knows loss well.
“(On) Aug. 11 of 2005, I was a working (as a) road sergeant in Shiawassee County, and I lost my daughter to a traffic crash one mile from my home. That I thought I would never survive,” Chapman said. “A perfect kid from the word go. Because of my family friends, partners at work, I was able to get through it. I went through a divorce and then I met Molly and after meeting Molly we just connected because Molly, too, suffered tragedy.
“The moment I met Meghan, I got this good feeling, it was like she filled a void for me and she was my special little angel,” Chapman said. “As a youngster, she had a great life. Her mom did everything for those kids — her older daughter and her son — to get them the proper help they needed to get through this (their father’s suicide) and she is awesome and is to this day. And so I’m thinking to myself, ‘What the heck did I ever do or we ever do to deserve this?'”
Chapman tried to share his experience with Meghan in hopes of saving her. On Sept. 7, 2016 he had her sit in on the daily session of the Shiawassee County Drug Court where he worked.
Afterward, he tried to convince her to stay at his house in Vernon and serve as a nurse’s aide as she worked toward the nursing degree she was interested in. His only condition was no boyfriend. Meghan’s parents believed her current love interest was taking her down a dangerous road.
“I said, ‘Other than that, you have your own place,'” Chapman said. “She said, ‘OK, I’m going to give it some thought,’ and then we stayed in touch and she was doing really good.”
Five days before she died, Meghan sent a text message to Chapman. She was ready to take him up on his offer.
“It said, ‘I made my decision. I want to come there. I want to get out of this environment that I’m in, I want to get away from the dirty and I want to start over,'” Chapman recollected. “I said, ‘OK, we’re going to make it happen.’ And it didn’t happen soon enough.”
“I will probably have to work through my own ‘what ifs’ and my own guilt … by trying to get others to become aware of the problem and get on board with what we need to do to make changes and help other people,” Reid said, tears fresh in her eyes. “I believe that’s how we need to channel it.”
Chapman and Reid’s fight for Meghan is not over. Though she rests beside her dad at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery in Southfield, they want her pleas for help to reach others who are affected by drug use.
“We are going to be Meghan’s voice now,” Chapman said. “We have to make a positive out of this negative. And with the help of all of our friends, all of our family, all of the professional people that we know, I’m hoping that we can put our heads together. If we can save one person, it’s worth it. It’s worth it.”