During September of 2016, she overdosed, and was left to die by those around her. It wasn't until 12 hours had passed that they called an ambulance, because they feared getting in trouble themselves. Now she's spent the past year laying in a hospital bed, in a vegetative state with less chance of recovery everyday. Tiffy had started hanging out with this crowd a couple months before, her boyfriend being included in it. She started to estrange herself from friends and family, and when we did get word from her it was of despair and fear. She was so scared of her future, and felt that she didn't deserve the good things right out of her reach. We tried to encourage her from afar by helping her with her college applications, being with her on holidays, and showing her that there was life away from our family and Miami, as well as fighting our mentally abusive and negligent dad to treat her better, but there was only so much we could all do from our various corners of the county. We had not realized she had developed a drug addiction to cope with this until it was too late.
Although she had not been in this new crowd long, she considered these people friends, people she felt safe with and trusted in a home where those feelings were impossible. In the end, they chose their own self-preservation over the life of my sister. I wish everyday that things had worked out differently, and that the life of my sister hadn't rested on the choices of children while the adults responsible for her ignored her. Life is short, and is to be lived with the opportunity for happiness and freedom – not in a hospital bed in a vegetative state.
Tiffany Jewel Ricardo was born February 17, 1998. Since the origin of her existence, she has brought another level of light, love, and compassion into this world. When we were young, we used to refer to Tiffany as the “Tiffy Monster” because her tantrums and stubbornness. She always wore a tight ponytail and hung out with her friends doing various sports and pool days. I’ve always been the older sister, but looked up to her in many ways. Tiffany was always and grew into an even more beautiful, vibrant young lady; people always wanted to be around her and she brought her vision of helping people to life in every moment possible. From consistent community service, where she worked to help nurture the lives of kids with disabilities, to mentoring her own younger peers, she always went above and beyond for her community and loved ones. When our grandmother's health declined due to heart problems, she took the pain of seeing her in that state and the love she had for her and put it towards a new dream, to become a heart surgeon. She had high standards for herself and the world she lived in, and sometimes this made it hard for her to deal with the difficulties that arose. She had a habit of refusing to accept things as they were, and instead would fight to change them until they were right and fair. Honestly, it was pretty intense, but I always admired her passion and belief and knew she was destined for success.
As we grow up and encounter the many hurdles of life, we all face times of darkness and struggle. Some cope different ways than others; and in Miami the accessibility of quick fixes puts everyone, especially the youth at risk. We've seen it happen to everyone and anyone, friends and family, rich and poor, “happy” and “sad”. It’s like that moment in life where your walking back home; you see a storm quickly moving in from the south, cold winds start rushing in and night is nearing. You’re trying to run as quickly as you can down the street, you’re moving too fast, too caught up in wanting to stay dry that you forget to look both ways. A car hits you, or it doesn’t. Unfortunately it’s not just our decisions, but things that are left to chance can cost us our life or the life of a loved one. Please, if this is you, or you suspect that this is your loved one, reach out. Sometimes it's as simple as knowing someone actually cares, and that you are not as alone as you feel.
We need to spread the awareness to our youth that one bad decision can matter; the quick escape or easier way out is not the right choice. That even if you feel alone, people who encourage this are not your friends. You are worth more, you deserve a good and happy life, and things WILL get better, but not if you look in the wrong places.
I have lost my little sister, my other half that I fought many battles with and climbed up the mountain of life with. I cannot trade places with her, I cannot change what has happened, I cannot undo her decisions. I can help her move on and end the suffering that neither she nor anyone is this situation deserves. She is vegetative, unable to live like a 19 year old or anybody should. She lies in the hospital bed every day, decaying. Tiffany was full of life, adventure, compassion, love, hope. She would’ve wanted to live her life, to thrive, not to be barely alive.
Why we need your help:
With the money we raise, we will hire an attorney whom has extensive knowledge of guardianship legislation for the state of Florida to assist us in obtaining guardianship of Tiffy so that we are able to move forward in processing a DNR, and letting her finally pass on. We have not been able to do this due to a dispute with our father who refuses to let this happen, either out of his own guilt or denial. My sisters and I have always been each others main family, we were always by each others side when parents were nowhere to be found and we kept each other going and fighting. We understand what Tiffany would've wanted without a doubt, and I hope you can find it in your heart to help us with our cause.
I think about my life with Tiffany every day and how blessed I was to have her in it. It’s hard not to feel pain and agony with her lifeless in a hospital bed unable to communicate or create any more beautiful moments doing the things she enjoyed most. It’s been more than a year since her last prognosis of relatively no chance of recovery because of the loss of oxygen to her brain that she suffered. I was reluctant at first to share what happened, but it’s important for you and everyone that is going to support us to know how quickly one decision can take away a precious and incredible life of a young woman that would’ve impacted, inspired, and help change the lives of others.
Thank you for your support, please don’t hesitate to ask any questions and god bless.
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