Published 2:55 pm Friday, September 27, 2019
Shonda Faye Williams, 42, of Bogalusa, passed away Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, of an overdose after a very long battle with addiction.
Shonda was born in Bogalusa and grew up in Bush. She was the daughter of Theo (Williams) and the late Thomas ‘Roy’ McLendon of Bush; the sister of Jessica McLendon and Laura (McLendon) Mizell; and the mother of Serena Jerrell and Christan Williams. Shonda was preceded in death by her father, Roy, as well as her grandfather, Theodore Dalcus Williams, and her grandmother, Gloria Faye Ward. She is survived by numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, neices and nephews.
Shonda never truly had an occupation (something we didn’t realize until it came time to fill out her death certificate). She spent most of her adult life a slave to her addiction and the lifestyle that comes with it, doing whatever she could to get by, living day-to-day with no solid plan for the next. Of course, she always had hopes and dreams for her future as well as the ability to fulfill any of them, but they always took the back seat to what demanded her immediate attention most — her addiction, her lifestyle, and the company she kept. Shonda had a heart of gold. Anyone from her childhood could confirm, but even the people she encountered throughout the darker years of her life always said the same. She was kind. She was funny. She was charismatic. She was selfless. She was loyal, and she always tried to find the positives in any situation and focus on those. In turn, doing her best to block out the negatives, which is where her addiction came in to play. Drugs offered an escape from the pain and/or shame of the mistakes she had made in life. When she was high, nothing mattered. She was numb to reality and able to avoid any accountability for her actions. Her intent was never to leave her children behind with family to raise them. She just got lost in that lifestyle of chasing the next high. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned to months, and months turned to years. Before she knew it, her girls were grown. Thanks to a few high points along her journey, a lengthy jail stay, and countless rehab efforts throughout their lives, they did have the opportunity to know their mother sober and appreciate the truly beautiful soul that she was … even though the drugs had already stripped away so much of her.
Shonda never wanted to be an addict. Yes, she chose, of her own free will, to experiment socially with drugs and in turn, became addicted. But in the beginning, years ago, this young, naive woman had no idea what addiction even was or the kind of hold that drugs take on you. The people she knew doing it hadn’t hit rock bottom yet. She had not witnessed friends or family losing everything or seen them lying in a casket. It was still just a form of partying. Shonda’s drug use evolved from Oxycontin to Xanax (or anything else that would numb the pain of reality or being dope-sick) to the drug that eventually took her life- Heroin (and a large amount of synthetic drug added). To say that Shonda is ‘gone too soon’ is most definitely accurate. But to say ‘she passed unexpectedly’ is definitely not the case! Several overdoses within a few short weeks was the tell-tale that this was unlike any other fall-off she’d had before. She knew she had technically died multiple times and been brought back to life by EMT’s, but that did not scare her more than going without the drugs. When family urged her to go to detox or rehab in the days prior to her death, she pushed back insisting she didn’t need it. Maybe she thought she had it under control … or maybe she knew she had no more control and was ready to give up the fight. Either way, her family feels the need to speak the truth surrounding the loss of their loved one. Silence would mean Shonda’s death was in vain, but if one person’s life is saved by her story, we would tell it a million times. We know the pain of her suffering. We know the pain of our own suffering as her family, and we know there are hundreds of other people here in our community suffering as addicts or as loved ones to them. Speaking the truths (no matter how horrific they may be) surrounding the epidemic of drug use may be the difference between life and death for someone. In honor of Shonda’s life, we ask that truth be spoken in regards to what is going on around us and awareness raised.
A memorial for Shonda Williams will be held Saturday, Sept. 28, at Hebron Baptist Church in Bush. Visitation begins at 10 a.m. and a service is to be held at 11:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to the Children’s Department of Hebron Baptist Church. Checks can be made payable to HBC Children’s Department.