A woman in Christchurch has sent this personal account of damage done to her family by alcohol and domestic violence.
I received a call from my youngest sister a few days ago, her voice cracking as she released the words "Mum died this morning".
For many, this would be a traumatic experience but for me, it was just sad, I haven't spoken to my mother since I was 13, which is 14 years ago.
It is sad that she is gone because she had those who loved her and those whom she loved also. My mother was a mere 55 when she took her final breath, which I am told was in her sleep, which I am grateful for.
I have few memories before the age of 7 but I remember my mother being away for six weeks, she was having a "holiday" in Hanmer Springs' AA rehab facility.
She sent me a beautiful red dress with a frilly white collar for my 5th birthday with a card saying she was sorry she couldn't be there for it.
My mother wanted to get better, she wanted to be able to love and care for her five daughters but in the end, the alcohol won.
I was lucky enough to be taken in by my grandparents at 7, along with my two younger sisters.
I know little about my mother's past. I know she was adopted at birth and her biological mother was also an alcoholic.
I know she had been married once before she met my "father", and I can only hope it was not an abusive relationship like the ones she found herself in later in life.
I can only guess that all these things contributed to her succumbing to the disease that claimed her life.
My two older sisters were not as lucky as me. One was told she was old enough to go out on her own at 17 which she did, and the other initially went to live with Dad only to later end up in the system going from foster home to foster home.
I feel for my sisters, they had minimal support in life with no strong role models and were born with addictive DNA. Some would say they never had a chance.
The eldest has been in rehab, it was either that or a jail term. It was unsuccessful and she is still an alcoholic and a drug addict.
The other one is also a drug addict and an alcoholic but she has two young children.
The children are in the system and it is likely they will be removed from their parents' care, much like we were removed from our mother.
Both my older sisters have been in many violent relationships. By violent I mean broken bones and shattered mental health. I would like nothing more than for them to get well and to feel loved but deep down I know I am asking the impossible.
Why does this happen? Three vulnerable women who all needed help, three vulnerable women who slipped through the cracks of society, three vulnerable women who will ultimately be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
There are three very important topics here that need to be addressed; domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health.
These often go hand in hand and are what makes the "perfect storm". When we were removed from our mother's care the system decided to wipe its hands, we were out and that's all that mattered.
My mother needed help but the system had turned its back as she was no longer its problem, much like my older sisters.
I wonder why the men who abused them can go on with their lives, their jobs, with their friends and families. Why don't they suffer or struggle knowing what they have done is wrong?
I have heard many times, women with mental health issues being referred to as crazy bitches, psychos and headcases. The most common reference I have heard from male friends regarding their ex-partners is "crazy bitch syndrome".
I have never worked in mental health and am lucky enough to have never had to struggle with mental health issues but I know the casual use of these slang words can only encourage these problems to be justified as normal and swept under the carpet.
In Christchurch I currently have four close friends (three of them women) on waiting lists to see a counsellor.
They are being told to wait a minimum of eight weeks. I worry every day that they might not get the help they need in time and I worry I am not doing enough to support them.
I don't know who to blame. Is it the system, them, their parents, me? Maybe if I was a better friend, maybe if I supported them more. I don't know but I know something needs to change and I know an eight-week waiting list for those in desperate need of help is not good enough.
We are failing our people, we have one of the highest domestic family violence rates in the world, we have children living in poverty, we have a huge problem with alcohol in New Zealand which seems to be being ignored, and people are dying.
Our new generations are coming through with the same struggles, falling through the cracks, and so the cycle continues.
Whose fault is it?
The writer's name has been withheld.