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La Crescenta mother shares story of late daughter to spread word against drug use

February 26, 2014|By Brittany Levine,
  • Elannah Rose Sheklow smiles at her high school graduation. Sheklow died of a heroine overdose, and her mother recently shared her daughter's story at the La Crescenta Library to try to convince local youth to stay away from drugs.
Elannah Rose Sheklow smiles at her high school graduation.… (Courtesy of Hannah…)

Elannah Rose Sheklow’s parents thought they were doing everything right. They had family dinners. They checked their daughter’s homework nightly. They knew her friends. They talked to her about boys, drugs and school.

But at 16 when Sheklow confessed she was smoking heroin and had been using other drugs as well for three years, the La Crescenta family’s “idyllic life was shattered,” mother Hannah Spring Sheklow said.

“I kept wracking my brain,” she told a crowd of more than 100 people who had come to the La Crescenta Library to hear her daughter’s story Monday night. “How had we missed this? We missed a lot.”

After that initial confession, there were attempts at home detoxification, professional detoxification, bouts of rehabilitation and relapse. The Sheklow family was coming apart at the seams. The parents talked of divorce. But, eventually, after the fighting and the fear subsided, things seemed to get back on track, and Elannah Rose Sheklow was her mother’s “baby girl again.”


Then, a month before her 20th birthday, Elannah Rose Sheklow skipped an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to hang out with a friend. She didn’t come home on time. Her parents didn’t know where she was. Her father stayed up waiting in the living room for her return.

Hannah Spring Sheklow remembers a knock at the door that night and then a thud. It sounded like something had fallen to the floor. It was her husband. A woman was at their door to tell them that their daughter’s body was at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.

Elannah Rose Sheklow had used heroin for the first and last time after sobering up. She took her last breaths in a gas station bathroom.

“When she was an infant I had nightmares about bad things happening to her, now I have nightmares about her decomposing body,” Hannah Spring Sheklow said, fighting back tears like many others at the event sponsored by the Crescenta Valley Town Council and its youth counterpart.

Her powerful account of her daughter’s demise prompted several teens to share stories about drug use —mostly heroin and marijuana — that they’d seen at Rosemont Middle School and Crescenta Valley High School. One teen said she had two friends in seventh grade that were smoking pot and cutting themselves. Another said she had an older sister who asked her to keep her drug addiction a secret from their parents.

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