Wednesday, August 23, 2017

My Daughter Died From an Overdose. I’m Sharing Her Story to Help Others.

by Michelle Schwartzmier
Michelle and Casey

“Tell them my story.”

My 20-year-old daughter Casey said these words to me not long before she died of an accidental heroin overdose on January 15, 2017.

She said that if something were ever to happen to her, she’d want me to write an honest obituary about her struggles with addiction. I trembled at the thought of this. “I would want to help someone else. To make them feel less alone” she explained. “Even if it’s just one person.”

About a week later, in our home — in the same room where we had tea parties and bedtime stories, slumber parties and mother-daughter nights with Snapchats and long talks — she overdosed.

Now seven months later, as I walk through that room every day, memories of a little girl dancing with her younger brother and snuggling with her dog are overshadowed by images of CPR and tears.

Casey overdosed sitting next to her packed suitcase. She was supposed to leave for rehab the next day. She wanted to try again, to make a better life, to live. She had hope. I had hope.

Six days later it was over. She died in the hospital. The same hospital where I work as a radiology technician.

It was time for me to keep my promise, to fulfill Casey’s last wish, and write her obituary with the transparency that we had discussed. So I did.
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