Family photo with corpse shows devastation of heroin abuse
Eva Holland decided to spread awareness about heroin addiction by sharing an unflinching photo on Facebook and Instagram of Holland and her children smiling next to her husband's corpse at his funeral. In the caption of the photo, Holland wrote:
"If you don't choose recovery every single day this will be your only way out."
Holland wrote in the image caption that her husband would certainly laugh if he saw the unsettling family photo as he always made fun of her for taking too many photos. She wrote:
"I guarantee Mike was in heaven laughing as we took our final family photo. I used to drive him crazy taking multiple selfies of us trying to get a good one. Tonight was no different. Between the tears I just couldn't get it right. So even our final photo had to have a re-take. Thanks for giving the kids strength and being there for us tonight."
As Mike died of a heroin overdose, Holland wants the world to see everything heroin can rob people of. As Mike lays in his coffin, his wife and children are left without a husband and father. There will be no more complete family photos. In the photo's caption, Holland wrote:
"I'm sure this photo makes a lot of people uncomfortable [and] it may even piss a few people off but the main reason I took it was to show the reality of addiction. I know a lot of people may be upset I'm putting it out in the open like this but hiding the facts is only going to keep this epidemic going. The cold hard truth is heroin kills. You may think it will never happen to you but guess what, that's what Mike thought too."
The photo has been shared nearly 280,000 times in five days. Holland wrote that Mike even went to rehab last year to try to fight his addiction. Holland wrote of Mike's return home after rehab:
"He had found his purpose for living again, he found his gorgeous smile again. He became the man, the son, the brother, the dad that we all needed him to be again."
However, after taking a "single pill" for a toothache a few months ago, Mike relapsed. Holland wrote:
"He said he could handle it, that he could stop on his own and didn't need to get help again. Well he was wrong, last Wednesday he took his last breath. My kids' father, the man I loved since I was a kid, a great son and a great person lost his battle. I just needed to share his story in case it can help anyone else."
Holland added another Facebook post about eight hours after sharing the photo. In the post, Holland wrote that she had posted the photo in two heroin support groups and that people seemed to really appreciate it and were sharing it rapidly. She wrote:
"I've received countless messages and comments from people all over the world. Talking about the problem is truly helping. I've had people tell me that his story stopped them from using and others who say it's motivating them to continue their recovery, even if ... just for the day, this is saving lives."
It turns out, Holland's somewhat uncomfortable photo really is saving lives. Holland wrote on Facebook that two days after she posted the photo, a woman ran up to her in tears on a street in Cincinnati, claiming that the photo saved her life. Holland wrote:
"[She] asked if she could hug me. She said, 'I am heroin addicted and was going to try and overdose last night but then I [saw] your post and you saved my life. I can never thank you enough!' So we stood there hugging each other crying. This right here is what it's all about."
Holland wants to express that heroin addiction starts with a choice. By choosing not to try it, people can eliminate a devastating gamble with death. Holland wrote:
"This was preventable. It didn't have to happen but one wrong choice destroyed his family... He never would've imagined his life would turn out this way. He was once so happy and full of life. He was a great son, brother, friend but most importantly he was a great dad. He loved those kids more than anything. But as we all know sometimes life gets tough and we make some wrong choices."
Holland wrote that "No parent should have to bury their child" and "no child as young as ours should have to bury their parent." Hopefully her photo will continue to serve as a wake-up call for people struggling with the same addiction Mike suffered from. Her post is saving lives one Facebook share at a time.
Watch this video to learn more about Americans' increasing use of heroin:
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