A Pennsylvania mother wrote a very candid obituary after her daughter died of a heroin overdose.
Casey Schwartzmier, 20, died on Jan. 15 after battling a heroin addiction.
"She was funny and full of life and she was a drug addict," Casey's mother, Michelle Schwartzmier, told WPXI.
Michelle says that she was aware of her daughter's heroin addiction and that she tried her best to get her the help she needed. Casey was set to fly out to California to get help before she passed away.
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"Her suitcase is still packed," Michelle said. "She was really driving hard for this. She meant it."
The mother says she believes her daughter did heroin the night before leaving to get treatment because "she wasn't enjoying this life."
Despite being devastated by the loss, Michelle says she had to fulfill one last promise she made to her daughter: to share her story.
"She wanted to share her story if anything ever happened to her to maybe help someone else," the mother said.
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Michelle kept her promise. She wrote a very candid and honest obituary, which was posted on Legacy.com:
Casey Marie Schwartzmier, 20, of Ross Township, passed away Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, accidental heroin overdose after a long brave battle with addiction. She was the daughter of Richard and Michelle (Waldorf) Schwartzmier; sister of Eric Schwartzmier; granddaughter of Mary (Planic) and the late Richard F. Schwartzmier and Jerome B. Waldorf; and also survived by many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Casey never wanted to be defined only by her addiction and mistakes, she was so much more than that. She made it clear if she was to ever pass as a result of it, she wanted people to know the truth with the hope that honesty about her death could help break the stigma about addicts and get people talking about the problem of addiction that is taking away so many young lives. Casey was a beautiful, intelligent child of the suburbs who fell into its grip. It can happen to anyone. She was feisty and outspoken but would do anything for anyone and always lit up the room with her smile and sense of humor, even while struggling with her demons. She loved her family deeply, wanted to adopt every animal she saw and play with every child she came across.
Casey believed strongly in second chances, maybe because she craved another chance for herself and other addicts, so she donated her life saving organs to give someone else, a second chance at life. That was Casey: this amazing woman should be remembered for this and not her mistakes. Casey believed that hiding her cause of death would help no one, but if her story could help just one addict push even harder for another day of sobriety, encourage an active user to choose recovery or shine a light on this horrible epidemic, then it would be worth coming out of the shadows. She was very open about her struggles and now is not the time to change that. This strong attitude with a fierce drive and loving beautiful heart that wanted to help other addicts even in death is one of the many things that she can be defined by, not her addiction.
Casey wanted to live. She had dreams of a future career, children of her own and fought hard all the way until the end, one day away from entering rehab, but couldn't break the chains of this demon that's wiping out a generation. Addiction doesn't discriminate, it will take hold and destroy anyone in its path, including the families and people who love them. Addiction hides in the faces of everyday people all around us. Casey isn't just another statistic or just ‘another one gone too soon,’ she was a great heart with a bright future and a gift that the world lost and can never be replaced. So the best way to honor Casey, is for people who read this or knew her to think twice before you judge an addict.
Michelle hopes that the obituary will help somebody who may be struggling with the same problem.
The mother says writing such an honest and open obituary was extremely hard for her.
"It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," she said. "It was so hard. I wanted to honor her memory. I hope I hit the right words because I feel like Casey was helping me write that."