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Mother of heroin overdose victim earns praise for blunt death notice

A Massachusetts mother's blunt yet heartfelt tribute after her daughter died from a heroin overdose is spreading around the world via social media and earning praise for its brutal honesty.

Kathleen Errico found her daughter, 23-year-old Kelsey Endicott, dead in her bed on April 2.

Instead of dealing in euphemisms in the death notice, the Haverhill woman came right out and said her daughter "passed away from an accidental overdose."

"For many years, she fought a heroic battle with addiction," Errico wrote. "She had been sober for almost ten months, but her disease still had a powerful hold on her."

Errico continued:

We wish she had recognized the beauty and strength everyone else saw in her. Kelsey did not want to leave this world. She yearned for a life without fear and pain; a life that would permit her to realize that the world was open for her to explore and that change was possible.

During her adolescence, Kelsey hid her vulnerability with meticulously-crafted sarcasm, but in recent years, she had allowed her kindness and compassion to shine - she had found the courage to be herself. It is not true that everything happens for a reason.

The reality of Kelsey's death is devastating, and no possible reason can justify the loss of this beautiful young woman, who had so much to give to the world. Wherever she went, people loved her.

The disease of addiction is merciless. It is up to us to open our minds and hearts to those who are still sick and suffering. Kelsey does not want us to cry for her. She wants us to fight for her. She wants us to fight for her memory and all she believed. She wants us to use our voices to speak up about what is happening to her generation. She wants us to tell her story and never forget she was an amazing young woman with a bright future ... not a statistic.

The death notice and the eulogy Errico gave at her daughter's funeral -- which she also posted on Facebook -- have been shared thousands of times on social media and have garnered international news coverage.

Errico told The Boston Globe that she wrote the death notice hoping to reach others struggling with addiction, and that the feedback she's received has been tremendous. "I can't keep up with the Facebook messages I'm receiving, or the voice-mail messages on the phone. I can't believe it," she told the newspaper.

In her eulogy, Errico called the outpouring of love and support her family has received "beyond overwhelming."

"There were complete strangers that came to her wake because they were in our shoes and just wanted to reach out," she said. "The parents that have lost a child to this epidemic have a bond like no other. I have read countless stories on the webpage about how the honesty has helped so many more than just that one person I was hoping for."