Drug addict’s heartbreaking family photo
A family who lost a loved one to drug addiction six months ago is using their grief to spread awareness in a raw social media post that's been shared and republished thousands of times.
Nichole Cicotte, who wrote the initial post and shared the moving photos of family members surrounding a hospital bed, told her followers that the man in the bed was her husband's older brother.
Chris Pennington, 35, from Michigan, US, died on June 1 from an overdose of cocaine and powerful opioid painkiller fentanyl.
"This is addiction," Cicotte, whose post was later published on Love What Matters, wrote on December 6.
"It's a 3am phone call that we knew was coming, but prayed it never would. It's a doctor having to tell another family that their loved one is legally brain dead.
"It's a mother's heart being ripped out from her chest. This is a room (and a whole hospital waiting room) full of brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends beating themselves up that they didn't do more to save you."
Pennington, a father-of-two, had a long history struggling with substance abuse dating back to his teens.
"This is a man who loved with everything he had," she wrote.
"A man who valued family more than anything. A father who adored his children. A son, a brother, a goofy uncle, a friend to anyone who had the pleasure to know him.
"This is 'just one more time' … 'just a little hit' … 'I know my tolerance' … This is six months without you and still not knowing how to process that you're gone.
"This is addiction. Drugs don't love you. Your family and friends do."
Cicotte also edited the post, which has been shared over 15,000 times, to include a link to a Facebook page that her mother-in-law started following her son's death called Parents of Children Who OD'd.
In a tribute to her son, the grieving mother wrote that she hoped the 35-year-old's story would "help someone seek sobriety," and that it would be a sign that "our story has helped someone get sober and have a second chance, not everyone gets one…".
In a follow-up post on her personal page, Cicotte said that she did receive a message from someone who had read her words and was checking into rehab.
"Hate the disease. Love the addict," she wrote.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission