Her family hopes that her last words will help others avoid the same fate. #RIPStephanieMEvanko
Lots of people think about death and the afterlife including Stephanie M. Evanko of Lancaster, PA. Evanko died at the young age of 32. Her parents, when publishing her funeral notice online included a copy of a letter she wrote as a self-obituary piece to them expressing how she felt:
"To My family and Friends: I'm sorry that I'm such a Mess, I deserve all the evil words spoken to me, and all the time I've been disappointed."
Stephanie's battle with addiction had strained the family as she shares in her own writing. For Stephanie, the reality of what her choices could lead to included dying too young — and she was aware of the cost it would place on her family.
Like many other families who love people who are struggling through the cycle of addiction, you want them to get better. But while waiting, families become too familiar with the emotional and psychological tension and financial stress addiction brings. It's not just an individual problem.
Addiction is a family disease. Loved ones with family members who have addiction problems worrying over complications from long-term use. For that pain, Stephanie shared how much she regretted putting them through it all in the form of self-condolence:
"All sorts of emotions my mother will feel, and at time ask herself can this be real? Everyday she'll feel anger and sorrow, trying to reassure my daughter there's always tomorrow. My father would probably be filled with regret, and do things with Savannah he didn't do with me, until all his goals are met. My sister would be disappointed & cry, she'd pray to God for the answers to Why? My brother-in-law would be the backbone, and hold his family when they sob & they moan."
Stephanie had been battling addiction for 17 years before she died on February 25, 2017, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at the Lehigh Valley Medical Center. She was a mother to young daughter, who will have to grow up without her mother.
As a mother, despite her addiction, she remained intuitively connected with the impact her death would have on her daughter:
"Mommy was a drug addict and that why she is Dead" my daughter will say, along with broken memories of me in her head. She'll go & visit my grave and constantly question just why I couldn't behave. Didn't I love her, wasn't that enough making her feelings and trying to be tough. The holiday will come year after year & pass after I die, all because I was selfish & wanted to get high."
Although death can come as a surprise, her family anticipated that she would leave them too soon. And, for that reason, Evanko thought of death more often than most because truthfully, she cared, but she couldn't control her disease.
She took her thoughts to paper and penned her own last words to express the anguish she felt about who she was and what she hoped to be, but failed in her letter:
"I hate the person that I have become, running from life and wanting to be numb. I ask myself over and over what will it take, I can't keep living this way, not only for me but for my daughter's sake."
When a family watches a loved one struggle with addiction, it's heartbreaking. But when you watch what you once were and become yourself, it's even harder to accept:
"I do all the things I say I won't do, my dreams & goals (YEAH). I threw them away too. I always claim that I'm a Mother, when in reality I act like a child, and constantly chase "ONE MORE" another. Every time I look into Savannah's eyes, my heart breaks more because of all the lies, I hate the person that I have become, running from life and wanting to be numb."