Eva Holland and Mike Settles met at school when they were only 15. They had an instant connection – one that would last for over a decade. They were young, they were in love, and they had already started to imagine their lives together.
When they were old enough to get married, they started a family. They had two children and saw themselves growing old and watching their children grow up. They knew each other’s aspirations and dreams, and were working towards a brighter future together as a couple.
But Mike had a battle that he couldn’t fight alone. Mike was an addict.
It started one day and spiraled quickly out of control. Mike tried to get help for his addiction, and his on-and-off battle seemed like it would never end. Mike didn’t want to get help. He knew that he could do it alone.
His wife is now left behind with two children to care and provide for because her husband thought “it could never happen to me.”
She posted this shocking photograph online and saw it shared over half a million times. There were mixed reviews when people saw it. Some thought it was disrespectful to the person that Mike was. Some thought that it was refreshing to see that this man had a family that cared about even, right up until the end. Some saw this reality as a reflection of their own possible future and got help for their own addictions immediately.
Eva wrote this note accompanying the picture, and I can see why so many people shared this story so quickly.
I’m sure this photo makes a lot of people uncomfortable it may even piss a few people off but the main reason I took it was to show the reality of addiction. If you don’t choose recovery every single day this will be your only way out. No parent should have to bury their child and no child as young as ours should have to bury their parent. This was preventable it didn’t have to happen but one wrong choice destroyed his family.
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. We were together 11 years. I was there before it all started. I knew what he wanted out of this life, all his hopes and dreams. 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.
His addiction started off with pain pills then inevitably heroin. He loved us all so much he decided enough was enough and went to rehab at the end of last year. He got out right before Christmas as a brand new man. 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.
He did so good for so long but then a couple months ago It started with a single pill for a “tooth ache” which inevitably lead him back down the road of addiction instead of staying the coarse of recovery. 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.”
Wow. Eva is an incredible mother, a supportive wife, and an even stronger mother. It took a lot of guts to put her story out there. She’s not only teaching her children the realities of addiction, but she’s showing them that their father was a man worth respecting. He may be gone, but his struggle lives on, encouraging others to try their hardest in life during the short time that we all have on this Earth.
Although it is unsettling to look at, this picture is a snapshot of a family overcoming grief and looking forward instead of focusing on the past. This picture is inspiring, in its own way, and I hope that it can help others to overcome their own struggles.
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