An Ohio mother of two said she shared a photo of her family posing next to the casket of her children's father to highlight the harsh reality of drug addiction.
On September 10, Eva Holland, of Cincinnati, Ohio,posted a picture on Facebook of 26-year-old Mike Settles lying lifeless in a coffin. In the photo, Holland and her two children stand next to Settles' coffin and smile at the camera.
In the Facebook post, Holland said she shared the photo because it shows "the reality of addiction." Holland said Settles died from a heroin overdose, though his family has cautioned that the coroner's office has not confirmed the cause of his death, WKRC-TV reported.
Settles' aunt, Stephanie Evans-Flinchum, told WKRC the family appreciated that Holland posted the picture to "spread awareness and save lives," but thought it was unfair to assume that he died of a "heroin overdose before the coroner's report is released."
Holland said she shared the story "in case it can help anyone else" dealing with addiction.
"If you don't choose recovery every single day this will be your only way out," Holland wrote in the post. "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."
Holland said Settles' addiction started with painkillers which led to heroin use. She said after a stint in rehab last year, he seemed to be improving and was finally the "dad that we all needed him to be again."
"He had found his purpose for living again, he found his gorgeous smile again," she wrote. "He became the man, the son, the brother, the dad that we all needed him to be again."
After taking painkillers for a "toothache," Settles slipped back into addiction, according to Holland.
She said instead of seeking help Settles said he could handle the addiction on his own, according to her Facebook post.
"Well he was wrong, last Wednesday he took his last breath," she wrote. "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."
As of Tuesday, Holland's post had been shared 250,000 times. Holland said since she posted the picture she's received "countless messages and comments from people all over the world."