Kathleen Errico, of Haverhill, Mass., found her 23-year-old daughter dead of a heroin overdose two weeks ago. In the days that followed, she knew what she had to do. She had to ignore the “died suddenly” code words and write about her daughter’s life the way her daughter’s life was.
So she wrote this:
ENDICOTT, Kelsey Grace Age 23, passed away on April 2, 2016, from an accidental overdose. For many years, she fought a heroic battle with addiction. She had been sober for almost ten months, but her disease still had a powerful hold on her.
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.
Kelsey is survived by her son Camden Endicott, her parents Kathleen (Meehan) Errico and Paul Errico of Haverhill and her father Stephen Endicott of Malden. She is also survived by her sisters, Kaitlyn Meehan of Haverhill and Melissa Fucci of Holden and her nephew, Colin Thomas Meehan-Daniels. Also among her survivors are her grandparents, maternal grandfather, John Terrance Meehan of Hampstead and her paternal grandmother Grace Endicott of Bridgewater as well as Paul and Carole Errico of Littleton. She is also survived by many cousins, aunts and uncles. A Funeral Mass will be offered on Friday at 10 AM at St. Michael’s Church in North Andover. Burial will follow in Ridgewood Cemetery also in North Andover. Family and friends may call on Thursday from 4-8 PM at the Conte Funeral Home, 17 Third Street, NORTH ANDOVER. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to North Shore Recovery High School located at 112 Sohier Road, Beverly, MA 01915 or to the H.A.R.T House located at 365 East St., P.O. Box 477, Tewksbury, MA 01876 in Kelsey’s name. For directions or to offer online condolences please visit www.contefuneralhomes.com
“I’ve suffered in silence trying to deal with all those nights of not sleeping,” Errico told the Boston Globe. “I told Kelsey, ‘You know what’s going to happen,’ when the bad batches of heroin were coming around. ‘How could you think of using again?’ ”
She had two months left before graduating from treatment, Errico said. On the evening of April 1, Errico and her husband attended a benefit dinner for the military at the Andover Country Club. The event took three hours, and Errico — always concerned about potential temptations — texted her daughter throughout the meal.
Endicott seemed sober when they returned, Errico said. The young woman helped herself to ice cream, chatted easily, and returned to her bedroom about 11:30 p.m.
“At 3:45 in the morning something woke me,” Errico recalled. “I shot out of bed. I heard the TV on. I knew.”
Less than a week later, Endicott was buried, and her son, Camden, now lives with Kathleen and Paul Errico.
“To the person who doesn’t understand addiction, she is just another statistic who chose to make a bad decision,” Errico said at the funeral. “I don’t care, though, because for the people who do understand, this was our baby, our youngest, our child, our daughter, and, as a mother, my everything.”