Amarah's Corner: The story of Molly Parks
“Kids like me” are kids and adults of all ages whose parents are, or were, drug addicts, and alcoholics; kids who have suffered, or who are suffering, abuse and neglect on multiple levels; and kids who are victims of bullying.
My name is Amarah and I want to share this story with you:
Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
There were promising signs, her family says, that Molly Parks had begun to reclaim her life.
She’d been in and out of rehab three times in the last year, but after the most recent stint, in November, Parks landed a job delivering pizza in Manchester, N.H.
She worked 55 hours a week, trying to save enough money to pay off a used Buick she’d recently purchased using a tax return. After years of battling addictions - first alcohol, then prescription pills, and later heroin - family members hoped she had finally wrestled control of her life away from her demons.
“She was here last Monday and she looked great,” her father, Tom Parks, told The Post from his home in Saco, Maine. “But it’s so hard, of course, and she got sucked back in.”
Four days after visiting home, her body was discovered in the bathroom at her job. There was a needle stuck in her arm. Molly Alice Parks was dead at 24.
The next morning, her father turned to Facebook and began writing about his child’s struggle to stay alive:
My daughter Molly Parks made many good choices in her too short life and she made some bad choices. She tried to fight addiction in her own way and last night her fight came to an end in a bathroom of a restaurant with a needle of heroin.
Her whole family tried to help her win the battle but we couldn’t show her a way that could cure her addiction. We will always love her and miss her. If you have a friend or a relative who is fighting the fight against addiction please do everything you can to be supportive. Maybe for your loved one it’ll help. Sadly for ours it didn’t. I hope my daughter can now find the peace that she looked for here on earth.
The Facebook post eventually turned into a fiercely candid obituary.
“I see a lot of obituaries from families that are losing twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, and forty-somethings, and they’re all saying they died suddenly,” Parks told The Post on Wednesday, shortly before leaving for the Old Orchard Beach Funeral Home, for visitation. “But that’s not the truth, and we know that because we just went through it.”
The obituary has resonated online; Parks said he’s heard from people all over the country. Many of them, Parks said, thanked him for sharing the story of his family’s struggle with a daughter’s addiction.
This week, Manchester police said they’ve seen 24 possible drug overdose deaths in 2015, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. In that same period, the paper notes, police “have responded to 163 calls involving overdoses.”
Eighty-eight percent of those calls, according to the Union Leader, involved heroin or the narcotic pain reliever Fentanyl.
Authorities blame heroin-laced-with-Fentanyl for a rash of overdoses in New England in recent years, according to the Boston Globe.
Parks told The Post that his daughter’s death was likely no different.
“It’s probably the Fentanyl that got her,” he said, fighting back tears, “not the heroin.”
In the obituary, family members pointed out that Molly Parks had nearly overdosed on another occasion. Though she would eventually succumb to her addiction, the obituary underscores that for those who knew Parks, addiction was a single piece of a much larger personality.
She was, her family recalled, brash and witty. She enjoyed theater, fashion and burying her nose in a book - especially Harry Potter. She favored bright red lipstick, played the piano and fell in love with, “Gone With the Wind” as a teenager.
“She was smart, entertaining, engaging, all of it,” her father told The Post. “People don’t get it. She didn’t look like an addict. She wasn’t what you think of as a ‘junkie.’”
And that, Parks said, is why the family decided to wage its final battle against her addiction using the only weapon it had left: transparency.
“Even if one person reads that and says, ‘Oh my God, that can be me,’ and stops - if we could save one life - we could be happy,” Tom Parks said. “That would mean that Molly didn’t die in vain.”
He added: “My daughter was a good kid and she had a heart of gold.”
Thank you for reading my column.
My goal is to help kids like me, and I want to help their parents, too. Until next time, remember, Jesus Loves You, and JESUS IS LORD!