An Ohio mother, whose husband died of
an apparent heroin overdose, uploaded to Facebook a photo of herself and her
two children posing with smiles beside her husband’s open casket, saying she
made the unusual move as part of efforts “to show the reality of addiction.”
Eva Holland of Cicinnati, Ohio, lost
her 26-year-old husband, Mike Settles, to an apparent heroin overdose on
Wednesday, September 2.
On Thursday, she uploaded to Facebook
and Instagram a photo of herself, standing with their two children, Luca and
Ava, by her husband’s casket with smiles. She said the photo, which shows her
husband lying lifeless in the open casket, was meant to warn others about the
dangers of drug addiction.
Commenting on the photo on Facebook,
Holland said it illustrates the “cold hard truth” that heroin kills, pointing
out that her husband’s death was preventable.
“The cold hard truth is heroin kills.
You may think it will never happen to you but guess what that’s what Mike
The photo and the message went viral
last weekend, with tens of thousands of views.
According to Holland, Settles first
became addicted to painkillers before he began taking heroin. After years of
battling addiction, the young father checked into rehab. He left rehab “a brand
new person,” just in time to spend Christmas with his family, but relapsed soon
after and died of overdose in Cincinnati.
The relapse occurred after he took a
“single pill” for a toothache, Holland wrote.
At the funeral last week, Holland
decided to pose with her children smiling beside her late husband’s casket. She
then uploaded the photo to her Facebook and Instagram pages with an explanation
that went viral last weekend with tens of thousands of views.
“I’m sure this photo makes a lot of
people uncomfortable it may even p**s 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,” she wrote. “No parent should have
to bury their child and no child as young as ours should have to bury their
parent. This was preventable. Itdidn’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
Holland and Settles had been together
for 11 years — since Settles was 15-years-old — before he died. They had two
children — Lucas and Ava. Settles began taking drugs years after the two first
met, when they were only teenagers.
“His addiction started off with pain
pills then inevitably heroin,” Holland wrote. “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, a ‘brand new man.’ ”
“He did so good for so long but then
a couple months ago it started with a single pill for a ‘toothache’ which
inevitably led him back down the road of addiction instead of staying (on) the
course 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.”
Responses to Holland’s photo and
message were overwhelmingly favorable.
“You are an inspiration to a lot of
people. May God have his hands around you all, full of grace & kindness?
You are in my prayers.”
“Thank you Eva Holland for your
strength. I pray for your sorrow and hope you find peace as soon as possible.”
Holland said that since she posted
the photo, many people have shared stories of their personal struggles with
drug addiction. Many have sent messages saying that her photo spurred them on a
path to recovery.
A few days after she posted the
photo, Holland wrote on Facebook that a woman ran up to her in public crying.
The woman hugged her and told her that the photo had helped her to avoid
“This lady ran up to me crying and
asked if she could hug me. I thought she was just having a bad day so I hugged
She said ‘I am a heroin addicted
(sic) and was going to try and overdose last night but then I see you post and
you saved my life. I can never thank you enough!’
So we stood there hugging each other
crying. This right here is what it’s all about.”