LACKAWANNA COUNTY -- A family who recently lost their daughter to addiction has a powerful message to the community: the silence of addiction needs to stop.
That message was included in the obituary for Miranda Lee Ferguson, 25, of Scranton.
“I'm trying to stay strong to send this message,” said Ann-Marie Riggi-Hopkins.
Parents Ann-Marie Riggi-Hopkins and Lee Ferguson are carrying a range of emotions: grief, shock, anger, guilt, and regret after their daughter's sudden death last week.
“The worst pain I ever felt in my life, (I) can't even explain when I heard those words that my daughter had passed,” said Ann-Marie.
“I love my daughter so much,” said Lee. “I really thought she was well, I was so proud of her but that's what happens. This drug takes such control.”
Miranda Lee Ferguson died from a dose of heroin, her parents say.
And that's why there's another emotion in this room: the determination that her death won't be in vain.
They say the silence of addiction must end.
“The people that are dying from this, old, young, middle aged, it's horrific, it's like a plague and it's out there more than anyone could ever imagine,” said Lee.
Her parents included that message in Miranda`s obituary, saying “this demon is still out on the streets waiting to kill the next person”
It's gone viral on social media.
“Overwhelmed, yes, surprised,” said Ann-Marie. “I cannot stop this message and this is how real this disease is, I am here with her daughter at a funeral home, paying my last respects to my daughter.”
Miranda's parents want people to know that their daughter was a good person who graduated from Scranton High School and worked as a department manager at Hobby Lobby.
Now the grieving parents are left to raise their granddaughter Baylee, the young daughter Miranda leaves behind.
“The first person I had to educate is my 5-year-old granddaughter that her mom took a bad drug that stopped her heart and now she's an angel looking over us,” said Ann-Marie.
Her parents say memorial contributions can be made to the Baylee Ferguson Scholarship Fund.