Father’s Candid Obituary for His Daughter Is the Most Effective PSA Ever

There is a method behind every message.

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SOURCE: Facebook
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Over the weekend, many of us were enjoying the weather outside, going shopping, and hanging out with friends and trying to delay Monday morning.

Tom Parks of Saco, Maine had a different weekend — one that made the Internet stop and take notice.

He buried his daughter, who died tragically of a heroin overdose in Manchester, N.H. last Thursday. Molly Parks was only 24.

Her all-too-brief life was on Mr. Parks’ mind when he wrote her obituary, which is what brings us here today.

In the remembrance, Parks talks about his daughter’s “fearless personality” and her ability to say “Voldemort” three times fast. However, as he tells The Washington Post, he wanted “to raise awareness and help others who may be on the brink of a similar tragedy.”

First, he candidly discusses her addiction on his daughter’s Facebook page:

“Along Molly’s journey through life, she made a lot of bad decisions including experimenting with drugs. She fought her addiction to heroin for at least five years and had experienced a near fatal overdose before.”

Then, the struggle for intervention:

“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 [her] on earth.”

molly parks obitThere’s no surprise that this gripping human drama captivated so many. Mr. Parks had an interview with NPR this past weekend in which he shared what drove him to go public with his daughter’s story:

“Well, I read papers. I’m old school enough so that I still read paper-papers. And I’ve seen a lot of obituaries, and you see 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings and they all have sudden deaths, but that doesn’t really happen to 20 and 30 and 40-somethings. There’s no sudden death for them. It’s either suicide – and I understand people don’t want to put that or drug, you know, overdoses. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why somebody wouldn’t want to put that in an obituary because if you just keep sweeping it under the carpet, nobody is going to figure it out.”

You can see the obituary below. It wasn’t that long but it doesn’t have to be to get your attention. Oh, and it took Parks a full hour to write. Why?

“The reason that it was hard to write was ’cause I couldn’t see the screen or the keyboard ’cause I was crying so hard.”

Why mention this in a PR blog? People write about heart-warming and heart-wrenching things daily, be they real-world events or something concocted out of thin air. This one went viral because people appreciated the meaning behind Parks’ message.

What you place into a message can and will be interpreted by a reader — and most members of the public are smarter than you might think. We should always take that into exception when writing, speaking, or trying to convey even the most basic message.

Tom Parks experienced one of the worst tragedies imaginable. No parent should ever have to bury his or her child, but Parks used his daughter’s death to try and reach those who might otherwise follow her.

I’m not looking for sympathy but I want people to know that our lives are made up of the choices we make and for some…

Posted by Tom Parks on Friday, April 17, 2015