It only takes a brief scroll through the daily news to realize we live in a broken world marked by pain, tragedy, and lives taken too soon.
In our humanness, it’s hard to reconcile why an all-powerful, all-loving God would allow such evil — so when “bad things happen to good people,” it often becomes a natural reaction to lash out at Him.
One grieving mother, Angee Penner, is all too familiar with that feeling of burning anger at the Almighty for not exercising his omnipotence to save her daughter.
“Ever want to yell at God? If you’re so almighty give her back!!” she wrote in a Facebook post after losing her daughter Ashlyn to a heroin overdose on her 19th birthday.
If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we’ve all screamed something similar at least once in our lifetime. I know I have.
But in the months that followed her sweet baby girl’s death, like many in her situation, Angee resolved that the purpose in her pain is to help open the eyes of others, so that no one may ever have to feel the depths of her sorrow.
“When bad things happen to good people, they grieve & they suffer,” shared Angee. “Then they resolve not to allow it to happen to someone else. Not so it can help justify the pain, suffering or loss that has struck their family but so no one else has to feel the pain they have felt.”
In a poignant Facebook post, she pens a heartbreaking account of exactly what her daughter’s “one last high” cost her — and it paints a horrific, eye-opening picture of the opioid crisis plaguing our society today.
The grieving mother’s message is completely soul-wrenching and admittedly “took a lot out of [her] emotionally,” but she hopes that in sharing her story, she may save others from suffering her dear Ashyln’s same fate.
After all, Angee knows it’s what her daughter would have wanted…
“Say my name. Tell my story. Talk to me,” the teen wrote in a ‘letter from heaven’ before she died. “But you were never stronger than the disease of addiction, and sadly, neither was I. Please don’t blame yourself… Take the love you have for me, and put it into the rest of our family. Every time you want to hug me, grab one of them. Give us a great big squeeze and I promise, I’ll feel it – all the way up in heaven. I hope you find peace in knowing I’m free in a way I never was before. Up here, there is no addiction. There is only love.”
Read Angee’s post in full below:
“That one last high….
That one last high destroyed everything good..
That one last high sounded like a good idea at the time I guess… just one last time turned into forever.
That one last high lead to two detectives ringing my doorbell at 3:44 am. Telling me my baby is gone. My precious little girl, my first true love.
That one last high led to me explaining to her brother and father and aunts and uncles that she had died.
That one last high led me to a funeral home Only 12 hours after being told the life-altering news. Staring at my sweet girls face, her body half covered by a sheet, hospital gown draped over her to hide the autopsy incisions.
That one last high led me to holding her face and crying..kissing every part of her I could. Wanting so bad to pull down the sheet and look at her birthmark on her leg or the birthmark on her finger I had kissed each night since she was a baby.
That one last high led me to a room, brain in a fog, staring at caskets trying to decide which one my little girl should be buried in.
That one last high led to writing an obituary, planning a funeral and a house full of flowers from grieving friends and family.
That one last high left me going through her closet. Picking out a dress. Buying a cardigan of her favorite color for her to be buried in. I was careful to cut out the tags because I know she didn’t like the way they made her itch.
That one last high led me to going through countless pictures from her first breath til her last. Making memory boards and slideshows… trying to fit 18 sweet years into 10 minutes.
That one last high led me to my knees in front of her casket at the viewing. Pleading with God to take me instead. Demanding him to rewind time. Yelling if he is so almighty why can’t he take it back.
Staring through a haze saying thank you for coming repeatedly and comforting her friends.
That one last high led us to the church at 11am. Where I watched her 15 year old brother help carry her coffin. Where I looked at her for the very last time. Where I wore a matching outfit to what she would be buried in. Where I leaned into her casket and kissed her cold lips and tucked her hair behind her ear one last time.
That one last high left me staring at her casket for an hour after everyone had left the graveside. Scared to leave my baby girl alone.
That one last high led to me sleeping on her grave so she didn’t have to be alone, contemplating suicide so I could hold her hand on her way to heaven.
That one last high resulted in months of laying on the floor crying, clinging on to anything that reminded me of her or had her scent. Regretting not wrapping her In a blanket because I know she hates the cold.
That one last high has turned my hair white and added 10 years to my face.
That one last high has left empty days and dreaded nights. Mornings that turn into evenings with no memory of the day.
That one last high led me on a search for her ghost everywhere.
I am a broken mother because of one last high.
~Angee Penner mother of Ashlyn Cannon ( forever 18)
***this took a lot out of me emotionally but if it can open one person’s eyes and make then chose against that one last high it’s worth it. If you are reading this and are thinking about using please know you are loved and there is help for you“
Please SHARE Angee’s powerful message with the ones you love today, before it’s too late. And join us in praying for the healing journey of this strong mother and her family.