A Winston-Salem family is mourning the loss of their 27-year-old daughter, who they lost to drugs, specifically heroin. While most Americans were celebrating Christmas, the Otey family watched, for three hours, as first responders tried to save their daughter, Lauren Church, who died on December 25, 2017.
The family granted permission to WFMY News 2 to republish her obituary that's published on the Wright Cremation and Funeral Service website. It's an obit filled with a lot pain, candor, hope and encouragement to other addicts and their family members.
Whether you're dealing with a drug addiction or someone you know, we join the Oteys in wishing you all find some inspiration and hope in their message via their daughter's obituary.
The Obituary of Lauren Michelle (Otey) Church
February 8, 1990 ~ December 25, 2017
"Lauren Church, 27, of Winston-Salem passed away peacefully at home after a hard fought battle with the disease of addiction. She was born to Mark and Lisa Otey of Winston-Salem, NC on February 8, 1990. Lauren went to Sedge Garden Elementary School, Southeast Middle School, Robert B. Glenn High School and she earned her high school diploma from High Point University. She proudly received her Cosmetologist license from the Regency Beauty Institute in 2013.
Lauren is survived by her eight year old Daughter, Addison Blair Church; her Parents Mark and Lisa Otey; her older Sister Cara Otey; her younger Brother Hunter Otey; her Maternal Grandmother Norma Joyce; Maternal Grandfather Bob Kamsch and Maternal Great Grandmother Ethel Hoehn. She also leaves behind a brand new Niece Kinsley along with several other loving Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.
Lauren aka “Squirrel” enjoyed…..life. She was a nature lover and was happiest when she was outdoors. She loved taking her little girl to every park around. She loved going camping and having weinee roasts by the bonfire, she loved playing cornhole and she was an amazing cook…..sometimes. Her favorite in the whole, wide world was gravy. Gravy on anything and everything was her motto. She also loved….even as an adult…..laying her head in her Momma’s lap and having her play with her hair. She will always be remembered for her charming, witty personality and infectious smile.
Unfortunately, Lauren will also be remembered as a statistic. Lauren’s addiction began many years ago, when she was prescribed prescription narcotic pain medication which eventually led Lauren down the dark road to heroin use. Once heroin got a hold of Lauren it never let her go. Lauren’s family truly loved her and they did everything within their power to support and help her as she fiercely fought the battle of addiction for many years. All Lauren wanted was a normal life free from the chains of addiction. Even though her story came to a sad end much too soon, if a life can be saved because hers was lost, her goal of helping others will carry on.
Letter From Heaven
When tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not here to see, if the sun should rise and find your eyes, filled with tears for me. I wish so much you wouldn’t cry, the way you did today, while thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say. I know how much you love me, as much as I love you, and each time you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too. When tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart, for every time you think of me, I’m right there in your heart.
If you have a loved one struggling with addiction or if you, yourself, are struggling with the disease of addiction, please know that there are resources that can help. Please reach out to Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, ARCA or Al Anon. Please reach out to anyone….Please ask for help. We, Mark and Lisa Otey, want you to know that while the EMS, the Winston-Salem Police Department and the fire department were at our home for 3 hours trying to save our young Daughter’s life there were 5 more FATALITIES called in due to overdoses. The drugs going around are not the same as they used to be. Please do not play Russian Roulette with your precious lives. You can beat this! You can have a long and wonderful life! You are loved!!!"
Lauren would not want others to grieve over her passing, in lieu of a funeral, a Celebration of Life will be in February.