Father Pens Powerful Obituary For Daughter Who Died Of Overdose

By Victoria Kim 10/16/19

The mother of four passed away during a rehab stay in New Hampshire at the age of 31.

grieving father

A Vermont father shed light on the issue of separating families impacted by substance abuse by sharing his late daughter’s experience as a mother of four.

Megan Webbley died on September 29 at a treatment facility in New Hampshire. She was 31 years old. Her obituary, written by her father Edwin Webbley, was published recently in Vermont’s local Seven Days alt-weekly.

Mr. Webbley did not hide the fact that Megan struggled with substance use disorder. “Specifically, she died of an overdose, finally losing her battle with addiction,” he wrote. “She was in Manchester, NH, seeking treatment for her addiction. We have no clear picture of what went wrong.”

He described his daughter's empathy, love for music and dancing, and her “big smile and an infectious laugh”—though “shadowed by opiate addiction.”

Megan was a mother to four children, who were “collectively the light of her dark life.” Her father remembered a happy moment in 2018 she spent playing in the pool with her children. “It was at that point when she was the happiest we had seen her in years.”

Her Addiction Journey

Megan’s battle with substance use disorder began with a severe accident in 2005, where she fell off of a cliff—“I was told that she had been pushed off the cliffs and hit the rocks below.” She was stitched up and her jaw was wired shut.

“They suspected a (traumatic brain injury), but when they prescribed her liberal doses of opiates, she lost control of her life. She would be in and out of rehab—and jail—for the next 14 years,” Mr. Webbley wrote.

A Plea To Stop Separating Parents With Addiction From Children

He concluded by shedding light on the harrowing experience of losing custody of one’s children because of a substance use disorder.

“To editorialize, I am hoping that the Department for Children and Families (DCF) rethinks its mission to be the punisher of addicted mothers, the separator of families and the arbiter of children’s futures, and instead embrace a mission of enhanced rehabilitation,” he wrote.

“We, as a state, are overwhelmed by addiction. We have almost nowhere to turn. I encourage enhanced funding for treatment in general and using DCF as a gateway for mothers with addiction to get help. Because, as one would guess, once the mother is separated from her children, desperation sets in, even with the brightest and most determined of mothers—and Megan Angelina Webbley was that bright and determined mother…with a fatal disease and a dearth of treatment options.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr