BERWICK - Calling it an "insidious, cunning disease," the mother of Abi Lizotte announced through a local funeral home website that her daughter died Friday of a drug overdose.
The death of Abigail Kathryne Lizotte, whose inspirational battle against drug addiction came front and center as a Rochester prenatal treatment facility for drug-addicted women neared its founding a year ago, was first announced on the the Hope on Haven Hill website on Saturday, the day after her death.
"It is with a heavy heart that I share with you, our daughter Abi is no longer carrying the pain of the disease of addiction, but we are. I wish that I could say that recovery won and that's why she is no longer in pain," Tammi Lizotte, Abi's mom, wrote in an announcement that appeared on the Bernier Funeral Home website.
Tammi Lizotte called her daughter "a light of hope to others."
"Every time you were around her you felt this overwhelming sense of love and inspiration," she said. "Deeply intense in a beautiful way, Abi was a writer, an athlete, and an amazing, loving mother to her perfect little human, her baby boy Parker. She loved music. It was a huge part of her life that helped her find her words and express her feelings."
The statement said Abi Lizotte had been attending Southern Maine Community College in Portland pursuing a bachelor's degree in behavioral science "so she could continue to help more people" and was working as a manager for a car parking service.
Abi Lizotte is the second member of her immediate family to die of a drug overdose. Her older sister, Whitney, died in April 2009.
Abi Lizotte's final Facebook post on Nov. 29 was a cryptic one, one that proved to be prescient.
"When you hold onto something you want so badly but it's just not working out, you're occupying the space for what's really meant to be there and robbing yourself of real and true happiness 👌👏🙏🙏❤💜."
After a couple of days of friends and acquaintances trying to console or advise her, on Dec. 1, one says "Miss you" and another says, "This message has a new meaning."
Shortly afterward, condolences and messages of grief and sadness begin to stack up on a comment string that was still growing with grief and sadness on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, at the Hope on Haven Hill facility near the Somersworth line on Monday, a woman who answered the door said no one there would have any comment on Lizotte's death, and that everyone was in group counseling sessions.
Hope on Haven Hill co-founders Kerry Norton, a registered nurse, and Dr. Colene Arnold, an obstetrician/gynecologist, have made no public statement regarding her death.
Abi Lizotte was eight months pregnant, homeless and addicted to heroin before she first met up with Arnold and Norton and began her long recovery. Prior to getting help she had attempted suicide several times.
Lizotte's battle back from addiction and her advocacy for Hope on Haven Hill was widely reported nationwide, including articles in the New York Times.
Both Abi and Whitney Lizotte graduated from Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine, where they were popular and well-loved.
Lizotte's son, Parker, is now a healthy toddler.
In a cruel, ironic twist of fate, Hope on Haven Hill's "First Anniversary Gala" is set for Thursday at the Wentworth by the Sea hotel in New Castle.
The theme of the celebration is "Honoring those who light the way."
Meanwhile, the Lizottes have scheduled a celebration of life, which will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at St. John's United Methodist Church, 28 Cataract Ave., Dover, N.H. 03820. Doors will be opening at 11 a.m. A service will start promptly at 11:30 a.m. Following the service you are welcome to attend to a time of remembrance and fellowship at SOS Recovery Community Center, 4 Broadway, Dover, N.H. 03820.