ROCHESTER - With details still scant regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of the woman who became the poster child for a Rochester drug treatment center for pregnant mothers, what appears to be her final Facebook post continues to prompt comments of love, empathy and support from friends searching for solace in the wake of her tragic loss.
The death of Abi Lizotte, whose inspirational battle against drug addiction came front and center as the center neared its founding a year ago, was announced on the Hope on Haven Hill website on Saturday.
"The loss of Abi Lizotte has left us utterly heartbroken," the message on its home page reads. "Abi will always be our inspiration and her light will live in the dreams and aspirations of all who pass through our doors. We honor Abi's memory through our daily resolve to cultivate the hope that makes recovery possible. Because as Abi exhibited, all people matter."
Neither the circumstances nor time of her death was announced, but her final Facebook post on Nov. 29 has many wondering what was going on with her life and what she may have meant when she wrote," 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 on Monday.
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.
Lizotte spoke at several events as the facility prepared to open, including with co-founders Kerry Norton, a registered nurse, and Dr. Colene Arnold, an obstetrician/gynecologist; as well as former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.
Lizotte, whose older sister died of a drug overdose in 2009, 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 sisters graduated from Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine. Lizotte's son, by the way, is now a healthy toddler.
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."
It is sure to be an emotional roller-coaster for those who wished for and hoped for the best for Abi Lizotte.