A New Jersey family has penned a painfully honest obituary for a 32-year-old son and brother who died of a drug overdose last week.
Carter Armour Stone died on Sept. 26 after overdosing on heroin, his family says in the obituary published in the Asbury Park Press Wednesday.
"To know Carter was to love Carter," the obituary says. "His beautiful smile and baby blue eyes would warm your heart in an instant. He always showed acts of kindness, was compassionate, happy, gentle and loving."
Stone, who grew up in Red Bank, began using prescription opioids to cope with "stressful situations" over the last year, his family says, and things took a turn for the worse after a car accident left him with a back injury.
When the prescription ran out and he depleted his finances, Stone turned to the very cheap and accessible heroin, his sister, Lauren Wright, told News 4 in an email.
Stone eventually got professional help and began working again in Atlantic City and was doing well, his family says.
"He was living one day at a time and was incredibly proud of his hard work," his family said in the obituary. "He dreamed of having a family, working hard and living life to the fullest. He felt happier than he had been in a long time."
"Sadly, a momentary lapse of judgement resulted in a relapse that took Carter's life from him in an instant," according to his family.
Wright said her brother was doing everything right in recovery: working the program, going to meetings, leaning on a "wonderful" sponsor and a supportive group of friends and family.
"It makes me sad to now know that he had thoughts, maybe more than he wanted to share, that got the best of him," said Wright.
The family's obituary begged readers to seek help for anyone they know suffering from addiction.
"Please don't wait. It could mean the difference of life or death," the obituary said. "Most importantly, always tell your loved ones how much you love them."
Wright says the family wrote the obituary in the hopes of saving someone else's life and that it "spreads awareness and reduces the stigma of who this drug is affecting."
"Families are losing sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and in my case, my beautiful amazing brother who was fighting so hard every day in recovery," she said.
"Heroin does not discriminate... It doesn't just destroy the addict, it ends up destroying families."
A memorial will be held at Tower Hill Church on Tuesday afternoon. The family is asking for donations to Surfside Structured Sober Living in Somers Point, New Jersey, in lieu of flowers.
Earlier this summer, a New Jersey funeral home director's explicitly worded letter titled "F**k You, Opioids" went viral after he described the sharp rise in overdose deaths he's been dealing with over the last few years.