On Thursday, the life of this 20-year-old Milan woman ended — yet another young area resident who suffered a drug-related death in recent years.
A 2015 Edison High graduate, Cooley had been active in majorettes, drama, band, Chargerettes and Baton Academy Twirlers of Norwalk.
Cooley’s obituary, provided by Evans Funeral Home in Norwalk, included this message: “Her family wants to express to her friends that when you know something is wrong, even at the risk of losing a friendship, please reach out and speak out. Emily struggled with drug addiction, and even after a year in a Florida rehabilitation center she returned back to her hometown familiar friends, and overdosed.”
Calling hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. today and 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday at Evans Funeral Home, 314 E. Main St., where a service will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Burial will follow in Olena Cemetery.
Cooley’s mom shared a plea and a call to action with the community, asking everyone to speak out and speak up if they notice a friend going down a bad path, no matter how hard it may seem at the time. Many other people also used social media to express their sorrow, share memories of Cooley and offer advice to others who might be suffering drug-related problems.
Here are some of the posts on the Reflector’s Facebook page:
“My heart breaks for this beautiful girl’s family,” Denise Bratt Jean Raney said. “So very young and beautiful. Maybe she did make a bad decision of doing drugs, I wasn't there and not going to pass judgment. All I know is if my family member was doing these illegal drugs and passes away, the last thing I would want to hear or read would be bashing their name. My sympathies to her family and friends. May she find rest in heaven. So sorry for the (family’s) loss.”
“It's sad that a person died because they choose to do a drug knowing that the outcome would be death,” Calista Bretz said. “I think everyone is sick and tired of hearing, seeing and reading about the drug problems going on.”
“Her fight is over! R.I.P Emily!” Precious Combs said. “I personally didn't know her, but I do know what it's like to be an addict and at least she's at peace now!”
“So sad,” Wanda Greene said. “Nobody has a (right) to judge this young lady, how she got to this point we don't know that only God does! May she rest in peace and my heart goes out to this family! It's an epidemic, so sad, but don't ever say my child would never do this or that (because) we don't know.”
“She had such an infectious smile,” Amanda Blanton Tubbs remembered. “I don't think I ever saw her without that smile. Fly high Emily! You will be missed.”
Some people even were compelled to offer their help for any who may be battling the same ordeal.
“Prayers for her family. Anyone needing help with an addiction feel free to pm me for info about recovery groups,” Jaime Jason Garza offered.
“One excellent program is called Celebrate Recovery,” Sarah Moesher said.
“These kids should be mandated by the courts to go to and complete these programs,” Moesher added. “Some take as long as a year (or more) to do. Celebrate Recovery is for all addictions and is generally found through churches. Another is called Challenge Program and is offered through BOP. This program is also intensive as it forces the person to look at all their issues and try to resolve where the problem lies that ignites the addiction.”
“It's sad. And you see it more often,” said Cooley’s friend Veronica Gonzalez. “But we could be holding a hand for help. Instead of bashing for an obvious problem. We could help. … (Whether) it’s to literally send a message on Facebook (or otherwise). All she needed was a decent soul to talk to.
“She had a brain. A big one. She asked for a friend to vent to. She asked for someone to be there. A certain someone. (Obviously) it was the wrong one. I'm saying if I'd known Emily was into that, I'd (have) been there for her. I would of held my hand to be that friend for her.”