THE grief-stricken family of Natasha Donovan, a young mother of two who died under tragic circumstances at her home in Tralee on Thursday, have issued an urgent warning to young people about the dangers of heroin abuse.
Ms Donovan's mother, Caroline, who discovered her beloved daughter's lifeless body on Thursday, has issued the heartfelt warning in an urgent attempt to save young lives and to see some good come of her daughter's death.
At such a devastating time in her life, Caroline was moved to think of the dangers facing vulnerable young people who come into contact with the lethal substance.
Caroline and family members recalled Natasha this week as a beautiful young mother who doted on her beloved sons Steven (5) and Tadhg (4). They say she was struck down just as she was on the point of making huge changes in her life; changes that would allow her provide fully for her two young sons.
Family members Caroline, Mikey Pa, aunt Mary and best friend Geraldine have taken deep issue, however, with the way in which Ms Donovan's death was reported in the wake of the tragedy. They say her death should not have been presented as the result of a heroin overdose on Saturday as the results of her post mortem examination are, as yet, far from clear.
They also say they saw no drugs paraphenalia in the room in which they found Natasha's remains. "The reports made it out as if she definitely died as the result of a heroin overdose," aunt Mary told The Kerryman. "We were shown no empathy or sympathy for this tragedy in the way the story came out and we are just so devastated by the loss of Natasha. She was a fabulous young woman who always thought of others and loved her two young boys with all her heart."
Her struggles with heroin emerged only recently in her life after she tried the drug some years ago. But she had a strong, fighting spirit and was determined to stay clean for the sake of her children, her family said.
"Her boys were all she thought about and she was heading for the straight and narrow so as to look after them," Mikey Pa said.
The family expected Natasha to be jailed for a drugs charge she was to have faced at Tralee District Court this week. "She was going to use the sentence to go clean and get her life in order as all she wanted was to be there for her beautiful boys," mom Caroline said.
Hundreds attended Monday night's removal and Tuesday's Requiem Mass and burial in a testament to the popularity of the young Tralee woman. The family home in Ballyrickard Court was the centre of a groundswell of local sympathy over the weekend as hundreds rallied to the family's side to give some comfort as they struggled to come to terms with the huge loss.