Some stories are easy to write, and some are difficult. This is one of those. But, because it’s difficult to do doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, it just means the story impacts you more.  

For many families in our country, they face the daily struggle of knowing a loved one is an addict. Addiction has robbed so many families of happiness, time with family members, restful night's sleep and peace.  

I came across this obituary that really hit me hard, not because of the outcome that is described here happened close to me, but it could have. The honesty in this obituary doesn’t excuse addiction but it reminds us that the addict is struggling every day, and they are more than someone losing a battle.  

These words also remind us that the addict is more precious than what you see in the brief frames of time you observe someone walking a fine line between light and darkness. 

Here is the obituary I’m speaking of which was on the website of Bayview Funeral Home in Albert Lea.  

Ariel Lois Lucille Talbot 

May 3, 1999 — November 30, 2023 

Ariel Lois Lucille Talbot, age 24, passed away November 30, 2023. A funeral service will be held at 2 PM on Saturday, December 16 at Bayview Freeborn Funeral Home. Visitation will be held for one hour prior to services at the funeral home. A private family inurnment will be held at a later date. 

Our beautiful, sweet Ariel passed away on November 30th, 2023 after a lengthy struggle with addiction. Although her death was unexpected, we had feared for years that addiction would eventually take her life. 

Her family would like to speak the truth about her struggle, silence would only mean her death was in vain. If one person’s life can be saved by sharing her story, we will continue to share it. 

We know the pain of her suffering. We know the pain of our suffering. We know there are many other families dealing with the destruction of addiction. Speaking the truth, no matter the circumstance, is difficult. However, it can mean the difference between life and death for a sibling, child, parent, friend or spouse. Ariel struggled with an addiction to drugs for most of her life. Drugs offered an escape from the demons she felt tortured by. She attempted to fight those demons numerous times and would be successful for a while. Sadly, they would eventually creep back in. 

It is impossible to capture a person in an obituary, especially someone whose adult life was largely defined by drug use. 

To some, Ariel was just a junkie. She wasn’t seen as the beautiful, fun and smart person she was. She was only the drug and the behaviors. That is a huge loss for them. Ariel was energetic, loving, hilarious, and spunky. Ariel was resilient and strong in many ways. She wasn’t shy.  She would approach and chat with anyone. When you were in her company, you were mesmerized by her charm and never wanted to part. Most didn’t know or see that she was a cousin that enjoyed horsing around. She loved playing games, fishing and flag football. People didn’t know that she was a granddaughter who loved to spend time with family at her grandparents’ cabin. People did not see that she was a sister who adored her siblings. People didn’t view her as someone’s daughter, whose parents wished for her to be healthy again. 

In a society that fails to see a person and, only sees an addict, we are failing the disease. Ariel befriended counselors, social workers, doctors, therapists, and law enforcement who   advocated for her and supported her in recovery. She was adored as a daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, niece and friend. Ariel was a gift. 

Ariel had an unbreakable bond with her Dad.  He passed away in 2018. After his death she tried to get sober several times, but relapsed on many occasions. The loss of her father was unbearable for her and she was truly heartbroken. 

Ariel would spend several days with her Stepmom Bonnie, at her childhood home, sober on and off throughout her addiction. Spending time with Bonnie, whom she adored more than anyone, brought Ariel much joy and comfort. Bonnie was always there for Ariel, and loved her dearly. 

Ariel also had a special love for her “baby” brother, Nathanial. He loved when Ariel came over. She would babysit him and they’d be so silly together. Whenever she saw him, she would light up and give him the tightest hugs. 

As her mother, I struggle with guilt of not being there because of boundaries that I had to set for my own wellbeing.  However, I’m extremely grateful that the last time we spent the day together, it was full of laughs. We spent time reminiscing, and I was extremely proud of her. I will always love you more than all the green M & M’s. 

During the last few years, her addiction has brought incredible darkness, and this darkness manifested itself, as each unimaginable things she did in the name of her disease, increased the pain and shame. We always hoped and prayed that she would overcome this disease. Her addiction stalked her and took her from us.  We would give anything to have her back, but we know that the disease and darkness would continue to stalk her and not let her go until she was gone.  Our hearts will forever be broken, but we pray she is finally at peace. 

Ariel is survived by her mother, Chastity (Josh) Fossum; stepmother, Bonnie Talbot; siblings, Marysia Peterson, Callie (Carter) Sanocki, Nathanial Peterson, Grady Fossum, Patrick Fossum, Sadie Fossum; grandparents, Kathy Peterson (Rick Budd), Mike Peterson, Don and Peg Talbot; step-grandmothers Barbara Eberhardt and Jenny Schneider; many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles who love her and will miss her very much. 

She is preceded in death by her father, James “Jimmy” Talbot; great-grandparents, Ernie “Papa” and Joan Goodrich and many more great-grandparents. 

If you yourself are struggling from addiction, please know that every breath you take is a fresh start. Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you. Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late. 

If you are reading this with judgment, educate yourself about this disease, because that is what it is. It is not a choice or a weakness. Chances are very good that someone you know is struggling with it, and that person needs and deserves your empathy and support. 

If you work in one of the many institutions through which addicts often pass — rehabs, hospitals, jails, courts — and treat them with the compassion and respect they deserve, thank you. If instead you see a junkie, thief or liar instead of a human being in need of help, consider a new profession. 

We take comfort in knowing that Ariel is surrounded by light, free from the struggle that haunted her. We would have given anything for her to experience that freedom in this lifetime. Our grief over losing her is infinite. And now so is she. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Steve Rummler HOPE Network. Providing hope for those with addiction and the fight against the opioid epidemic. You can visit the website at 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ariel Lois Lucille Talbot, please visit our flower store. 

 I can only imagine how hard it was to write this about your daughter, or anyone you love for that matter. I didn’t know Ariel, but these words left me feeling as if I did.  

I share this because as Ariel's mother said if one person can be saved by this story then her passing would not be in vain. If you know someone who needs to see these words, please share them with them. There’s power in honesty.  

God Bless Ariel's family and those who loved her. And God Bless those who find themselves in a similar situation with someone they love.  

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