Dakota “Ophelia” Berg

Dakota “Ophelia” Berg

Beautiful, tragic, short, sad, lonely, misunderstood

Dakota was a deep, beautiful soul. She loved fully and unconditionally and was passionate about teaching acceptance for all people. She loved animals, especially her dog Keta, her loyal protector. She had an intense love for family and was striving to get sober and be an exemplary role model for her younger sisters.

Dakota was very creative and had a unique and expressive style with makeup, hair and clothing. She was a self-taught make-up artist, a talented writer and a poet. Dakota’s poetry detailed her life of addiction, every agonizing step of the way. Beautifully written, but very painful, her poems were a blueprint for the eventual outcome when someone is under the grip of addiction.

More than anything, Dakota wanted to find love, marry and have children. She planned to work with animals and use her life experiences to help others make better choices than she could during her brief life. After her death, many people came forward to share with her family how Dakota had supported them and positively influenced their lives.

Her obituary was frank and truthful about her means of death stating: “The family wishes to identify Dakota’s cause of death; opioids. We need to name it, say it and expose it because too many lives are being lost. No one wants to be addicted, that person is still a human being, and someone special to others.” This honest choice touched a young woman who read it while in jail. She wrote to Dakota’s family and said that she “saw clearly now” and thanked Dakota for saving her.

Her mother feels heartbroken and empty, but also driven to be a change agent around substance use issues. She said: “Dakota’s addiction took the light out of her eyes and affected her self-respect. Though we miss her wonderful laugh and her presence is gone, Dakota’s essence remains.”

Dakota’s mother, Katrina Schiesswohl, provided the information for this narrative.

October 10, 1994 – December 5, 2019

Age 25 – Lived with addiction 8 years

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