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Leigh Baxter wrote a goodbye letter to heroin during one of her stays in rehab, and the first time her sister heard it was when someone read it at Baxter's funeral after she overdosed.

It read like a love letter, a heart-wrenching and honest Dear John penned by a woman who was finally moving past a destructive relationship.

But Baxter just couldn't leave heroin, no matter how trapped and unhappy she felt.

She was so vibrant and energetic that older sister Angela Lyle is still trying to accept that her sister, who was always the brave and creative one who wrote striking poems and stories, couldn't kick it.

She was "tons of fun and had a contagious laugh, lots of friends, and some of the wrong ones," said Lyle, who lives in Wrightsville.

Baxter was 28 when her boyfriend came home from work on Friday, April 27, 2012, and found her dead in their Mount Joy home. She had just been released from rehab that Wednesday, Lyle said.

"Her tolerance was obviously way down, and she was thinking, 'Just one more hit,'" Lyle said. "As a big sister, you're supposed to protect the little sister, and I feel like I failed at that.

"I'm still working through that a couple years later ... I think I was angry at her, just getting out of rehab. It doesn't make any sense to me that you would pick up a needle two days later."

— Staff writer Christina Kauffman.

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