He was fifty four years old. We attended his funeral yesterday. The firefighter honor guards were in attendance as were his many relatives and friends. He was know to all of his buddies on the department as being one of the best and had recieved many awards including the "Stork award" for delivering a baby. Firefighting was his career and he loved and was proud of being one. The Captain of the firefighters was in attendance and said he was "one of the best" He loved riding motorcycles and made trips to Sturgis for the rallies. He loved his children his mother and siblings and his grandchildren. He was a good man.
His life began spinning out of control several years ago. We don't know when it started or the reason why but he became addicted to cocaine. He went through treatment several times but the deadly powder had it's grip on him and he always went back to using.
As is almost always the consequences of addiction the family suffers as much as the user and his family was torn apart. Some accused his mother of always enabling him because she helped him when he was at his lowest. She never made excuses for his using but when he needed medical care she was always there. She started handling his money for him so he wouldn't spend it all on drugs. She let him stay with her on several occasion until it became to difficult for her. She never gave up on him. She would talk to him for hours about her and her families concern for him trying to get him help. She was firm in her belief that he could conquer his demons. She was not an enabler but a mother who loved her son unconditionally.
We spent several days in the ICU to support his mother and siblings and I believe that seeing someone die such a death should be a wake up call but unfortunetly that is not the case. It's the old 'It won't happen to me" adage.
His ultimate cause of death was two strokes brought on by several years of cocaine abuse. He went into a coma and never recovered. As I sat with him I couldn't help but remember his love of life and exuberance. Seeing his body ravaged by track marks and his once powerful body reduced to skin and bones was one of the most difficult tasks I have encountered
I found pictures of my oldest daughter taken with him when they were young and I see the happiness he showed and it does indeed break my heart.
As a tribute to him and his Mother, she was taken to the restaurant after the funeral in a fire truck. GODSPEED MY NEPHEW
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