Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A day of mourning

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


Christopher said...

Pat - I'm so sorry. It's not fair and it's always too soon. I only knew Johnnie by name, but I certainly knew Gloria and I knew Debbie and my heart aches for them - and you & Kenny.

Dave said...

There's no good thing to say. The best I can do, remember him from an earlier time.

the walking man said...

*sigh* Too many to often to soon.

Sylvia said...

I'm so sorry about your nephew. Out thought are with you and Kenny.

gabrielle said...

I did not know Johnny but your tribute gives me a window into his exuberance and his struggles. My heart goes out to you and Kenny and the entire family.

Dianne said...

hugs to you - I'm sorry for this sad loss

dr sardonicus said...

Belated condolences. Too much of this happening lately.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew. Addiction is a terrible disease. I've been down this road with a nephew of my own and hope and pray each day that he will find peace and sobriety. My deepest condolences to you.

Minnesotablue said...

Christopher: Thamk you

Dave:You are right aand I do have many found and loving memories of him

Walkingman: you are correct To soon but to late to turn his life around

Gabrielle: He was a good man and did have an exuberance for life. Unfortunely he was not able to overcome all his demons

Diane: Thanks foe the hugs. I know you always have them for me and I truly appreciate them

Drs: To young, to soon.

Anonymous: Most people deny that addiction is a disease but we know that it is. Working in the field for so many years I have witnessed first hand the destruction it causes on both families and the addict.

star said...
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