Submitted by: Deborah
Born: 1972
Died: 2014
My Tribute: Bill, My soul-mate, the greatest love of my life, my partner for 15 1/2 years, overdosed on heroin on July 3rd, 2014, and was pronounced brain dead the next day. My kids, our friends, and I were with him until he went into surgery the evening of July 6th to donate his kidneys (amazingly okay). He had struggled with alcohol and drugs since he was 15 years old. When he found heroin, that was the real beginning of the end. Bill was a great, caring man, but he could not see the light without the substances. His troubled childhood was a shadow that he could not overcome. His had the most beautiful eyes, the most loving but troubled soul. In spite of this, we had many great times, much laughter, and music. He was a very gifted musician who wrote and sang his own songs, played guitar, keyboards and drums. We loved to hike with our dog, Murphy, in a nearby park and that is where we his outdoor memorial service. A memorial tree will be planted there this fall. This is a poem I wrote and read at the memorial:

Our Souls Had Found A Home

You were my in and out,
My all about,
No rhyme or reason
For the crazy season,
No denying, we had waited
Far too long for that fated
Moment, once found,
The heavens must have exploded with sound,
As we no longer had to roam,
Our souls had finally found their home.

Through laughter and tears,
Those far too short years,
We looked deep into each other eyes,
And saw the forever there inside,
As we no longer had to roam,
Our souls had finally found their home.

And now I have to wait again,
Questioning the why and when
You had to leave,
And you will wait there,
On the edge of everywhere,
And I must keep the faith
That we will have another date,
So we no longer have to roam,
Our souls will again find their home.

-Deborah, your “Debbie”

Taylor Michael Schaffel

Submitted by: Larry Michsaels Schaffel
Born: 1990
Died: 2013
My Tribute: On April 26,2013, I lost my one and only son,Taylor to an accidental overdose of Heroin. The days since your gone have been intense and most heartbreaking.
Despite my and your mom’s attempts to help you, in the end.. you did help yourself only to relapse.

We know the weight of the this world was too much for you and your wish of Death did in fact come to be.

We can only hope you are happy and your mind is free. From the signs you’ve shown me since..I know this to be true and with the foundation..TAYLORS CALLING.ORG in your name.your legacy, talents and love will continue to burn bright on this Earth,
Your pops


Submitted by: His daughter Shelby
Died: 2014
My Tribute: My father at the age of 37 passed away from overdosing on heroin.. I’m his oldest and only daughter so I was near and dear to his heart, at 17 I find it incredibly unfair.. Yet my brother (the youngest&only boy) is 12 and got even less time. My dad was so kind and funny, by far the most amazing guy I have ever known but the drug pulled him in so far that now there’s no turning back, my family wants to educate people on how important it is to take drug use extremely seriously and become educated!! Rest easy daddy.. With all the love in the world, your daughter -Shelby

Ryan Gilligan

Submitted by: Paula Gilligan
Born: 1990
Died: 2012
My Tribute: Another day without you
Another day of sadness
Another day of hope
For the day when I see you again

Michael – the love of my life

Submitted by: Gale -mom
Born: 1982
Died: 2014
My Tribute: You were everything to me, my beautiful Michael. Our connection will never be broken – sleep tight my love.

Sweet James

Submitted by: Stacee Nunez
Born: 1996
Died: 2014
My Tribute: Sweet boy as unique as his name: James Atticus John Paul & Ringo Ralls. We had hoped and prayed so long for a happier future for you and your sweet mom. Wishing peace for you both as our hearts break for the loss that your life is for all who remain behind.

Jayson Edward Mathurin

Submitted by: patricia crichton-mathurin
Born: 1967
Died: 2014
My Tribute: My son fought his addiction for many years and was clean for over three years. He had a built a new life, was three months shy of getting a college degree, had rebuilt our relationship.,.,.,It makes no sense why he had to go,. I am so angry at this disease. My son was funny, loved golf and lived life large.

Missing my big brother

Submitted by: Joanna
Born: 1980
Died: 2014
My Tribute: I think about you every minute, missing you every second and reminiscing of our good times growing up together. You knew I loved you, I’m sorry that it turned into tough love as you’re illness, your addiction took over. I should of told you I loved you every chance I had. I let four years go by, fighting and having you think I didn’t care. I’m sorry Robby, but it’s too late now….I will never get to say it again. I wish I could of taken your pain away, that made you turn to drugs and alcohol. I didn’t know that’s how sad you were. I promise I will take care of your unborn baby girl …the circle of life. Your life will go on through her. I love you big brother. And I still think you were the best brother. I hope you and dad are now at peace together.
I’m 24 years old, i lost my dad exactly five months ago due to alcoholism on his 60th bday and just two months later I get another horrible phone call, this time it was my brother that had OD on heroin in his newly pregnant girlfriends home. To top everything off, I have had custody of my sisters 3 youngest children for 1 year, due to her heroin addiction, I also have two young sons myself. Taking care of five children and trying to accept the deaths due to depression and addiction is the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with of my 24 years of life. But who else would do it? I have to stay strong. Life is hard, but please don’t turn to drugs….it hurts everyone.

Samantha (Sammy) Medinger

Submitted by: Jody Medinger
Born: 1989
Died: 2014
My Tribute: My beautiful only child fought her demons bravely and was called home on Jan 4th, 2014, due to an overdose.

Thomas R. Kaminski

Submitted by: April Kaminski
Born: 1983
Died: 2014
My Tribute: Born 2 days before Christmas, my baby brother was the best gift I ever had. Not only a gift to me, but to each & every soul he ever met. Tom was a magnet, without effort he attracted all around him. It was his entire being. He hid an addiction to pain pills from us all. Some assumed gambling was the problem, never imagined the truth. He finally made a break through, realizing he needed some help. That was when we found out- he admitted himself into a treatment center May 2013. He then said he was okay, and we believed (hoped). September came, he moved away to help Dad on his re-locating to the newly built cabin in the mountains of Cherokee. Tom “needed to get away for a while.” He told close friends he was going away to get better. He came back after 4 months clean, healing, fresh.
In just 3 short weeks being home, my mother desperately tried to wake him. She found him too late.
Tommy died January 2013 of a heroin overdose.
Shock.Horror.Regret.Guilt.Anger.Confusion.Deceit.Sadness.Pain.What if’s. Too many thoughts circle in our minds. Tommy was a dear friend, a much loved brother, a cherished and only son, a loving uncle.
The unanswered questions eat us away, how? when? why? WHY!?