Submitted by: Kimberley Monari
My Tribute: Patrizia had a blessed beginning. Some would say charmed, but that implies magic. I’ll stay with blessed. She was a child of 3 worlds, an American Mother, a British Father, born & baptized in Rome. She was born in Sacred Heart Hospital, the same university teaching hospital where Pope John Paul II was treated. When she was 3 months old, we met Mother Teresa @ the convent of the Missionaries of Charity. I shot the picture of Mother Teresa holding her in the air, the photo of a lifetime! At 18 months she won a baby pageant, “Nevada’s Tiny Baby”. She began ballet classes @ 2 yrs. In kindergarten, she was the hula-hoop champion of her school, beating even 8th graders. As a Santa Cruz 1st grader she noticed that our neighbor’s newspapers were piling up which led to the woman’s rescue, which led to her being hailed as a hero in the local paper. In the 4th grade she started a school newspaper since there was none. She was a Brownie Scout & was a top cookie seller as we ventured into the untapped territories of her Grandmother’s Senior Center & UC Santa Cruz where I worked. She loved her rabbits & was the natural baby sitter @ family gatherings.
After moving to San Diego, she played basketball in the 7th grade & was a cheerleader in the 8th grade. She was selected for the Performing Arts high school & as a sophomore was a teaching assistant in ballet. She branched out in other areas of dance, becoming proficient in tap, modern, jazz & hip-hop. She was an Avon lady @ 12, started a dog-walking business & made an art studio in the garage for the neighbors. Dabbling with speed, led to an addiction to meth whioch later brought on the double challenge of voices, hence dual diagnosis. She spent 10 months in a hospital specifically for this in the country hills above San Diego. After she was discharged she met many new friends, including a new boyfriend that was an artist. He liked something besides art. My daughter died of a Heroin overdose in his storage unit after dating him 1 month.
Submitted by: Debbie Len
My Tribute: My beautiful boy passed away at the age of 24 from an accidental overdose of heroin. He was a chef, loved music, his family, and friends. He was an avid Ice Hockey player and loved the New York Rangers. We miss him more than words can say and his sister, Katie, and I are working through the loss of Zachary to help raise awareness of this terrible disease and to help others.
Submitted by: Anitria
My Tribute: Anthony grew up a very happy, high spirited young boy. He attended schools in the Brentwood and graduated in 2012. We were both so happy when he graduated. He then went on to enroll in Community College. Anthony was nice, and always would help anyone in need. He was a true friend to everyone. But he struggled with self-esteem, depression and anxiety issues. As a pre-teen I noticed this and we went to counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors and even inpatient treatment. He just wanted to feel better. But our efforts were unsuccessful for him. Anthony turned to drugs to self medicate so he could feel, what he thought, was “normal”. In March of 2014 he told me he needed help from Heroin.
When he told me, it was like someone ripped my heart right out of my body. We talked about drugs and the effects it has on people’s lives. He even told me about people he knew of that died from drug overdoses. So, I just didn’t understand how this ugly drug found my family. I cried and he cried that day. But, help is just what I did. We immediately put him in a rehab. He wanted to go. He wanted to get better. Anthony completed the 30 day program. When he was released he gave me the biggest hug. He was so happy to be out of there. But, he did it. He didn’t leave, he completed the program.
Anthony was doing good for about 3 months after rehab. But, then I started to notice old habits. He would come home in the wee hours of the night or not at all. It was hard at times to confront Anthony, because he was strong willed when he wanted to do something, and just the difficulty of being with someone who is 20 years old. I confronted Anthony about my suspicions the day before he died. Anthony got really angry with me. He got really defensive. He said some really disrespectful things to me that day. After that conversation, Anthony didn’t come home that night at all.
I woke up as usual to get ready for work. Then Anthony came strolling in. I was in the bathroom and he called me to the kitchen. When I came to the kitchen, he said, “Now mom, don’t get scared”. I was thinking to myself oh Lord what has happened. I then said, “what Anthony, what’s wrong.” He then says, “Mom, I just saw a mouse in the kitchen.” Now let me stop and say this, anyone who knows me knows that I hate rodents or anything that looks like a rodent. I mean I’m deathly afraid of them. So, when he told me this, I immediately started to scream at the top of my lungs and jump onto one of the kitchen table chairs. As I was doing this, I looked over at Anthony and he was laughing hysterically. He said, “Mom I was just joking.” For some reason Anthony always found it funny to scare the living you know what out of me. But, looking back I now see that he was just trying to break the ice between us. He then apologized for the things he said the day before. I also apologized and explained to him that I just want him to get his life together. I wanted him to win in life and just be happy.
We then talked a bit about his plans for school then, Anthony said, “See ya later mom. I said, “See ya later Anthony.” That was the last time I saw my son alive. Later that day he went to a friends house and overdosed on Heroin. There are many regrets I have. One, not knowing anything about this drug and the hold it has on people. Two, that last morning I spoke to him, I noticed him nodding in and out. I asked him if he was okay and he said that he was just tired from hanging out all night with his buddies.I didn’t want to make him angry again so I said nothing. I wish I would have just said what I was thinking whether he got angry or not. Maybe he would have told me. Maybe not. But I think he was ashamed to tell me he fell off again.
Don’t be afraid to confront them. But, don’t be so harsh where they would be afraid to tell you they made a mistake again. Tell them you love them. We hope that the love and treatment is enough, but alot of times it isn’t. So, I guess I wish I would of told Anthony to call me if he got in trouble and that I love him no matter what. Anthony hated what he was doing. Drug addicts isn’t what you see on T.V. They are not always on the streets, dirty, begging for money. Drug addicts are your neighbors who work everyday, drug addicts are kids from good homes, in college, This drug doesn’t care what color you are, how much money you have or whether you have great parents or not so great parents.This drug will destroy your life and the lives of those around you. Good kids are trying this and it only takes one time. Anthony wanted to live. He wanted to fall in love, get married, have kids. He won’t get that chance. I won’t get that chance to experience any of those things with him. Anthony was my only son and my life will never be the same. I hope his story will save a life. I hope it will save a family. I love and miss you Anthony. Love Mom
Submitted by: Jan
My Tribute: My precious son died one month ago of an alcohol and heroin overdose. He struggled a short 3 years with his addiction but it was the heroin he experimented with in college that was the death grip. He was a very amazing young man that lost his way, lost his grip and could not get back. If he only understood how amazing he was, maybe he did see that at the huge turnout at his service of friends and relatives he touched from all over this country and even Canada and Turkey. My heart is broken and yet my heart rejoices to know how he touched so many, including me, my husband, and his one brother. Though a short life, 23 years, it was a wonderful life that I was fortunate enough to be able to proudly say I was his mother. The past couple of years were so hard as I witnessed and tried to help as he struggled, suffered, and eventually succumbed to the horrors of drugs and alcohol. He will be missed but not forgotten in this worldly life. He no longer struggles but has found true peace and for now we will continue to share his story and our many wonderful memories.
Submitted by: Friend of Bill W’s
My Tribute: Her family loved and cared about her deeply but didn’t want to discuss the problem. She tried to get clean, entered rehab, attended women’s recovery camps, and had periods of sobriety and fellowship. She even moved from one state to another 6 months before her death. Unfortunately she overdosed in August 2014. No real obituary, no rememberances of her work for kids with cancer, her love of the beach, or her support of many charities. It’s like her life was erased because she was an addict. This makes me sad; addicts are more than their addiction.