James Arthur Klein, Jr.

Submitted by: Barbara Kenny
Born: 1974
Died: 2010
My Tribute: Our beloved 35-year-old son, Jamie died as a result of a “cocktail” of heroin and meth. A trace of ecstasy along with his prescribed medications were also found in his system.

Jamie struggled during most of his life with a depressive disorder, which led to his having low self-esteem and self-medicating or addictions beginning when he was approximately 15. We rode the rollercoaster, that many of you have experienced until he graduated from high school. During his senior year he pre-enlisted in the Navy, entered just after his 18th birthday, served four years, including tours in Okinawa, Somalia, and was honorably discharged. The discipline that his service provided tempered his behaviors and addictions; however, within a year of his discharge, he lost total control. His drugs of choice became alcohol and cocaine, but he admitted that he had “tried” everything. When we and he knew that he was at the bottom, most probably facing jail or death, he went into rehab for a six weeks. Jamie was 23 and was truly the master of his fate and that all we could do was love and support him.

Jamie lived in a sober living house for close to 2 years, worked, started college again, and attended lots of meetings, ultimately working with CA. Jamie stayed sober for one month short of eleven years. During these years we have not only amassed wonderful memories, but Jamie grew up, traveled extensively, met a young woman he loved and married, finished college, was very successful at whatever job he held, and on July 11, 2009, became a father, to a son, Matthew.

Jamie was an extremely tenderhearted man who wept when he saw his sister in her wedding dress, wept when he saw his bride, wept when he learned that he would have a little “surfing and camping” buddy, and wept on the day of his son’s birth. He loved his family (blood & non-blood), animals, the ocean, surfing, and traveling.

My husband and I were truly unaware of what was happening. We did know that he used prescribed drugs; he had gone to a psychiatrist (which he refused to do when he got sober for he knew he would be put on meds). I noticed changes in Jamie when we went to California after/for the babies’ births and spoke to him about his speaking to his psychiatrist about the meds he was taking. I believed the meds were the problem.

We learned in September 09 of his using: a hallucinogen and pot late in 08, and eventually he started mixing meth, ecstasy, and heroin in various cocktails in addition to taking his prescribed meds. His wife, sister, her husband, his sponsor, and best friend staged two interventions a week apart in mid September 2009. He lied when he went to the detox center and was refused entry. After the second, he was left in a hotel room to decide what he wanted, and after a horrifying night of worry, his best friend called at 7 and gladly took him to the rehab center he had chosen. He remained there for 1 month. His father in law and I picked him up on October 23rd. He didn’t want to stay in rehab longer, but went into a sober living house from which he returned to work, attended meetings, and saw his wife and son. Early in December, he moved back in to the house, for he wanted to be with his family. I advised against it; however, he was a 35-year-old man and had to make his own choices.

I came in on Christmas Day and for 6 days spent as much time as I could with both my daughter, Jennifer’s and Jamie’s families. The last time I saw Jamie was December 30th when he, his sister, Jennifer, her husband, and I went to the Holiday Bowl. After the game Jamie and I hugged, kissed, said, “I love you” as we did after every conversation, and I said, “See you in March,” as I planned to come in for his sister’s and wife’s birthdays.

Jamie was an avid surfer who had surfed big waves all over the world. He had gone to Todos Santos, off the Baja coast with a friend before the new year and it got him all fired up to get back into surfing and the waters he so loved. Early January, when no one he called was able to go with him, he went alone. What exactly happened, we’ll never really know, but after being hit by a 30 foot wave and a board, really hurting his leg, he stayed the night in Mexico. We believe that he bought drugs, and very quickly became entrenched with trying for the ultimate cocktail. Both Jennifer and I spoke to him the evening of the February 8th, and although his wife and baby were in Florida to meet some of his wife’s family, we thought all was okay. Jamie was found, having fallen over the back of his sofa (as if walking forward), at 8:00 the next morning. Along with the many, many tears shed that day, it rained most of the day in San Diego on February 9, 2010.

Too many similar stories, leaving too many broken hearts and futures,

Barbara, Jamie’s Mom