Submitted by: Ashley
My Tribute: My cousin Justin was born on May 22nd, 1984. 11 days after me. We were very close as children and that bond remained into our adult years. We were always there for each other. We talked, we laughed, we cried, we loved unconditionally; that’s what family is supposed to be for. We were always been a big part of each other’s lives.
Justin started abusing substances at an early age and though he had periods of sobriety (some longer than others), he never really overcame his addictions. He came out of his last stint in rehab back in January 2015 and came to live with me for several weeks until he was able to find a job and move back home to help his mother.
On the evening of March 16th, he came to my house for a visit. He was obviously not sober and I expressed my concern for him. He told me he was fine and that he felt great. I believed him, mostly because I have seen him seemingly more intoxicated on many many other occasions. So I gave him dinner and a safe, warm place to sleep. He never woke up.
Tuesday, March 17th 2015 is a day that I will never forget. There was no indication, no way for me to know what I was going to wake up to. I decided to look in on him before I left for work and found it odd that he was in the exact same position I had last seen him in. I walked over to him and after calling out to him several times, I put my hand on the back of his neck and instantly knew that he was gone, he had been gone. I lost my best and lifelong friend that day and I will never be the same again.
The autopsy showed that Oxycontin and a miscalculated decision took my cousin out of this world. Accidental overdose is how his death was ruled.
Since then I have felt guilt, sadness, intense longing for his company, and just about every other emotion associated with grief. I miss my cousin, I miss my friend. They say it gets easier over time, but how does losing part of your heart, part of yourself ever get easier?