Submitted by: Judy Ball/mom
My Tribute: It has been almost a year since my baby boy left this earth. Just before his 35th birthday. His struggles with addiction began with pain meds from three back surgeries before he was 21. There was never a time when he wasn't in pain, but over time he learned to manage it.
Tim was the "favorite fun uncle," the guy with a smile and laugh that lit up the room, a dedicated son and brother, and so much more. After years in and out of jail and rehabs, ups and downs, he finally hit rock bottom and got serious about sobriety. And he was sober for 4 years. He remarried and was madly in love with his beautiful wife and was an amazing dad to her two children. He started going back to school and he and his wife opened a sober living home in Salt Lake City. It was a dream that took them almost two years to achieve, but they did it! They lived on the premises and their guys were like family. They ate meals together and had group therapy, helped them find jobs, taught them how to iron so they would look nice for interviews, etc. Tim was the "fixer" for everyone and refused to let anyone down or leave anyone alone and struggling. It was exhausting and stressful, but rewarding.
And then, one night when his wife was staying at the hospital with her son, something caused Tim to snap. We don't know what it was and never will, but it took one—just one—hit of heroin. A deadly dose for someone who had been clean for so long. And he was gone. I will never forget getting that call on a Saturday morning here in California where we moved less than two years ago. I am so grateful to have found the NPR piece about this group. The hole in my heart will never completely heal and I miss him every single day, but there is also a part of me that experienced a sense of relief somehow...relief that he is free from all the pain and the sometimes minute by minute struggle to stay sober. He fought long and hard and I was so proud of him for being the man I always knew he could be. The person who sold him that lethal dose (and knew it would be...) is going to jail for two years and then 3 of probation. I hope he learns something. But I choose to focus on the legacy Tim left and the huge impact he had on so many people's lives. His laughter rings in my ears and his smile is in front of me whenever I close my eyes and think of him.
I love you, Timmy. Forever and always, my baby you'll be.