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!?

Sammy Daniels

Submitted by: Belinda Daniels
Born: 1992
Died: 2013
My Tribute: Love of our lives. We miss you with every breath we take.
We are so proud of how hard you tried.
Love you forever. Mum and Dad❤️

Brandon McKennon

Submitted by: Debbie Michalik (Mom)
Born: 1983
Died: 2013
My Tribute: Gone too soon! I will always remember your sweet smile, and the loving person you were. Drugs took over your life, but it never took away your kind & loving heart. I miss you so very much! When you died, a piece of me died with you. My life is forever changed without you! I am trying to take peace in knowing, that you are no longer facing your demons, and that you are safe in the loving arms of our Lord! Rest in Peace my son! I love you!

Justin Olsen

Submitted by: Kit Olsen
Born: 1989
Died: 2014
My Tribute: My loving son Justin who I miss terribly but is still near and dear to my heart.

Raymond Zaorski

Submitted by: Karen Zaorski
Born: 1983
Died: 2010
My Tribute: Our beautiful first born child, Raymond, was smart, cheerful, funny, artistic, kind and loving. He was a delightful, curious child growing up. He always had a smile on his face. He enjoyed playing with his younger brother and time spent with his grandparents. He loved drawing and all things creative. Ray was a talented soccer player and also played basketball and lacrosse, skied, roller bladed and skate boarded. He played the trumpet in elementary and middle school. In high school, he learned to play the guitar. He was a big fan of all kinds of music, and had some really fun dance moves. Ray relished time spent with friends. He was an avid outdoorsman and concerned about preserving the environment. He experienced nature through hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and sailing. He was a member of Outdoor Leadership in high school and part of a boat building team. There he was able to learn new skills and flourish. As a young adult, he spent many weekends with friends hiking area trails. He was fortunate to have had the love of a beautiful girlfriend and fiancee whom he planned to spend the rest of his life with.

Ray grew up with some challenging learning disabilities and ADD. Learning came, but with much struggle. He expressed that he was different from others, even when he was in a specialized school environment which focused on his strengths. Like many of his peers, he experimented with alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana in his teens. Unlike many of his peers, he became addicted to substances. “Mom, don’t worry”, he’d say. “I know what I’m doing.” He thought he had control over his drinking and drug use, but of course he didn’t and it only got worse over time. He did the outpatient counseling route but never embraced that he was in trouble with substances…even when using substances caused problems for him. When we were unable to get adolescent treatment for him in CT, he went to Utah for 73 days for an outdoor wilderness therapy program, then to a 12 month transition program for young adults in New Mexico. Upon returning home, he had some successes, relapse, some struggles, and then more successes. When we received the phone call that no parent wants to get, we did not know that he was using drugs again. Our first born child was found dead from an accidental cocaine overdose by his fiancee. Our lives would forever be changed without our beloved Raymond.

This nightmare is one that is sadly being experienced by far too many families around this country. There is easy access to dangerous substances of every kind imaginable in every community in our cities, suburbs and rural areas. The immense infiltration of drugs in our society puts every young person at risk. It is time to stop talking about what we know is a problem out of control and start taking action if we are going to put a stop to the destruction of this generation of youth who would otherwise have promising futures. How many more families must be destroyed?

Today, my husband and I attend a monthly GRASP support group which helps with our healing. I volunteer for a grassroots organization called Wolcott Crossroads which was established as a result of too many deaths of young people in our town. I also am involved with a state-wide grassroots group called CT Turning to Youth and Families which focuses on initiating change so youth and young adults can access necessary treatment and recovery supports. It isn’t an easy thing for a parent whose lost a child to overdose to be out there with our story, but if it helps one young person or one family then it’s well worth the pain and effort. It’s important for those who can to bring awareness to the epidemic of drug use and the stigma associated with the disease of addiction and this nation-wide pediatric health crisis. Eyes must be opened to the fact the addiction doesn’t discriminate and it’s ending the lives of promising young people daily all across this nation.

Chris Spencer

Submitted by: Lynn Spencer
Born: 1987
Died: 2012
My Tribute: Chris was a beautiful person inside and out, he died of a disease he fought for 5 years, in the end the damage to his body from the drugs took his life. He will be forever missed by so many especially his sister and Mom.

“A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam and for a brief moment it’s glory and beauty belong to the world. But then it flies on again and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel so lucky to have seen it” Anonymous