You died yesterday.
I still cannot quite wrap my head around this. It doesn't feel real. I talked to you the day before you passed..... You were so full of joy....full of hope...full of life. You talked to me about your new job. You talked to me about music. About fighting against injustice. You talked about all of the things that you were passionate about, and just about all of the beauty life has to offer in general.
We talked about the fact that the love of your life had given you another chance, and that you were optimistic about your future together, because she's just always been "The One". Wow, your joy and love just seemed to radiate through each and every word you spoke about her. I was so happy for you....
We talked about marriage....You wanted to get married one day....Quite possibly to your high school sweetheart who you'd finally been given another chance with. We joked about how funny life can be. My husband was MY high school sweetheart, and you were just reunited with yours.
We talked about children. About how amazing and awe-inspiring they are. About how you wanted to be a Daddy one day in the not too distant future...Boy, you were excited about that thought. You just had a few things you needed to square away personally before you were ready for parenthood.
After all, you were only 22. You had all the time in the world. You were so optimistic about the future.
You would have been such an amazing father, James.
And now you're gone. In the blink of an eye. Lost forever, thanks to the epidemic that is heroin addiction. 6 people have died in the past week from this horrible disease in our little city alone.....It broke my heart to learn you were one of these lives so tragically lost.
You had gotten clean, and were doing an amazing job. You didn't allow the challenges you faced to kill your spirit or your hope. You always had the most beautiful, positive attitude. It was infectious. Your kindness and compassion for others was infectious. You made our town a brighter place to live, and you touched the lives of everyone you met. You made people see the good in the world, and made them strive to be the best person they could be. You got people excited about making a positive difference in the world.
You had such a promising future ahead of you, but for reasons no one who hasn't ever suffered from addiction could ever understand, something lured you back to the demon you had warded off so well.
Maybe you were depressed, and hid it behind your contagious smile. Often, those who have the kindest, gentlest souls are suffering in silence. They aim to spread hope and love to everyone around them because it helps take away from the emptiness they feel inside, if only for a moment. They choose to love, because they know what it feels like to feel alone, unloved, or forgotten.
Or maybe it was meant to be one last ride.....For old time's sake. Maybe you thought you had this under control and that it wouldn't control you again. Maybe you thought you could handle it, just once more...Maybe the promise of an escape was too much to ignore this time.
No one will ever know the answers. No one will ever know why your life had to be cut short so tragically and unexpectedly.
One thing I DO know is that this is not fair. You didn't deserve this fate.
You had so much left to do. So much more life left to live. You should have had the opportunity to gaze lovingly at your bride as she walked down the aisle towards you.....
You should have known the immediate and incomparable love a parent feels when they first hold their child in their arms.....
You should have been the Daddy teaching his children to swim or ride their bikes....
You should have been a grandpa one day, telling stories to his wide-eyed grandbabies on a front porch swing somewhere.....
But these things won't ever happen now. And it breaks my heart completely. I mourn for the wonderful young man that you were, as well as for the man you surely would become one day.
Heroin is a thief. It robs so many of their joy. Of their hope. Of their lives. Heroin has stolen you, my friend, from so many who loved you. Parents lost their child. Siblings lost their brother. Your beautiful girlfriend lost the man she loves. And I, like so many others, lost my friend yesterday.
It's not fair. This never should have happened to you, James. I wish there was something I could have said or done to change things. I wish I could have helped you, whether it be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or even support while you went to rehab.
But I didn't know. No one did. And now you're gone.
It breaks my heart that you're no longer with us, but I hope that beautiful soul of yours is finally at peace. They always say the brightest lights burn out the quickest, and now I understand why. Your soul was too good for this world, apparently, so you were called back home to watch over us all.
Thank you for being a light of kindness in my life and in the lives of countless others. Please watch over us and comfort us as we grieve. This is hard, man. It's really, really hard.
Rest easy, James. I am glad that you were someone I considered a friend. You will be missed.