AJ was loved and supported during his struggle with addiction. He had a caring and beautiful wife and together they had an absolutely precious little girl. AJ continued to struggle with sobriety and drug use, lies became bigger and he turned away from the people who loved him the most. His wife, Jenna, could no longer bear the pain and had to end their marriage. His brother and best friend was forced to turn away from him because their relationship became one sided with all of the lies. He didn't get to celebrate his daughter's first birthday. This is what addiction does, it takes everything you love and cherish away from you.
Following is the eulogy his ex-wife, Jenna, gave at AJ's funeral and she says it perfectly.
Today I want to speak on behalf of the boy I met when I was 15 years old and the man I grew to love and share a life with. I want to speak on behalf of the guy who was deemed "most likely to brighten your day" and "talks the most but says the least" in his high school yearbook (which I know isn't a surprise to many) and the guy who was my date to every high school dance. I want us to remember the kind-hearted person he was and the love he shared for soccer, music, Ohio State football, orange sherbet ice cream with nerds, his shoe collection and most importantly, BREAD. (SMILE)
I don't think I'm alone in saying AJ's smile and laugh could light up a room which makes sense because he loved to be the center of attention! He always knew the right thing to say to comfort someone and was willing to help, even though he was struggling himself. He had the best sense of humor, sometimes even laughing to himself at his own endless stream of jokes. AJ was present during some of the best and worst times of my life and I will always treasure those moments we had together. I'm thankful for the many years of happiness we shared.
More recently, AJ had rekindled his relationship with God and it was heartwarming to watch it grow as we attended church together. Nothing separates us from God's love, not our addictions and not our sins. AJ gave me the greatest gift a person can give and that is the gift of life, for that I am eternally grateful. My heart breaks for our daughter, Nora, who will never get the opportunity of getting to know her father. I hope she inherits his generosity, his kindness and his genuine love and caring for others. I will make sure she knows he loved her, and share all of our memories with her someday as I encourage all of you to do as well. She is the best part of him that he left behind for us to cherish. We will celebrate his life and carry him deeply in our hearts always and forever. I love you AJ.