Joseph  Shultz

Joseph Lee Shultz

Brother, father, life of the party, old soul, live free.

My brother was a realist who saw everyone for who they were. Addict or not, he saw the very best in you, no matter what. At a young age, my brother and I would spend so much time together, going on camping trips, to the beach, just living life. We always stayed connected even when he moved to Jersey a couple of times. I never knew anything about addiction until we both watched my sister go through a horrible heroin addiction--in and out of many rehabs, letters--we watched and were a part of it all. Except there was one thing I didn't know about my brother....I didnt' know that he was addicted to heroin. Joey and I got into our fair share of trouble but we were thick as thieves. We were always together. He used to live in Downingtown and that's when I first tried coke. We stayed up for hours talking about life and so much more. He may have had an addiction way before any of us finally figured it out. He loved his family and friends. Being around a lot of people at one time was his thing. He wanted to be around as many people as possible and now I understand why. Whenever we would hang out, we would take some pills, do a couple lines of coke and drink a little but I never thought anything of it. He was the most caring person I've ever known in my life. He made a huge impact on everyone he came into contact with. He was a huge player, and looooooved the ladies, but when he was actually in love, he loved hard. There was a period of time where he and I lost contact, but I'll never forget the night he called me just to talk. He went to a bar in one night and someone accused him of harming a female. If you knew my brother and everything he stood for, you would know that what he was accused of wasn't right at all. He was a firm believer of hit first ask questions later, and that's what he did. He called me and told me that someone was accusing him and he didn't like it. He had enough and beat the guy saying all of this rude, disrespectful stuff to him. Then, he said I can't do this anymore. I wish I would've been more attentive to what he meant instead of just agreeing. The next day he came over and I could tell he was different by the way he stood there with the blank stare, not talking, trying to make jokes but it was directed at his own pain. I was watching someone I loved so much die right in front of me. I'm not sure when his addiction started, and my sister believes and carries the weight of believing that she was the one who caused him to become addicted to heroin. It could've started when he was in the hospital for a number of things, broken bones, liver problems, or it could've started in 2009 when our grandfather took his last breath. But I didn't help. You see, I was an addict myself, except my drug of choice was crystal meth. I didn't care about anyone but myself and how I was going to get my next fix. But I was dating the dealer so I stopped worrying, and I started thinking about how much I needed to get me through the rest of the day and how much I needed for the next day. I was already a mother of two, heavy meth addiction, toxic/abusive relationship. But Joey was always there for me. He was my protector, my safe zone, my go-to guy, he was me. Joey had a contagious smile and laugh, and pure happiness, joy, and love expelled from him. It was to hard to ignore. He was the life of the party, and there was never a dull moment with Joe. I was five years into a really toxic relationship, and the person I thought I was going to spend my life with took a turn for the worse. I was mentally, emotionally, and verbally abused for majority of our relationship, but Joey was always there to lift me up even if he didn't know the real reason behind my pain, even while he was drowning himself. I'll never forget the day I was told that he passed. It still haunts me to this day. I was pregnant with my third child, it was 21 days after his birthday. I was still in my active addiction. I was coming back from a doctor's appointment at the ob when my mom called me and said she had something to tell me and that I needed to get there right away. Taking a step back, my parents got divorced shortly after my 21st birthday and Joey was still alive but we never spoke. When I showed up to my moms house, both my mother and my father were on the porch waiting for me. They did that stupid look that parents do when they have something important to say but no one wants to say it. They looked at each other and I was pissed off cause well I needed my drugs and I didn't care what they had to say, so I shouted to spit it out! I'll never forget this. I watched tears well up in my father's eyes. He looked at my mom and then they said what I was hoping to never hear. Joey passed away this morning. He was found alone, blue, not breathing for sometime. My brother died of an overdose, alone. I dropped to my knees and cried like a baby, and then I ran. It's been almost three years since he's passed and I still haven't accepted it and I don't think I really ever will. My brother meant everything to me and life is not the same anymore. But because of his death and this disease, I am two years sober. I made the decision to better myself and my life for me, for my kids, and for my family. Joey, today I am sober because of you. Today I can share my experience, strength, and hope with other people. It's because of you that I love everyone a little bit harder, and it's because of you that I can make people smile even when I'm struggling. It's because of you I learned how to be selfless and more caring to those around me. You've taught me so much as life went on and I carry those things with me for the rest of my life. You were an amazing person, a wonderful brother, grandchild, father, nephew, and uncle. You were the light everyone was proud to be around. I miss you big brother, and thank you for touching so many lives. Your memory lives on. I wish I would've been able to say goodbye. You were the life of the party and this party is dull now. Truly missed and loved, and damn sure never forgotten. Live free 🖤

Overdoses have increased 42% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Help us save lives.

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Overdoses have increased 42% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Help us save lives.

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