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Tell us about your loved one.
Michael loved sports especially football. His favorite teams were BYU, and Chicago Bears. We went to a BYU game when he was 5 years old and saw Jim McMann play, it just seems like yesterday. We all stood up when Jim threw a touch pass and Mike spilled his drink on a fan in front of him and the man turned around and hugged him. Happiness for the touch down overwhelmed us all. At eight years old he played little league football as running back, until he was in 9th grade. He had loosing seasons and winning ones, and I coached his 10 year old team we won six games and lost 3. In the last game Mike played his hart out carrying the ball and most of the time and getting a first down on his own to set up the score to win the game. His last year he played his team when undefeated and won the ninth grade state championship. Unfortunately his hart grew big about the game but his body was so small. He stood about 5ft then well below his teammates height of 6ft or higher. Yet he did his best cheering on the sidelines for his teammates. We enjoyed watching the sports together and often when to games together. He graduated from Copperhills High School and learned to read. He read a novel a week mostly about vampires, monsters, and zombies, and collected comic books about the same type of novels. He loved the outdoors and hiking and fishing. His uncle took him on a hike across the Uinta Mountain range and loved fishing at Crystal Lake. He walked everywhere or rode his bicycle. He had a very kind hart and love his grandma very much. He want so much to help her as she grew older by painting her bedroom and helping his uncle cleaning up his yard a few days before his death he had called them to make plans for the spring clean up. We enjoyed movies together and went often. His favorite movies were the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, Star Wars and horror movies. I liked Star Trek, which he did not like but he went with me to all of them just because he loved me.
Tell us about Michael's struggle with addiction
He comes from a long line of addicts, even five generations that I know of. One of his great grandfathers was know as the drunk of Bountiful Utah. So by the time he was 14 he gravitated to kids who were consuming alcohol and by the time he reached 16 we had placed him in a treatment program for drug and alcohol addiction. We got him sober by 17 and he graduated from High School. Soon afterward me and his mother divorced and he married another addict. Their sobriety ended about three years into their marriage. From then on his life was filled with being successful when he was sober and tumbling when he acted out. He was in and out of jail along with his wife. Getting jobs and loosing them for not passing drug tests. At the age of 23 his friends started dying form their addictions, but this did not stop him or keep him sober. In 2005 he got into prescription drugs and found doctors who would prescribe them in abundance. So instead of working he sold these drugs on the street. Into 2010 I called an ambulance because I thought he had overdosed when the police arrived and checked his prescriptions he had 7 of the most highly controlled drugs and not just 30 pills but each prescription had over 300 pills. He was on Medicare for a bad back and depression so he got most of his prescriptions for less than 10 dollars, but often sold them on the street for over $1,000 of dollars. After selling them he would buy cocaine and had overdosed 3 times before his overdose death. I struggled with him and tried very hard not to be a codependent parent. I held him accountable for most of his acting out, but like most parents I wanted to believe him when he told me he was sober, but each time it was just a lie. The last month of his life he again said he was sober we had been going to movies and had plans for the summer. I took to a pawn shop to sell his movies he said it was to by food, but 5 days later he died of drug overdose. His last words to me was I love you, Dad.
What made Michael smile?
Going to a BYU game and playing a joke on me, I am a great straight guy. He smiled at working hard on his jobs and being with his family. He laugh out loud at the movies while most of us grinned. He loved eating unhealthy food. He loved bugs and animals as a small boy I often found spiders in his pants or a lizard or toad. They were his friends. He loved his brother and sister too and often would take about them.
What do you miss most about Michael?
I miss the early morning calls telling me he missed the bus and can you come and take me to work. I miss his friendship when he was sober, we had some fun times together. Most of all I miss holding my son and telling him I love him.