We miss Jared everyday! When he died he finally wanted to change. He was struggling with his demons but was there for our family for the first time in years. He was supposed to see my terminally ill father the morning we found him. My father passed away 10 days later. Grief is a personal journey that looks different for everyone. I believe that Jared and my father are resting together - somewhere in the universe! We miss them both every day!
Change is hard, very hard. I have personally changed in so many ways due to my enlightenment and education about the disease of substance use disorder. I no longer judge and have become an advocate for those struggling and have started a SMART recovery meeting for family and friends.
October 20, 2015
To Our Beautiful Son and Brother, Jared
All Jared ever really wanted was freedom and joy and for everyone around him to be with him and to share in it. Whether battling evil with his brother, Dan, in their matching Power Ranger costumes, inventing great adventures in Lake Geneva with his Grandma and Pop-Pop and cousins, or mischief-making with his neighborhood friends as a child, Jared would wear himself out having fun. He didn’t understand, sometimes, why the fun could not just go on forever. Jared was in love with the world around him and wanted to have a piece of everything and to never let go. He loved to be outside. He loved the woods and the desert, the stars and the oceans, the suburban yards and the city streets. Jared was always keenly aware of everything around him and would point out wildlife hidden in the periphery that no one else noticed. He loved animals. Fish and birds and deer and bears and dogs and cats – especially his beloved Smush – were equal partners in his universe. And Jared loved people.
Jared was a brilliant soul who attracted and collected people everywhere he went like a child collects fireflies on a summer night, drawn to their individual lights. Always carrying an endless repository of knowledge, ideas, and feelings, Jared was equipped and compelled to connect with whomever he met. He managed to find the good in everyone, even those who may have hurt him in the past. His capacity for forgiveness was infinite.
Music and art were at the center of his world. Jared would spend his last dollar on some obscure used record from the past, proudly display some folk-art treasure with a back-story and plan for months to not miss a favorite band. He would never miss an opportunity to jam with friends, play an open-mic night or help co-write or record a song with a fellow musician in his world. He loved the off-the-beaten-path bands as much as he loved the classic rockers. He loved instruments and sounds and equipment. Jared loved a lot.
Jared loved very hard as he wanted everyone to love him. His boundless energy for loving others came at a high cost, though, as he left very little for himself. That the world is not all freedom and joy and fun, and that not everyone is as unconditional as him wasn’t easy for Jared. Jared hid his private sorrow behind a mask and too often sought peace and comfort down a treacherous road, often alone. We had come to accept that Jared had a disease, and we knew he was at a crossroads where even he knew it.
Our last several weeks with Jared were amazing. He was trying so hard to change. Not perfection but progress. He had moved into an amazing apartment with an amazing roommate. We were together often and laughed and talked and fished and saw him clear-eyed and happy and hopeful. Jared and Dan watched a baseball game together on the phone from Springfield to Chicago. He finished every conversation with “I love you”. This is how we will remember our Beautiful Jared.