Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My brother Jared

Pin It Now! My youngest brother, Jared passed away Sunday, March 22, 2009. He was only 22 years old, and he died of a drug overdose from accumulated oxycontin. My mom called me with the news the same day it happened, and I drove the 5 hours from my home in Houston to Baton Rouge the next morning. Ironically, I had just returned from a leisurely visit from Baton Rouge only the day before Jared died. I am so grateful that I had those last good memories with him. We had a family dinner together for my birthday on March 16th, and we all just sat around the table laughing and enjoying each other’s company. My kids loved their uncle, and he was always good about playing and wrestling with them.

We all knew about Jared’s addiction… he was open about it and expressed to us his desire to quit. I remember him telling me that oxycontin was “better than heroine”. Everyone tried to help him, but he was just so deep and had become a slave to the drug. He was scheduled to check into rehab again the very next day, and wanted one last high. So many emotions and questions have run through me this past week. Did he want to die? Could he have quit drugs if he tried? Where did he stand in his faith and did he truly want to change? Surprisingly, a lot of the answers came the same week that he passed, which brought me an immense amount of comfort and understanding. I know that he is in good hands. He will be my brother forever and I know that our family ties are eternal.

I’d like to share a memory of Jared. He and my other two brothers were little “Tom Sawyers”. Someone would do well to write a book about all their crazy adventures growing up… falling out of 50 foot trees, biking accidents, getting run over by a car, and eating their pet iguana. Yes, the emergency room knew my brothers on a first name basis. When I was 18 years old my parents left my older sister and me to care for my younger brothers while they were out of town for a few days. One morning, my sister and I woke up to an empty house… no sign of any of my three brothers. We just thought the punks were taking advantage of our parents being out of town and snuck out to play with their friends. A few hours later we got a call from our brother John (17) that they were all at the hospital. Apparently, Jesse (14) and Jared (11) had captured a highly poisonous cottonmouth snake. These clever boys decided that they were going to MILK the snake for its venom to sell. Jared, of course, got bitten in his “milking” attempt. I guess they woke up my brother, John to drive them to the hospital instead of us because he wouldn’t yell at them as much. Luckily, Jared was fine… his finger turned black, stopped growing and lost all feeling for the rest of his life, but he was alive. My parents were pretty upset to say the least. It’s a fun story to tell because it illustrates Jared’s carefree and fun spirit so well.

I miss him so much. This past week has been so heartbreaking for my entire family, but I am so touched by the amazing outpouring of love from church members, friends, and neighbors. Thank you for all the kindnesses you have shown to my family.


A-me said...


We are so sorry to hear about your loss. He sounds like an amazing brother.

You are in our thoughts and we are sending you lots of positive energy and hugs.

Much Love,
Aimee, Aaron, Izzie & Elliott

ang :o) said...

That was really beautifully written Jodi. I love the stories even though I didn't know him. And knowing he was a part of you, and if he was anything like you, I'm sure he was amazing!

KG is the only one of five boys not to struggle with addictions. Two of his brothers are in prison. I know of the pain and evil of addiction and watching those you love so trapped in their grasp.

Big hugs coming your way.

Philip, Melissa, & Summer said...

Please call me to watch your kids if you would like to go to the temple or anything, or even if you just want to hang out. I will be gone on April 7th-21st, but other than that I am open.

Janell said...

That was beautiful Jodi.

Deon said...

Hugs to you, Jodi. We never know what will hit us in this life - I am so sorry for your pain and hope that day by day the good memories overtake it. Know that the extended Taits all love you and are thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Jodi...I remember you talking about him at Ricks and the crazy stuff your brothers would do. He sounded awesome! Love ya.

Hillary said...

I am so sorry Jodi. I know how hard it is to lose a loved one. My brother passed away when I was sixteen. Your story hits home, along with a flood of emotions! Isnt the gospel wonderful.

Scott Family said...

You have been in our prayers Jodi. We are sorry for your families loss, I can't imagine how difficult it must be. Thinking of you.

Scott Family said...

p.s. I just realized I made "families" plural rather than possesive...excuse my grammar.

Linda said...

I remember that story of Jared and Jesse and many others. I will miss Jared so much. What a great post Jodi!

Love ya

Kathi said...

I am grateful that I read this Jodi. I had to laugh at the snake story. I remember going to the hospital with Jared holding his hand up and wanting to be upset with him and then not being able to because of that brilliant smile.

Love you!

Scott Family said...

Jodi, Thanks for sharing the story about your brother, Jared. I am sure Denny and Ashlyn are going to miss their uncle. I have to admit I got a little emotional when Rishelle told me about it. I hope you and your family are holding up ok. Myles

Pamela said...

I am so, so sorry to hear of your loss. Your post was touching; it sounds like you have a wonderful family and that they and the church will be a great strength to you.


Anonymous said...

HI! Jodi,
Your mom just told me about your web-site. As I read your note about Jared it brought back a flood of memories. I remember those "Tom Sawyers" and loved when my boys told me of your brothers' latest adventures. It's hard to believe they've all grown up and Jared is not longer "across the street". I used to love to look out across our yard and see all of the kids out in the front yard of your house- I knew an adventure was brewing! I'll always cherish those memories. Jared was a precious boy- he always had a smile and a kind word for me! Your family is in my prayers-
Mrs. Ann

Anna said...


We don't know each other. The randomness of the internet has brought me to you. To be honest, I couldn't even read your entire post regarding the passing of your brother. You see, I lost my younger brother Josh when he was 22 to a drunk driver. It was too hard to read your story. It's been 9 long and lonely years without him. Our stories are different. I would never ever compare them. No two sad stories are ever the same. But I tell you this: I am here mourning Jareds passing. Your brother. I miss him for you. As a sister who has lost a brother, I wish there was more I could do. *Raising my glass* To Jared.