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.