I love and miss you so much, Baby Girl.
I am in awe when I recall how valiantly you battled to gain control over the Opioid Use Disorder and Dopamine Deficiency that slowly ravaged your life, your health, your dreams… and caused you to lose contact with family members and friends along the way. You never stopped loving any of us.
I had the opportunity to be by your side for this last decade, as you bravely “Fought the Good Fight.” I stroked your hair and cared for you when you endured agonizing, crippling withdrawal symptoms in hopes of freeing yourself from the grip of opioid addiction.
Each time you succeeded, your true self shone through – your genuine love for people, your incredible sense of humor, intelligence and generosity.
My Girl, our world truly lost some of its sparkle when you passed away…
Looking forward to being with you again,
Because of You, Shean
I truly understand the meaning of unconditional love. From the moment you entered this world, I felt a love I had never experienced with anyone else. I also felt a great responsibility, since you depended on me for taking care of and providing for you. Unconditional love is defined as “caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves.” I never expected anything more from you in return, other than maybe a hug or a “thank you daddy” when you were old enough to talk. I believe the intensity, depth, and duration of grief is directly related to the amount of love we have for people who are no longer with us. That is why as long as I live, I will miss you. Because when you died, a piece of me died as well. But I believe that despite your physical absence, your spirit continues to live on in me. I strive to continue to be a father you would be proud of. As I encouraged you to try to make a difference every day, so I try to do the same. Whether it’s spending time with another bereaved parent, donating blood, or participating in groups that bring awareness to the neurological changes caused by prescription opioids that quickly results in addiction or some other activity which keeps another person safe from opioid addiction, I always have you in my mind. You continue to encourage me in ways I can’t even comprehend. But I know you are always with me and I will always love you unconditionally.
Jean was 33 when he passed away from an accidental opioid overdose. Some told us how lucky we were to have had him in our lives for 33 years. While that is true, our hearts knew there is Never a ‘good’ time to bury a child. Not at 33 years, 33 days, or 33 minutes… Not ever. We didn’t just lose him at the moment of his passing. We lost him at every future stage, along with every hope for him, and every dream.
Jean graduated from Cal Poly with a B.S. in English. His career was focused on education, specifically, a high school educator. In his personal life, he was a devoted fan of the CA Angels, a private pilot, he cared deeply about animals, and had recently become engaged to the love of his life.
Jean’s smile and kind eyes endeared him to so many. He shook hands with sincerity and warmth. His enthusiastic bear hugs were memorable. His robust laughter filled a room with joy. We miss him with every breath we take, every beat of our hearts.
For us, the passing of our son presented many different and conflicting beliefs and feelings common to this journey, but NOT to us. In the early days of our son’s passing, we were heartsick as we awakend day after day to the nightmare of child loss. All we wanted was to be with our son. We were continually consumed by loneliness, gut-wrenching sorrow, and heartache. How could parents survive a minute or a day, let alone a WHOLE YEAR without their child?
It was the support of kind and caring friends met through GRASP and Families Anonymous that was the key to our survival.