Submitted by Sara Coup
Where do you begin to tell one’s story that was so full of life and vivacious since birth? Jason was so very talented in a lot of things. He spent his early years playing hockey on elite travel teams and was known to the hockey world as “Wild Thing”. No fear in his position as goalie. He won several awards in his position and loved all his team mates (especially the ones he would play locker room jokes on) and respected his coaches and the game itself. He was at one time sponsored by Rollerblade in extreme rollerblading and fit that in during the off season of hockey. He loved his family and friends, snowboarding, skateboarding and his dog, Harley Davidson.
We figured out that Jason was an addict when he was a senior in high school. He battled his addiction for several years. In and out of jail, rehab centers and meetings, he just could not walk away or control the urge for the drugs. Many, many times he would tell me that he hated being an addict. Between the felonies, jobs that weren’t available to him because of his record and just plainly feeling crappy when he wasn’t using, he lost hope in himself. As a mom, I watched and tried to do all I knew how to do to ease his life, his pain and keep him on the “right track”. I often times said that I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Each day you knew there would be a heartbreak of some sort to deal with. My favorite from people during this period of time was “why can’t he just quit”. The stress of just dealing with ignorant people on the subject of addiction was exhausting. No mother brings a child into this world and wishes for them to have this type of life. People don’t wish for their children to have diabetes, heart trouble or any sort of other illness, why would we wish for addiction. People need to be educated!!!
After high school Jason continued to spiral down in addiction. His criminal activity led him to spending some time in jail. Where he would spend his days reading and talking to God. These were times where he was depressed but yet had hope to get out and have a fruitful life. Never did he lose his sense of humor or his love for others. In fact, many times he talked to me about how grateful he was that I was there to help him. He told me many stories of people he had met that had no one. He always had a heart for the down and out type of person. It was not uncommon for him to give his sandwich away or even his shirt off his back to someone in need. He had a dream of a transitional housing facility of people coming out of the penal system. A place where they could get the support and life skills they needed to be successful out in the world.
As time when by, Jason lost his dad about a year before he passed. He was in jail at the time and it devistated him. I don’t think he ever knew how to deal with that loss. He got out of jail several months later and was employed and living with me. During the next few months, he started spiraling down again and panic set in with me. There were a lot of conversations about death; a lot of medical problems due to the addiction and then what I considered a “crazy period” just a few weeks before he died. His drug of choice was heroin. He was doing whatever he had to do in order to get either the heroin or the oxy’s. He told me many times that there was no way he could tell me what he did to obtain the drugs because it would break my heart. As if my heart wasn’t already shattered into tiny bits and pieces as I witnessed this hell for years. Anyway, the day before he died, he was very sick with withdrawals. You couldn’t even touch him to rub his back or touch his arm. That night, he came to me and told me that he was going to get a fix and that tomorrow he would find help. He had gotten news that his dad left him some money that was his if he would clean up and stay clean. He had a desire to open his own business and was very adamant that night that he would do this to honor his dad. The next day, before i went to work Jason was already planning out who to contact that day to get help. He called several places including his probation officer’s office. His PO was not in and the person covering told me that it was “tough” he’d have to wait until his PO got back at the end of the week to talk to him about getting into a bed. Jason had been promised by the PO that he would get him in right away. Evidently, this person didn’t see the need to facilitate the emergency of the situation. At that point, he started calling the hospitals and the suicide hotline anywhere he could find to see if someone, somewhere would help him get into a bed or the hospital to help him withdraw. Literally, no one would help. He reached dead ends everywhere either because he didn’t have the funds for private care or there was a waiting period of several days to weeks. Not conducive to someone who is in an emergency situation. There were many frantic text messages and phone calls back and forth between us that morning. At about 11:00 a.m. he called and started to ask me a questions but stopped. He told me he found what he was looking for. I asked him what it was and he stated an extension cord. Truthfully, I didn’t think much about it as I knew he was wanting to hook up a dvd player in his room and thought that was what he was doing. At that time, I told him that I was coming home at lunch time and we would get this worked out. About an hour later as I was leaving to catch the bus to go home he called again. He wasn’t upset like the call before. I told him I was on my way and would be home in about 20 minutes. He told me that he may not be there then and I figured that one of his friends was coming to get him or something. When I got home it was a cold, rainy, windy morning. Jason wasn’t at home so I just figured he was with his friends. I tried calling and it went to voicemail. During this time, I called the hospital and made arrangements to take him there and hopefully, they would admit him. After about 20 minutes I decided to go get him some cigarettes because I knew he was out. I told his dog, Harley, that we would go. For some reason, I decided to go to the garage to get a soda. Now, this may not sound odd to some but I rarely drink soda. Something was nudging me to the garage. Harley went out with me but absolutely would not go toward the garage. He started crying. I looked up and saw that Jason’s keys were in the door. As I pushed the door open I saw him hanging there. No mother should have to call 911, cut their son down and do CPR on them. No son or person should have to feel that hopeless because our system for help for addiction is so flawed. Jason’s presence is missed each and every day not just by me but by his brother, his aunts and uncles, his friends and all of us who knew him.
Thank you for letting me share. This was hard and I am now in tears. I miss him!