The world lost a quietly amazing person on Tuesday.
Please note: This is not a typical post for this blog. It is, however, heartfelt and in need of being shared.
I can barely begin to put into words how I feel about this, but I'm going to try.
My friend, Doug. My dad's "worker son," Doug. My brothers best friend, Doug. My family's other worry, Doug. One of my dog's favorite people, Doug. Always hungry, Doug. Kind hearted, Doug. Quietly grateful, Doug.
He may as well have been part of the family. To some he came off crude or sarcastic, but those of us who were close to him know that was a front. He certainly had an opinion about everything, but he wasn't always wrong. A modern "telephone tough guy," he was quick to reply to someone's Facebook status with a snarky comment, but in real, face-to-face life, he was always kind. He had an enormously good heart that showed through even his darkest days. He would drop everything and work through the night to help a friend in need, or even a friend who just wanted his help. He was incredibly grateful for every act of kindness shown to him. He had a warm smile that just made you feel good to be the one to bring it out, no matter the reason.
My heart sank when I heard Doug was no longer with us. It's cliche but it's still so surreal knowing we'll never see him again. Never help him again. Never make him smile again. Never see another snarky Facebook comment again.
I know one should never assume, but I do, that most people knew Doug had a devil living inside of him. A devil that had a hold on, and claimed, his life and the lives of too many. A devil that has caused my attendance at more funerals for young people than anyone should have to attend. A devil I hate with every cell in my body, and pray every second of every day would finally let go of the lives of my brother and so many friends before it claims them too.
If you have never loved a heroin addict I hope you never have to. It is the single most heartbreaking experience I have ever lived through, and unfortunately it isn't going to stop. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. The devil that is heroin won't allow it to stop. Not until it has claimed the lives of every single addict it lives inside. But the devil has competition. Because I refuse to stop fighting for the lives of the addicts I love.
Saturday we say goodbye, officially. His family has asked that in lieu of flowers, people commit random acts of kindness. I cannot think of a better way to carry on Doug's legacy in the true spirit of who he was.
Disclaimer: due to the family waiting on toxicology and autopsy reports, I do not officially know it was heroin that claimed Doug's life. I do know the police are treating his home as a crime scene, and I hope to God they catch the disgusting person who gave him the drug he wanted so badly he felt he literally needed it. I will update this when I have heard the official results.