Submitted by: Eileen Palazza
Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 @ 09:14:42 am
A WONDERFUL BLESSING
I originally wanted six children. Yes, six! But in my life I was destined to have only one child, and that child was my son Ryan. I consider him to be the best work that I have ever done. He was kind and compassionate and brilliant. Because he was very handsome he was never at a loss in any given year of his life to have a girlfriend, and this saga went on from the time that he was 15. When I think about the qualities that he had in addition to what I have already told you he was definitely carefree. He enjoyed life, he relished our small, tight knit Italian family and he was driven to always do better, do something more, get the next promotion, climb the ladder in any company that he worked for.
After college he had many job offers and was always able to get to the next stepping stone in his career. His occupation was that of a Regional Manager for nation-wide construction companies, and he managed suburban developments that were being built, sometimes in excess of 1,000 homes. He managed supplies, deadlines, customers and all the men that worked under him in the process of building one of these developments. And, when done, he would go on to the next one. He was admired by his co-workers and the companies that he worked for. He was the epitome of a ¨good Italian boy¨.
Ryan loved being Italian. I think that stemmed from the fact of how much he loved to eat Italian food and his passion for cooking. His dad also loves to cook, so on any given day when we were all together the two of them could be found in the kitchen cooking whatever it was that they had decided would be the meal for the occasion.
Christmas was a very, very special holiday for us and the only thing that was greater than the number of presents under the tree was the laughter in the house. We were always laughing – always. That laughter and the love that we had for each other as a family sustained us even when we did not get to see each other as often as we would like. But always we had Ryan, and his dad and I considered him to be the biggest blessing in our lives.
Ryanś struggle with addiction started when he came out of college, and lasted until we lost him in November of 2018. Because he did not always live near us, and he always had his own place, he was very adept at hiding what he was going through and what it was doing to his life. He was prescribed opioids for a back injury that he had sustained in high school football that was exacerbated when he went to college, and the opioid use led to his addiction to heroin. Heroin laced with fentanyl killed my son. My husband and I – when we were made aware of Ryanś addiction – tried to help him in any way that we could. He moved in with us and lived with us for 5 years. What we found was that there was a total lack of services available for someone to take advantage of, as well as a total lack of rehab spaces for someone who did not have insurance or the personal funds to pay. He was treated as if he were expendable. My son was not and is not expendable.
And so our lives have gone on without him. The depth of the loss that my husband and I carry is immeasurable- and indescribable. What you come to accept as a grieving mother and father is that you have to find a way to do life, or the grief that has been placed on your shoulders because of the loss of your only child can stop you cold.
This is my tribute to my son. Ryan made my life so complete and whole. He was the perfect son, and I was so blessed to have him. I was lucky that he stayed with us until he was 41. He was a true gift.