A very personal WARRIOR WEDNESDAY.

From parade.com

From parade.com

I’m angry today. Angry and sad and disappointed. Usually, Wednesdays bring us a WARRIOR to recognize, someone who is doing something wonderful to help themselves or others. I’m sure there are many I could mention today, but my thoughts continue to swirl around the death of “Glee” star, Cory Monteith. I laughed out loud at the headline on The Daily News today that read “Glee star heroin shocker!” There was no shock, not even surprise to learn that what killed the 31-year-old was a mix of heroin and alcohol. Duh, he was a drug addict. So was my brother. I’ve talked about him before and I’m sure I’ll talk about him again. My brother Jonathan, was 32 years old when he accidentally overdosed. That description has always annoyed the hell out of me, by the way. There was no accident, he put a needle in his arm and injected poison in to his body, eventually if he continued to do that, he would die. Someone once asked me if I thought my brother had a death wish, without hesitation I answered, yes. If you shoot heroin, you have a death wish, plain and simple. My brother tried to get clean, many many times. He even had a beautiful girlfriend whom he met in treatment and they were getting clean together. It was the first time in years that I had let him in to my life and even then it was only peripherally because I was protecting myself and my family. They were on their way to becoming productive members of society when my brother turned to his girlfriend and said “One last time.” She begged him not to go, but there’s no stopping an addict. I got the call that night that Jonathan was dumped on the steps of a hospital by his “friends” who were more concerned about not getting caught than about the guy in cardiac arrest. Hey, at least they took him to the hospital, right? Jonathan was on life support for several days. They were some of the hardest days I have ever had to face. I had to figure out how to say goodbye to someone who hadn’t been my brother for a long time but who still looked like my brother, who still lived on in my memories both good and bad, who I still loved and wanted so much more for in life. Jonathan passed on his own, sparing my mother more tragedy by thankfully not having to turn off support. There was a startling sense of relief when Jonathan died. Now we didn’t have to jump every time the phone rang, now we didn’t have to worry if he didn’t show up to dinner on time, now we would always know where he was and that he was safe and at rest. His funeral was packed, standing room only. He would have been psyched to see it and would have stood like a rock star to greet everyone with his trademark bear hug and smile. I spoke, my opening line pretty much all I can remember, “Hi, my name is Julie, and my brother is a drug addict.” I cry often when I think about Jonathan, I cry often when I hear of another life lost to drugs, I’m crying now thinking about Monteith who seemingly had everything going for him when he thought “one last time,” not considering it would end his life. I think of my brother’s girlfriend, Ashley, and standing with her so proud when she collected her one year chip from Narcotics Anonymous. I think about the one year anniversary of my brother’s death, when we got the call that Ashley had died shooting up, whether to honor my brother’s memory or to go be with him in some place beyond the pain on this earth, we’ll never know. I think about her funeral that was almost a carbon copy to my brother’s. It makes me angry. Angry and sad and disappointed. That’s not all though, I do have hope, really, I do. I hope that in the loss of my brother, his girlfriend, Cory Monteith, and the others who have passed and will pass, that somewhere in there, a message will come through to my children, all our children, that will help keep them safe and keep them here.

Ghosts of WARRIORS past.

Ghosts of WARRIORS past.

Stay well.

By | 2013-07-17T13:10:49-04:00 July 17th, 2013|Life|26 Comments


  1. Nancy Molesworth July 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing such a difficult memory. Addiction is a constant battle that many people lose. And unfortunately it touches more people than anyone could ever imagine.

    • totemtamers July 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your support always.

      • Betty Mash Ferron July 23, 2013 at 12:02 am - Reply


        • totemtamers July 24, 2013 at 9:56 am - Reply

          Awww Betty, I cry too. So many suffer and it’s not just the addict, never just the addict, it’s those of us who love them and want more for them every day. You are a wonderful and strong mother and woman and I am grateful for knowing you always. Love you back. Julie

  2. Astra July 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Beautifully put. I thought I’d share another great organization run by a friend: http://www.foods-4-thought.org/home.html
    check it out. you two should connect.

    • totemtamers July 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks Astra, I will check it out. Appreciate the connection. xx

  3. Jodie July 17, 2013 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    This made me cry. Your heartfelt candidness is really helping humanity. Big hugs to you.

  4. Daniel Mather July 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    This is amazing. Thank you.

  5. EleanSh2@aol.com July 17, 2013 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    you are a very strong lady

    • totemtamers July 17, 2013 at 11:38 pm - Reply

      Thank you for saying so, that makes you strong as well.

  6. Zura July 18, 2013 at 12:59 am - Reply

    I have no words Julie.Thank you for sharing this such a difficult memory to others and I believe that was not easy to do. I always respected how strong Mother you were…. but I never knew how strong sister you’ve been. Now I know that and I’m very proud even I know you and your family.

  7. Jennifer July 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Sending you so much love.

  8. amy July 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    You tear at my heart. You gave a beautiful tribute to an ugly disease. Bravo you. Love, Amy

  9. Nicole July 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Julie, your mom sent me to this post. Thank you for sharing this. I had the great fortune of being friend to them both, when they were at their best. I think of them both daily. I know their struggle all too well. Like I told your mom, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard Jonathan’s journey through life, and subsequent passing, contributed to the success of someone’s recovery. He helped many people and as evidenced by his funeral many people loved him. My thoughts are with you and your mother always.

    • totemtamers July 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      It’s wonderful to hear from you Nicole and I know they were blessed to count you as a friend. We are blessed as well that you were there in the good and the bad and thank you for sharing. It helps to know that their deaths may have an impact on someone else’s life and hopefully save others from such a tragic end. Much love to you and continued good health. Stay well. xo

  10. Michele Lazarow July 18, 2013 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    I knew Johnathan. I am so moved by your words honoring your brother. He was such a sweet soul. He is still missed in South Florida NA.

    • totemtamers July 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your words Michele. Jonathan was a bright light for so long and touched a lot of people which is why his death is so hard to fathom. As I’ve said countless times before, I hope that his death will help others and keep others from such a tragic end.

  11. Brooke bertuzzi August 5, 2013 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Jules, I’m crying as I read this. I loved my cousin so much. I have only the greatest memories of him and our times together. I think of him often and speak of him fondly. Thank you for writing this. xoxoxo

    • totemtamers August 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      Aw sweetie, thank you for this.Our childhood memories are some of my fondest with you and your brother. Miss you tons and think about you often. Hugs to the family and I do hope to see you soon. xoxo

  12. […] she not? How could anyone not grieve the loss of a loved one? I told my brother’s story in A Very Personal WARRIOR WEDNESDAY because it’s part of my grieving process. The process is never ending. There are the five […]

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