We lost my brother Jimmy to an "acute fentanyl intoxication" on February 10th, 2019. That is the what the toxicology report said. Some sum it up with "heroin overdose." Its easier to say, or easier to hear I guess, because it's too common these days. The fact of the matter is he lost his battle with addiction. Either way, it's not easy to understand and difficult to accept. It's also not fair. It's not fair to those who cannot or could not escape from the unforgiving grip that addiction has on their existence. It's not fair to us who are left behind. Anyone who is or has been affected by this disease whether it be the addicted or the friends and family of those who live with addiction, my heart is with you. Something has to change. Unfortunately, a loss from addiction often comes with a stigma. The stigma that can chip away at the wholeness of the loss, the judgement over the cause of death can be so hurtful and cause anger to those bereaved. It’s unfair. The truth is, the stigmatization of addiction makes it harder for those struggling with addiction to believe they deserve to recover. It makes it more difficult for those who have lost a loved one from an overdose to fully grieve without fear of judgement or the loss doesn’t receive unconditional support it deserves. Death of a loved one is death of a loved one.
There is a gaping hole in my heart that will always yearn for my brother. It is filled with endless questions, anger, sadness and loneliness. My family is the Romano family: Thomas, Barbara, Tommy, Joey, Jimmy & Lisa. My heart skips a beat every time I start to say the lineup. But I will never skip his name. His name makes me stronger. It makes US stronger. We live now with endless grief and inexplicable pain in our hearts. But we also live for Jimmy. We live for the memories of him. We live for the strength that he gave us to live better, and most importantly, to help others.
Jimmy's battle with addiction was long and trying. But he fought hard to get back to us for as long as he could. And we are so proud of him. It breaks my heart he never got to meet his beautiful son James. He would have been an amazing father. It kills me that we couldn’t help him or recognize that he was feeling weak when he decided to use that last time, we were so proud of how strong he had been and how far he had come. We will always be so proud of him. In recovery during his last 10+ months, he thrived. He helped so many friends battling the same disease he was at war with every single day: ADDICTION. He saved lives. He got his electrician license, his driver’s license back, he was going to be a father. He never looked stronger. WHAT DID WE MISS?
How could we have known how quickly addiction could come back to defeat him. So now, we hope to help others conquer this destructive disease that has taken too many people we all know and love. It’s time to fight the disease and hopefully help fill the gaping holes that so many of us suffer from by helping others overcome addiction and LIVE. Help me and my family fight to END ADDICTION.
Let's RUN to end addiction. Or WALK or JOG or whatever gets you from A to B. There’s no judgement here. Let's do it for Jimmy. Help us LIVE FOR JIMMY.
Help me reach my fundraising goal to and support the Teen Challenge of Massachusetts Confronted by hope, walking in freedom, living with purpose. For over 60 years, Teen Challenge has operated a non-profit, 15-month recovery program for men and women with life-controlling issues, with a focus on healing the body, mind, and spirit through a stronger connection to their faith. We give our students the tools they need to empower themselves to live happy and productive lives. Every little bit helps!!