Adam James Vernes

Adam James Vernes

He was an exquisite human.

Adam seemed to have a” risk-taking gene” his mother said. He jumped off cliffs, rode every scary ride in amusement parks and performed aerial jumps on his bike and skateboard. He lived his life fully and with gusto. He was outgoing, wickedly funny, and also warm, caring and engaged with the ones he loved.

Adam was always reading something about science or technology and doing graphic arts. He designed tattoos for himself and friends and loved graffiti as an art form. He was also into music and wrote poetry; sometimes about how addiction had captured him, how much he hated it and how he was fighting it for his soul. Adam wanted to get free of his addiction and learn to counsel others on how to escape it as well.

Adam worked as a server in restaurants and for catering companies. He had a gift for service, anticipating customer needs and making people feel comfortable. His kindness, compassion and his ability to connect with others were his greatest gifts. He was the guy who would befriend those that others made fun of or bullied. His mother, Barbara said: “his heart was a deep place, but also troubled.” Even when his life was falling apart, Adam managed to stay connected with his family but hid the depth of his pain from them.

Though Adam had a desire to get married and have children, he felt he couldn’t unite his life, as it was, with a partner. He didn’t talk about his future much; it was as if he somehow knew he would never grow old.

Eventually Adam got a job designing and making custom cabinets, and discovered he was very good at it. He was able to purchase a beautiful car that he adored and was very proud of what he was accomplishing, but then the shop closed without warning and he was jobless. As his addiction progressed, Adam’s health declined and he became pale, less vibrant, moody and withdrawn.

His mother realizes now that Adam’s addiction became the center of her world and occupied much of her time and energy. She had a persistent fear of Adam getting hurt, arrested or worse, losing his life to drugs. The last year of his life Adam seemed to give up hope of getting free from his addiction to drugs.

His mother misses Adam’s smile, the sound of his voice, their talks and his text messages about what he was currently reading. She also misses hearing him say “I love you ma,” at the end of every conversation they had together. She still hears from his friends who express how kind and generous he was. She writes to ease the pain and grief; “I just pour it out, I title each writing with the number of days since he died,” she said. She also writes to parents struggling with their own losses and has participated in interview videos on the topic of addiction. His mother said: “It is hard to put the life of a wonderful and flawed human being into words, I just miss my boy.”

Adam’s mother, Barbara Vernes, provided the information for this narrative

January16, 1980-January 31, 2018
Age 38 – Lived with addiction 20 years

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