Charismatic, compassionate, complex, inquisitive, loyal
Alex was charismatic, confident, inquisitive, and always true to himself. “He was a husky guy with a beautiful smile and a tender look in his eye,” his mom, Millie, said, ‘A gentle giant.’ He was a loyal friend who supported others. And he loved the color purple!
As a child, Alex woke up excited about what the day would bring and the people he would meet. In school, he read the daily news and the lunch menu over the loudspeaker. When the menu had Italian food, he read all the dishes using an Italian accent. He was a free-spirited extrovert, a joy to be around, and the love of his parents’ lives.
Growing up, Alex won first place in the elementary school science fair two years in a row, earned over 30 amateur golf trophies, and was admitted to Boy’s State in 2011, where he got hands-on experience in leadership. At 13, Alex, his mother, and grandmother spent a memorable Mother’s Day at the Top of the Rock, and Alex had his first NYC pretzel and pizza. When they visited Barney’s, he told the manager he wanted to work in NYC. He escorted Alex through every department and told him he hoped to sell him his first suit one day.
Alex was the recipient of the Bright Future’s Scholarship and completed one year of college when in high school. In college, he earned a B.A. in Economics from Florida State and planned to get a master’s degree in education. He wanted to get married, travel, and have children. At the time of his death, he was working on a screenplay.
Alex loved foreign films, fine food, politics, and learning about other cultures. He was an only child but raised with six cousins. He was like a son to his Uncle Teddy, who shared Alex’s love of food, travel, and sports. Birthday cake was not Alex’s thing, so on his birthday, his parents made a pyramid of his favorite jelly donuts. On the first birthday without him, family and friends ate donuts in his honor.
After the accidental death of his best friend, Chris and hurting his back in a car accident, Alex started taking extra prescription pain pills, because “he was a big guy.” During active addiction, Alex became anxious and depressed, gained weight, and slept a lot. His mom and dad thought Alex had a handle on his substance use disorder. He would try hard to fight his way out of addiction, then relapse. The day he died, Alex gave his mom an enveloping hug and thanked her for believing in him.
Millie has joined support groups and shares Alex’s story. She said, “I feel I need to be my son’s voice and spread awareness about addiction and fentanyl. I want to honor his memory.” Alex’s parents are slowly learning how to go on after losing their only child. They miss his tender smile, his intelligence, watching foreign films together, and how he loved helping others. “Despite having a stable, loving home and wonderful family and friends, Alex got caught up with addiction and didn’t realize his life was at stake,” his mom said. ‘Death won’t put an end to his life as long as I continue to be his voice. I want to honor his legacy of helping others and spread awareness about the dangers of addiction.”
Alex’s mother, Millie Kulakoski, provided the information for this narrative.
June 24, 1994-September 24, 2020
Age 26-Lived with the disease of addiction 5 years