A loving, kind, and gentle person
Carl was energetic, fun-loving and affectionate. He was also strong-willed and a hard worker. Not an easy child, he often did what he wanted, but he was also a gentleman, opening doors for women and never letting his mom pump gas. At his best, he liked to dote on people and was known at his Narcotics Anonymous meetings for making and serving the coffee to others.
Carl’s addiction started when he was fifteen, so he missed out on the milestones and rites of passage that are typical of most teenagers. “Drug addiction directs your destiny and you don’t get the opportunity to do what you might have done,” Carl’s mother Linda stated. He had a mechanical aptitude and thought about being a mechanic, but that didn’t happen. At 21, Carl and his girlfriend, Amanda, had a daughter, Aydria. He loved her and saw her intermittently. Now sixteen, she is confident, stable and flourishing and in touch with Carl’s mother.
Carl had a big personality and knew how to make people feel good. He noticed the little things. He made a fuss over his grandmother, Jackie, and always told others how awesome she was. Due to frequent visits to the employment office, he noticed one worker drinking Pepsi, so he brought her one on his next visit.
The effects of Carl’s drug use led to impulsive and risky behaviors and cost him his relationship with his sister. He spent much of life using drugs, in rehab facilities or in jail for drug-related charges. He made the most of his time while in jail, earning his GED and tutoring others in math.
Toward the end of his life, Carl took a class to become a road flagman and easily passed the qualifying test. He was considering going to school to get his commercial driver’s license so he could drive big trucks. For a few months he was out of active addiction, living with his girlfriend, Meredith, making new friends, and he seemed happy and optimistic. He was offered the flagman job and scheduled to start the week after he died. The day of Carl’s funeral, Meredith revealed she was pregnant with Carl’s child; he never knew. Their daughter, Alivia, is now four years old.
What makes Carl’s mother the saddest is all the things Carl didn’t get to experience. He didn’t have a license at times and he walked or took the bus. Carl was often in jail, recovery, half-way houses, or homeless. “He had to fight this demon his entire life,” Linda said.
Linda is left with memories of simple, but meaningful things like Carl’s affectionate hugs, going to dinner with him, and grocery shopping. He always hugged her and said he loved her when they parted. She said, “It saddens me that his life was so rough. He did his best, but he couldn’t overcome his addiction.”
Carl’s mother, Linda Corcoran, provided the information for this narrative.
December 20, 1979-October 9-2017–Age 37
Portrait Artist: Maia Palmer
Narrative Writer: Barbara Francois