Caring, athletic, bright, witty, attractive
At 6’2”, Devin was lanky, handsome, and a natural athlete. Equally at home on a skateboard, snowboard, or when surﬁng, he was a pleasure to watch; so ﬂuid and graceful. He was a good soccer and baseball player and loved hiking in nature or being at the beach, especially on the annual family beach trips to Hatteras in North Carolina.
More than anything Devin loved being with his family. He was full of life and brought joy and fun to every get-together. He liked clowning around and was often the center of attention. The biggest mark he made in life was the close relationship he developed with his four nieces and nephews. He would virtually become a child with them, playing endlessly. Even when it was obvious Devin was worn out, he wouldn’t say no to connecting with the kids. When asked if he ever thought about having kids, he said “Not sure that’s going to happen.” It was as if he suspected he might not get his life together enough to do so.
As a teenager, Devin was a camp counselor for young children and later attended an experimental school in Colorado with an outward-bound type program. He responded well to the physical challenges and thought of being an instructor, but at twenty he was “high-jacked by his opioid addiction,” his dad Joe said. ”He set high standards for himself and needed to be perfect, drugs gave him the feeling of worth. He would catch a glimpse of his passion at times, but he just couldn’t ﬁnd his footing.”
During Devin’s active addiction, everyone in the family rallied around him. As his dad put it, “Tough love could have been fatal love.” So, they loved him unconditionally and tried everything they could to help him overcome his substance use addiction for the 12 years it had a hold on him. “He always knew he was loved,” his mother said. Devin had just been in rehab and drug-free for 50 days; he was recovering his self-esteem and feeling good about himself. He had a date and got anxious and went to what he knew to calm his nerves. He passed away from an accidental overdose of drugs containing fentanyl.
There is now a hole in the family that everyone is aware of, especially during family gatherings. Joe said, “It is the sadness that lingers, like a wet blanket restricting you, but then you remember the joyous times and get some relief. Devin was a good kid, we always knew that, I don’t think he always did.”
Devin’s father, Joe Bearden, provided the information for this narrative.
November 13, 1985-February 4, 2018-Age 32
Portrait Artist: Theresa Clower
Narrative Writer: Barbara Francois