Beautiful, misunderstood, courageous, unique, significant
Described by his Aunt Shawna as caring, kind, and empathetic to others, Elias was passionate about the environment and preserving nature. He hated trees being cut down to make way for more buildings to be built. Elias got the nickname “turtle” because he always “stopped to smell the roses.” Even when his mom was in a rush to get going, Elias kept his “turtle pace” stopping at every tree, plant, and flower to enjoy their beauty. He loved animals and fed stray cats, taking in as many as his mother allowed and a few she didn’t!
An artistic person, Elias had a creative mind and liked to draw. He was smart and could easily have been a straight-A student. Instead, he was the class clown, spent little time on schoolwork, and became distracted and unfocused.
Elias was an only child. He sometimes worked in construction and spent a few years helping his dad, who is a truck driver. Elias never missed a family get-together or event when he was sober. Even in active addiction, he would send a text or Facebook message to wish his family members a happy birthday or Merry Christmas. Elias was also a flirt! He liked the ladies, and they liked him too as he was well-mannered, kind, and had a way with words.
At his memorial, Shawna heard many stories about how Elias helped others, even during times of his own struggles. His plans for the future included living a “regular” life free from addiction and doing the things most people do. Shawna stated, “He was an amazing person, nephew, son, cousin, grandson, and friend. He would have been a wonderful husband, father, and worker.”
In October 2020, Elias asked for help with his addiction and went to rehab for 28 days. At Thanksgiving dinner, he was drug-free, happy, and proud. He looked healthy and had a glow about him. The family had a great time together, then within a couple of weeks, Elias was gone.
Since Elias’ death, Shawna went from her 20-year job as an ER nurse to Behavioral Health Nursing. ”Everything I have chosen is because of Elias,” she said. She misses his warm smile, the way he never forgot to ask about his cousins, how he loved animals and nature, and operating on his own time. “He had a heart of gold even in his darkest hours. The last time I saw him he was luminous like his heart was glowing from the inside,” Shawna said. “It is my mission to help anyone so they do not feel the way Elias did. I do it with Elias in my heart.”
Connor’s Aunt, Shawna Mayles, provided the information for this narrative.
February 9, 1994-December 7, 2020-Age 26
Portrait Artist: Theresa Clower
Narrative Writer: Barbara Francois