Jacob Benjamin Barnes

Jacob Benjamin Barnes

Mature, insightful, sensitive, kind, strong

As the oldest of six children, Jacob took responsibility for others early in life. He was a great help to his mother and adored by his siblings, Isaac, David, Miriam, Zvenah, Noah, and his many cousins. He could befriend anyone, unify people, and reached out to those needing help.

Jacob was an active kid, mostly playing outside, fishing, taking part in sports, and reading. He spent summers with his brothers in teen camps and arranged paintball trips with friends a couple of times a year. “If it was anything exciting and adventurous, Jacob would jump in with both feet,” his mother,” Sara, said.

During his younger years, there were many moves, but when he was about 12, the family settled. Shortly after, his teacher chose him to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, a highlight of his young life. At 17, Jacob started working at Five Guys restaurant. He had a strong work ethic, appreciated by his managers. Jacob graduated from high school in 2015 and attended a few semesters at a local community college. Trying to decide on a career path, he had recently joined a program that helps young adults with career options, provides on-the-job training and paid internships. Sadly, his next appointment was scheduled for the day he passed away.

A few months before his death, Jacob joined his family for a week at the beach where they jet skied for the first time. His mom said, “I could tell he loved the rush he got driving the jet ski.” He also drove his siblings around in a mini car on the bike lanes, which they all enjoyed. His mom has fond memories of that vacation together. She was enjoying seeing him grow into adulthood, learning to drive, getting a job, going to dances with his girlfriend, and the smile on his face when he got a car for Christmas. “He was a very large presence in our daily lives,” his mom said. His energy was unmistakable. When he was around, you knew it. “I miss the things that will never happen,” Sara said, “like watching him grow older, having a family, and living his life.”

“Jacob’s substance use disorder began as a way of self-medicating for his depression and anxiety,” his mom said. Sometimes Jacob was a different person, still, the family lived, laughed, cried, vacationed, celebrated birthdays and holidays, and added going to meetings, rehabs, and hospitals. Jacob was honest about his struggles, and the family all agreed with helping him to overcome his addiction. It was difficult to balance providing love and support with boundaries and making sure that the rest of the family didn’t get overlooked. “Most of all, you want to save your loved one. It is hard not to second guess everything and blame yourself,” Sara said.

Jacob’s mother, Sara Barnes, provided the information for this narrative.

December 28, 1997-September 28, 2017

Age 19-Lived with the disease of addiction 1-2 years

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