Joe Roman

Joe Roman

Live loud and love, LOL

Joe was a compassionate man, eager to make others happy. “He would do anything to get a laugh out of people and was quite the prankster. One time his little sister accidentally locked herself in the chicken coop, so he grabbed his phone to record her and forced her to make chicken sounds before he would let her out. He was always trying to make people laugh whether he was putting on his sister’s short shorts, taking odd dares like eating hot peppers, or racing his young cousin as a bet,” recalls his mother. Joe was a kid with a big personality who was the life of the party and had a loud contagious laugh. When advised he was an adult now, he responded, “tell my brain that.”

Joe’s early years were full of change, with him and his sister Lindsay living in several foster homes prior to being adopted at ages 14 and 12. It meant that since birth, Joe took the role of his sister’s protector. In school he was popular and like many teenage boys, loved to play video games, basketball, and football. More than anything though, he loved his friends and family.

Some of Joe’s most admirable traits were his sense of compassion and his openness to life. He could listen to all sides of an issue without judgment. Joe loved to talk and had many long phone calls with loved ones. He texted a lot of LOLs, which you knew meant that he was literally laughing out loud and he was sure to always end every conversation with, “I love you,” calling back if those words were missed. Joe was an amazing father whose pride and joy was his daughter, Aliciana, who he spent a lot of time with, infusing in her a spirit of adventure.

Joe struggled with addiction for half of his life, which shaped who he became. The recovery process forced him to face his demons and put in the work to overcome them. Joe was resilient and worked hard to conquer life’s challenges, always saying, “I’ve been through a lot; I’ll get through this too.” His mother recalls that during his addiction, his loved ones struggled to trust him and had a hard time coping with his erratic behaviors, but during recovery, everyone enjoyed having honest relationships with him.

During his sobriety Joe worked for his uncle’s window cleaning company, which was a perfect fit because he loved being outside and was a thoughtful and detail-oriented worker. He had plans to save money and buy a house for his family, and his uncle had hoped to one day include Joe in leading the company. After two years of sobriety, Joe relapsed, and unknowingly acquiring fentanyl, left his family and friends behind. His life, though cut short, taught those who loved him a lot about unconditional love and the disease of addiction. His mother now never hesitates to share his story in hopes that it will give a human face to addiction, reduce stigma, and help others seek long-term recovery.

Joe’s Mother, Laura Hoag, provided the information for this narrative.

April 9, 1988 – September 19, 2018

Age 30, lived with the disease of addiction for 16 years.

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