Caring, funny, kind, giving, pleasant
Growing up, John was very inquisitive and interested in people. Even if he met you once, he would remember you a year later and notice subtle changes, like hairstyles. He got along with everyone. John played little league baseball on the school team and liked fishing and football. He especially enjoyed attending and watching Yankees games. As a kid, he loved his hamster, Michael, and once did a book report on him, which his mom came across recently. It made her smile.
John was demonstrative with his love for others and close his Nana and Pop. He always told his mom how much he loved her. She said, “We were best friends, I could always talk to him about anything, and he would help me work through it.” John loved boats, the beach and fishing, and spending time at his grandparent’s condo on a marina in Jupiter, Florida. His mom also took him to West Hampton in the summers where he would ride the waves, boogie board and go surfing.
John’s addiction started at an early age and as it progressed, John went to prison for stealing to support his substance use. His mom, Deborah, and sister, Cara, went to see him every weekend. John and his mom wrote letters every day. She couldn’t wait to get home and read them. He made it through prison, but never spoke about it when he got out. His mom rented a place on the intercoastal waterway where they kayaked and watched the sunsets and pelicans together. John once said, “Mom, I don’t fit in anymore,” that made his mother sad to hear. Six months after his release, he went back to drugs but kept fighting to get better. John had a fiancé, Nicole. They had an engagement party and planned to be married, but “his addiction got in the way and destroyed it,” according to his mother.
Though John worked primarily as an electrician, he developed a passion while serving his time in prison for cutting men’s hair. He wanted to go to Barber School. Deborah said, “I planned to send him to barber school and buy him a shop to get started.” John was scheduled to go to a North Carolina treatment center for ten months, but passed away from an overdose of Carfentanyl the day before he was to leave.
After relapsing several times, John Patrick was homeless. His mother always kept a close relationship with him, making sure he had something to eat and drink, buying him cigarettes and other things he needed. His mom said, “We were not educated about the disease, I was angry much of the time.” She has since joined several support groups to help her cope with John’s loss. “I wish I had known about these organizations and resources when I was going through the craziness of John’s active addiction.” She planted a tree in memory of John and placed a bench in front of it with his name and a message saying, “forever in our hearts.” It is near a little pier on the intercoastal waterway where people fish and pelicans congregate. Deborah and John’s Uncle Barry sometimes sit there with coffee after church. They also decorate the tree for the holidays and bring a birthday cake and sing happy birthday each year.
John’s mother, Deborah Keating, provided the information for this narrative.
March 21, 1983-June 22, 2017
Age 34-Lived with the disease of addiction 20 years