A great father and grandfather
When John was little people remarked that he looked like Spanky on the Little Rascals. As he got older, he “retained his baby face, which the ladies loved,” according to his former wife, Diane. Loved and adored by his siblings Debbie (now deceased), Mark and Dawn, John loved to tease them. The two brothers worked together in Mark’s business for a time. John was primarily a concrete finisher, though he could do anything.
John had the biggest heart; he was always there for everyone no matter the time of day. He was a loving husband and a great father to his two boys, John and Jason. He loved to fish with his dad and had the greatest love for his mom, whom he cherished. He always worried about disappointing her. John was proud to get his GED and accomplish a sober life for five years before he relapsed. He had a strong desire to be there for his children, watch them grow up and see them get married and have children of their own. Though he recognized his addiction, he never thought it would end in death, he believed that he would somehow come out of it.
As John’s disease progressed, he didn’t care for himself as well as before, and he could be angry. His children, who adored their dad, suffered as they watched his life deteriorate. “They would hide behind the trees hoping to miss the school bus because they somehow thought if they stayed home, dad would not do drugs that day,” Diane said. Sometimes they begged their dad not to leave the house because they knew it was possible that he would stay gone for days or weeks. “I couldn’t take watching my husband and our marriage break into little pieces, or allow my children to go through the heartache,” Diane stated. ‘It impacted our lives a lot.”
Diane used to think that people with substance use disorder (SUD) could just stop, but as she researched addiction and spoke to counselors, she realized that is not true. She eventually worked in the addiction field running a mommy and me house for women who struggle with addiction. Though she couldn’t save John, she said, “it was very rewarding being able to help women with their sobriety and watch them take their life back and be parents to their children again.” Diane currently helps people with mental health issues and substance use disorder access benefits and services they need for support.
It saddens Diane to know that so many people struggle with addiction and that the support they need is often not available. She mourns for what John is missing; watching their children and grandchildren grow up and all the family gatherings and experiences they could have shared. She said, “John had so much more of life to live.”
John’s former wife, Diane Tisdel, provided the information for this narrative.
May 16, 1970-March 21, 2005-Age 34
Portrait Artist: Theresa Clower
Narrative Writer: Barbara Francois