Justice Ryan Jennings

Justice Ryan Jennings

Honest, unapologetic, funny, brilliant, competitive

From the day Justice was born there was something unique about his personality. He was honest and unapologetic, yet sweet. He was raw, authentic and a breath of fresh air. A loyal and devoted friend, he surrounded himself with kindred spirits including his loving girlfriend, Johanna.

Justice excelled in sports at a young age, becoming a gifted football and baseball player under the coaching of his father. He was competitive, and had a brilliant mind. He was never fearful of asking “why” or debating a topic. Learning facts was his passion. His memory was unbelievable and he knew everything about tragic events, like the 2004 tsunami, the titanic or 9/11. He could leave people speechless with his well-articulated thoughts and opinions; he definitely challenged others.

Justice loved kids and they responded to him. He wanted to have children and was planning on being successful enough to take care of a family on one income. He valued the job of a stay at home mom and wanted that for his future children.

During the really difficult years, his mom would sleep next to him just to hear him breathing, thankful that during sleep his mind was at ease. He knew he had a blessed life and was ashamed that he chose drugs over opportunities. He didn’t want addiction; he wanted to be “normal.” ‘Not a person in this world would choose addiction for themselves, his mom stated, ‘I am not ashamed of him and I will forever speak of him with pride, I don’t know of anyone with his courage and I am grateful for the time I had with him.’

When Justice was 19, his family gave him the opportunity to move to California to seek treatment. He was doing well in his sobriety. He fell in love with California and with Johanna and they planned a future together. His parents were proud of his accomplishments. The family sought counseling during his recovery. His mom said: “The day I learned that I couldn’t save him from himself is the day I started healing.” ‘I always loved, now I love deeper, I was always compassionate, but now I am a voice for those who don’t have the strength to speak up.’

Justice had a job and needed to get up in the morning for work. After days of not sleeping due to using cocaine, Justice just wanted to sleep. He took a Xanax not aware that it was lethal when mixed with cocaine. Knowing he was trying to sleep to get up for work the next day was healing for me,” his mom said. ‘It truly was an accidental overdose; it told me he wanted a future.’ His parents were fortunate to have the time to say goodbye to Justice and were able to donate some of his organs, including his heart. “I grieve for the families that received a call but no opportunity to kiss their loved ones and say goodbye,” his mom said. “A blessing came from our story; Justice’s heart still beats, I’ll forever be grateful for that.’

Justice’s mom, Erika Sommers, provided the information for this narrative.

August 30, 1997-July 27, 2019

Age 21-Lived with addiction 4-5 years

Share this story from The INTO LIGHT Project

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

More Into Light Stories

Read more biographies from this exhibit.
Devin Hart Bearden

Devin Hart Bearden

Caring, athletic, bright, witty, attractive At 6’2”, Devin was lanky, handsome, and a natural athlete. Equally at home on a skateboard, snowboard, or when surfing, he was a pleasure to watch; so fluid and graceful. He was a good soccer and baseball player and loved hiking in nature or being at the beach, especially on the annual family beach trips to Hatteras in North Carolina. [...]
Read More »
Andrew Aegerter

Andrew Aegerter

Lived life to the fullest Drew had a huge heart and would do absolutely anything for his family, friends or strangers. He was funny, charismatic, smart and athletic; good at everything he attempted. Though he loved all sports, baseball was his favorite. “We spent every summer and fall on a baseball field and loved every minute,” his mom said. ‘Drew was a catcher and had the biggest cheering section, and definitely the loudest mom cheering him on.’[...]
Read More »
Brandon Taylor Beeler

Brandon Taylor Beeler

Fierce, loving, protective, father, son Brandon was fun, loving, kind and helpful to everyone. He wanted to see people happy and connected. He was protective of those he loved and a risk taker. He enjoyed spending time with family, watching movies and football, and reading Charles Bukowski poems. [...]
Read More »
Dakota “Ophelia” Berg

Dakota “Ophelia” Berg

Beautiful, tragic, short, sad, lonely, misunderstood Dakota was a deep, beautiful soul. She loved fully and unconditionally and was passionate about teaching acceptance for all people. She loved animals, especially her dog Keta, her loyal protector. She had an intense love for family and was striving to get sober and be an exemplary role model for her younger sisters. [...]
Read More »

Bring an Exhibit to Your State

Interested in bringing The INTO LIGHT Project to your State?
Find out how you can make this happen.