Intelligent, Witty, Funny, Talented, Kind
Sports, music, or politics-Luke could talk effortlessly on many subjects. Having debates energized him-not to prove himself more intelligent, but for the sheer enjoyment of a good conversation. At first glance, he seemed shy or reserved, but once he warmed up his wit and enthusiasm shone through.
It was hard to keep up with Luke when he was a kid. Always on the move, he came into the world feet first and seemed to hit the ground running. One of his greatest passions and pastimes was basketball. The “bounce, bounce, shoot” sound outside was a constant background noise as Luke was growing up. When he wasn’t on the driveway practicing basketball, he was trailing his older sister Hayley and doing anything she asked of him. It became a Christmas tradition for Luke to spend the night with Hayley in her room, the only condition was he had to sleep on the floor. If it meant he got to be near his older sister though, Luke didn’t mind one bit.
Even as a young child, Luke had remarkable insight. His mother Karen recalls, “When he was three, he pointed to a cocoon and said ‘look, mom, that caterpillar is in the chrysalis state.’” They were amazed that he understood the term and what it meant for a butterfly’s metamorphosis. While most kids his age were asking “why” Luke was saying ”well actually” and correcting adults who were unprepared to be outwitted by a three-year-old.
Every July, for Luke’s birthday, the family gathered for a crab feast and ice cream cake. It always seemed blisteringly hot that day, with the heat giving way to a summer storm. While thunder and lightning crashed behind them, the family would sing happy birthday, the only light coming from the candles on the cake. “We still celebrate his birthday each year with ice cream cake.” Hayley said.
As Luke grew, so did his unique and creative nature. He was a lover of classic rock and a self-taught guitar player. Also an artist, one of his best works was a rendering of Van Gogh’s, Starry Night, which Karen had professionally framed. If he wasn’t making his own music or painting, he’d entertain himself by doing an impromptu dance in the kitchen. “He would just start doing the “Carlton Dance” or some other silly thing, often when no one was watching, just to see their expression when they turned around,” said Hayley. Luke was a smart guy, but he didn’t take himself too seriously.
Luke’s family didn’t know the extent of his drug use. “We knew he smoked weed, but had no idea he used harder drugs,” Karen said. He had been using opioids off and on since 2009 when he was prescribed Oxycodone after surgery. In a way, Luke’s quiet use of opioids spared his family the struggle that many families endure when living with someone battling addiction. Luke died two weeks out of treatment. Karen said, “Since his death, we learned how difficult it is to live in recovery. It takes more than two weeks to build a stable, lifelong, recovery plan.”
One week before Luke passed away, he, Karen, and Hayley spent a weekend together. The family had a habit of expressing their love for one another at the end of every visit. “We hugged and told each other ‘I love you’.” Hayley said. She and Karen will always be grateful for that beautiful family tradition.
Luke’s mother Karen, and sister Hayley, provided the information for this narrative.
July 16, 1990-May 28, 2016-Age 25
Portrait Artist: Shawn Faust
Narrative Writer: Scott Clower