Beautiful, loved, adventurous, smart, precious
Nick was a beautiful old soul with insightful views on life. He was incredibly smart and talented, with a knack for computers, music and all things creative. He loved the outdoors and was full of wonder and joy for plants and creatures of all kinds. Nick was a loyal friend and brother and deeply loved by everyone he met. His family has heard many stories about how much he meant to others.
Nick and his family loved their trips to Garden City beach and Bugg’s Island where they camped. Birthdays were spent with friends and family and featured homemade treats; Nick preferred Pecan Pie over cake, “always outside the box,” his mom Heidi said. Other traditions and memories with Nick such as carving pumpkins, baking cookies, dying Easter eggs and watching fireworks remain with his family.
Nick excelled at baseball and was a naturally talented pitcher and part of a winning championship team. His involvement in baseball, the birth of his younger sisters, Sydney and Tessa, and getting his puppy, Tyler, were times of greatest joy. Nick’s sisters and his brother Eddie were his greatest supporters and the strength that helped him get through so many struggles.
Nick was expelled from school for possession of drugs and was subsequently incarcerated. It was the lowest point of his life, but he made the most of it, eventually getting his GED with high scores. He worked in the horticulture program while incarcerated and was proud of the gardens and fountains he helped cultivate. His mom said, “His strength and bravery will stay with us for as long as we live.”
Nick fought his battle with depression, anxiety and addiction with courage and conviction, always hoping to prevail and have the life he wanted. He planned to have a family and pursue a career in computer programming.
His mother said that addiction “stole Nick’s joy, his self-esteem, his wonder and his soul. The frustration and lack of control are horrendous. Watching your sweet, loving, smart, child morph into a lost, struggling shell of himself was a nightmare.” I would never have dreamed this could happen to my family, my Nick. My life, my world will never be whole again.”
The family has learned a lot about substance use disorder and the physical and mental effects it has. “It has opened my eyes to the need for treatment, not punishment, Heidi said. It is important for those suffering from the disease of addiction to know their worth, to never stop trying or giving up hope.”
Heidi stated, “This child was loved beyond measure. There are endless stories of the joy, pride, fun, and laughter he brought to all of us. I am grateful for God’s grace and mercy and the knowledge that I will be with Nick again in eternity.”
Nick’s mother, Heidi Hayes, provided the information for this narrative.
September 10, 1992-September 11, 2015
Age 23-Lived with the disease of addiction 7 years