My son, the gentle soul
Ray was an old soul who gravitated toward children, animals and the elderly. He loved to hear his grandparent’s stories from the past and his mother remembers Ray and his grandpa watching wrestling and the playful banter they had; “No Pop, it IS real blood!!” Ray was very affected by the death of his grandparents when he was just 14.
Ray’s major passions were anything sports or music. He watched all the drafts and could discuss all the player’s stats with his stepfather. He thought about becoming a sports journalist. He also loved music and was in his element as a weekend D.J. and considered owning his own DJ company. When his mom came to a show, he would slide a little Bon Jovi song in there just for her, before going back to the scheduled music of the night.
He loved all animals and liked to fish, which made it even more curious when his mom heard thumping sounds from the dryer and found his cat inside. When she asked “what possessed you to put the cat in the dryer?” he wryly responded; “he was wet.” After he got the proper reprimand and left the room, she had to laugh. Ray often had a quick one-liner that came from out of left field and had everyone looking at each other, like–where did that come from? Then they would all burst out laughing. It was a running joke that you don’t drink anything around Ray or you might just spit it out with the laughter.
Ray graduated from high school and got a full-time job in a machine shop, still working weekends as a DJ. After a breakup, he was depressed and seeking answers about his father, who had been mostly absent from his life. He called him and they made plans for him to come for Thanksgiving. Raymond started doing some match making and eventually his mom and dad remarried. In time his dad moved in, but it was apparent he wasn’t adapting well to being transplanted to another state. After he was missing for the day, the police came to inform Ray and his mom that his dad was found dead in a nearby park with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. “That was the beginning of Ray’s demise,” his mom said.
Ray began with Percocet and realizing he had a problem, checked into rehab, but left after 10 days. He worked jobs here and there, was ok for a time, but began hanging around people who used hard drugs. On his 36th birthday, his mom found him overdosed and called 911. He was on a ventilator in critical condition for 24 hours. “I thought he would do better after that,” his mom said. He was in rehab at least five times and had over nine months without drugs when he overdosed on fentanyl.
There are too many details to chronicle, but Ray’s mom “hit a wall over and over in the recovery community.” She experienced HIPAA violations, lack of basic services, even food and clean bedding, code violations and outright fraud and corruption.
“The entire system is a mess from beginning to end,” Dawn said. Thirty days is nothing, people addicted to heroin need at least three months for the brain to rewire and treatment for at least six months if not longer. We need to change the system and have more regulation and get people the help they deserve.”
Ray’s mother, Dawn Troutt, provided the information for this narrative.
June 17, 1981-July 22, 2019
Age 38–Lived with the disease of addiction 8-9 years