Sage Walker Lewis

Sage Walker Lewis

Heart-centered, generous, seeker, loyal, suffering

As a kid, Sage was outgoing, joyful, charismatic, and very verbal. People were drawn to him. He expressed interest in people and always helped them to be their best. “He was a pure soul,” his mom, Robin, said. “And gorgeous.”

Sage was a self-taught photographer, videographer, and video editor. He made music videos for his friends and was into the hip-hop scene. After high school, he fulfilled his dream to design streetwear and started a line called Blame LA with his friends. Sage was a natural athlete, a star. He was considered for a college baseball scholarship but preferred to follow his interests directly, rather than go to college and learn from books.

Sage was an only child and close to his parents. The family had fun vacations together, visiting extended family and going to Washington D.C., Alaska, Hawaii, and Jamaica. In school, he was part of the Sports Education Leadership Foundation, which provided opportunities for Sage to travel to Bangladesh to help young athletes develop their skills and to Zimbabwe to build a basketball court and teach basketball and soccer skills. He came home with an empty suitcase, as he gifted what he owned to those he met.

Sage was private about his adoption, at four days old, yet it was a defining aspect of how he viewed the world, as was his mixed race. Having a white mother and black father, both biologically and in his adoptive parents, he felt conflicted about having whiteness in his identity and didn’t want to stand out. Having mixed-race friends helped him manage his feelings. His friendships were profound and important to him; loyalty to each other was a big theme in his relationships. Sage routinely invited people to stay with him and his family. One “temporary” guest ended up staying for three years and was a supportive friend to Sage.

“Sage did well until the pain and shame of addiction took over,” his mom stated. “He lost faith in himself and his ability to succeed.” It was surgery for appendicitis and resulting complications that started the addiction. He was given morphine for the pain and later began self-medicating for anxiety. He lost his confidence and zeal for his dreams. Sage was a natural helper and longed to be of service to people. He was exploring becoming a therapist, but in active addiction, he couldn’t focus enough to enroll.

Sage’s mother, a social worker, said the hardest thing for her was watching him decompensate – losing his ability to maintain psychological defenses – and then return, again and again. She explained, “I felt I was on the line of a great battle in our society that’s defined by mental illness, race, addiction, and politics. Our health system is woefully inadequate. Sage died while the system was failing him.” Robin added, “I have nothing but compassion for all affected by this disease, I have no judgment at all.” Since Sage died, she said, ”he has become my teacher. I know he is okay. He has given me much faith and comfort.”

Robin and Sage’s dad, Stryder, held Sage’s 25th birthday at the ball field that overlooks the city where he played little league. They loaded the bases, sang happy birthday, and released balloons. His mom said, “I love to go up there and think about him where we had so many happy times. I like to see other families enjoying the space and making memories.”

Sage’s mother, Robin Roberts, provided the information for this narrative.

June 25, 1995-January 12, 2020

Age 24–Lived with the disease of addiction for six 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 »
Tyler Ian Abbitt

Tyler Ian Abbitt

Beach Lover, pizza, family Tyler was extremely loving and kind. He loved animals and enjoyed doing things to help his family. As a child Tyler, his parents, and his older brother Travis all had fun times together. After baseball games, their dad, George, would pile them in the back of his pickup truck and take them for ice cream. In summers, they went to amusement parks, Atlanta Braves games, and to a lot of church-sponsored activities. The extended family gathered for birthdays and holidays, and the boys never passed up an opportunity to go to their grandparents’ house. Tyler’s mom, Peggy, said, “I must remind myself that as difficult as it was at times, my kids had a good upbringing and a good life. They had two parents at home who loved them, and wonderful grandparents, friends, cousins, and church members. It makes you wonder why things go bad.”[...]
Read More »
Steven Bettencourt

Steven Bettencourt

Brave, charismatic, super-smart, bossy, loyal With long, lion-like hair, a 5’11” frame, and an authentic, charismatic personality, Stevie energized any room he entered. People were drawn to him. His “uniform” of choice was a long black tee and Levi’s, accentuated by various shoes from his extensive collection. At home, he would relax in his basketball shorts and binge-watch television series with his mother, Stephanie, and sister Kalli. [...]
Read More »
Alex Wilt “Smeagol: or “Nova Obscura”

Alex Wilt “Smeagol: or “Nova Obscura”

Creative, eclectic, loving, unique, spontaneous Alex was tall and striking with engaging energy. They reveled in attention and enjoyed performing in their band in Los Angeles, modeling, and studying Cybersecurity at college. They wanted to be famous. But mostly they craved connection, spontaneity, and growing into their unique beingness. They were a world traveler, living in Switzerland as a youngster, and traveling back and forth to Europe at various times. Travel gave them a broader sense of the world from an early age. [...]
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.