Sebastian Rayson

Sebastian Rayson

Loving, kind, beautiful, funny, thoughtful

Initially, Bash was afraid of the ocean, but once he got on a surfboard at 12, he couldn’t be stopped. Since his family lived in Virginia Beach, he could surf every day in the summer. It was where he felt free and unencumbered by any worries. One treasured memory was meeting two surfing pros in a restaurant. They sat at his table, talked with him, and autographed a white cloth napkin. He was blown away! His mom still has this prized possession. Bash taught his nephew A.J. how to skateboard, and loved outdoor activities, but not the bugs!

Sebastian was a good kid, a kindhearted person, and an “old soul.” He had a lot of friends, was a hard worker, and a good listener who kept the confidences of those who shared their stories with him. Trips to Williamsburg, Jamestown, and to Nebraska for an exhibit about the Lewis and Clark expedition were right up Sebastian’s alley. He had so many questions for the guides, loved to visit the old cemeteries, read about soldiers from that time, and view the art and antiquities. He was seriously thinking about becoming a history teacher.

In high school, Sebastian got in trouble for dealing marijuana, and at 23, he was pulled over and drugs were found in the car. He subsequently went to jail. His mother visited him nearly every week, sent letters, and called twice a day. He eventually graduated from high school and took a few classes at the community college. Because of his own struggles, he hoped to become a psychologist so he could help people with substance use disorders, but his own addiction impeded continuing his education.

A story his mother, Lori related, illustrates Sebastian’s care and concern for others. He was on a night train to D.C. one weekend. Bash had an Uber meet him, but another passenger had to wait for her son to pick her up. “It wasn’t a friendly area, and Bash didn’t leave her until her son arrived,” his mom said. She misses his kind-heartedness, their hours-long talks while sitting on the beach, his beautiful eyes and smile, and how well he loved her.

Lori and Bash share a birthday. Since she is now celebrating for two, she does something big, like taking cruises and staying in ocean-front hotels with family. She also had 426 (their birthdate) tattooed on her wrist, like the one that Bash had on his upper arm.

Just prior to his death, Bash was getting counseling at a local mission and taking advantage of other programming. He was well-liked at his new maintenance job at the Holiday Inn, had his first paycheck in a year, and opened a bank account; things seemed to be going well. Bash texted his mom the night before he passed away, saying, “You have been my number one supporter. I love you so much. Goodnight, I hope you have sweet dreams and sleep well.” These were his last words to Lori; he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl the following day.

Now Lori says it is a “rough road.” “I stay busy, so I have no thoughts,” she said. ‘I can get depressed. Substance Use Disorder happens to good people. Sebastian had a loving mom and dad, a wonderful family, and a future ahead of him. He just got sidetracked.’

Sebastian’s mother, Lori Monke, provided the information for this narrative.

April 26, 1993-March 9, 2017

Age 23-Lived with the disease of addiction 6-7 years.

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