Funny, loving, kind, sensitive, and lonely
William was a hilarious person. His mom, Carolyn, always knew it, but it was confirmed at his Zoom memorial service, which was attended by over 125 people. Many of them told stories about how William lit up a room and kept them laughing through his jokes and antics. His mother said, “As parents, we don’t always know how our children are known to their friends. She was proud to hear what a caring and loving man he was to so many people.”
A favorite memory of William as a little boy was when he turned into a Smurf while playing with his friends. William threw down a can of blue spray paint and it exploded. It turned William’s face the color of a Smurf. Once it was determined no one was injured, it was funny to see a little blond boy with a completely blue face!
William loved kids and animals. His cat, Stella, still lives with his mother, Carolyn. William enjoyed video games, which he continued into adulthood. His older brother, Cory, and he found common ground with the games, especially EverQuest. William loved his niece Bryn and nephew Kace, Cory’s children. William’s parents divorced when he was very young. He lived with his mom, which made them very close. “I not only lost my son, I also lost my best friend,” his mom said.
William had five surgeries over two years to remove pre-cancerous tumors from his tibia. He had a rod implanted from his knee to ankle for stabilization. Several of the surgeries required pain medications. During these two years, William achieved his dream of becoming a registered nurse. Over the course of the following two years, he used Kratom on and off. He never used drugs during his employment.
William’s disease changed his behavior. He began lying to his mom, and she witnessed multiple overdoses. They mostly kept his illness between the two of them as other family members did not understand substance use disorder and the fact that it is a disease, not a choice.
Just as the pandemic was starting, and after going through treatment, William got a new job in a hospital. Since others had families to consider or were at higher risk, he volunteered to work with Covid patients. Unfortunately, his decision to help others resulted in isolation just when he needed support to remain sober. His sponsor wouldn’t meet him in person. He couldn’t attend the support groups he relied on. William was also working long hours, and the Zoom support meetings just weren’t for him. It was a struggle to remain sober.
“The three weeks before he died were really wonderful”, his mom said. They were on lockdown for part of the pandemic. They cooked together, watched a lot of television, talked, and laughed.
“I am so thankful for those weeks,” she said. His mother is now triggered by certain situations because of her experiences when William was in active addiction. She misses his laughter, their walks together in the neighborhood and on the beach, and William asking her for a hug when he desperately needed one.
William’s mother, Carolyn Coddington, provided the information for this narrative.
December 22, 1987-April 25, 2020
Age 32-Lived with the disease of addiction 12 years