Sunday, August 28, 2011


  I attended a friend's memorial service today, and as we arrived there was a long line of people (no surprise) ready to pay their respects for this man approaching his 41st birthday.  At previous services I have cried, out of either sadness or joy depending on what I knew about the soul that has passed on. This particular man that I went to see has a special place in my heart because without his existence I most definitely, without a doubt, would not have the family I currently have. My brother-in-law and I stood quietly outside in this line reflecting on his passing before viewing the body. This man was loved my many, many people, and it was because he had a heart of gold. He never judged or turned anyone away just because of how they looked, he accepted everyone as who they are. As we entered the funeral home, I got a glimpse of his lifeless body laying in the casket, but tried to refrain until I was able to kneel before him and pray for God to accept him for who he was. As we approached, I was fixated on his face when I was still a few people back. My brother-in-law apologized to me about his emotions and tears began to roll down his face, then it was his turn, then mine. As I walked up, kneeled, made the sign of the cross, and was ready to recite the prayer I had gone over in my head, knowing the time had come to pray it, was gone, all I could say looking at my friend of 20 yrs was "Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy" over and over and over. I did not cry. My emotions were "frozen".

  The last 5 or so years of his life, "we" all had to back away from being "friends and family" to him because he got caught up in a "trap" and this "trap" just so happened to be... heroin. Even though having two beautiful daughters, a loving family, great friends, and the like, he chose drugs. Driven to do crimes, spend time in jail (which we thought would straighten him) and being disowned, he continued this lifestyle of being homeless, and abandoned, from those who loved him, by a mere substance...heroin.

  While he was serving time in jail, I printed out prayers for him, common Catholic prayers, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and the, Our Father, sealed them up, and sent them his way.  He was sober in jail "I assume" but when he got out, right back to the same old routine...heroin.  His immediate family members and close friends discussed his situation and "we" decided if he doesn't change, he will die. Sure enough, the texts and phone calls began to fly, "Ronnie is dead".  When I found out from a reliable source, an hour and a half after his being found 'alone' on the street, dead, I just prayed, made phone calls, sent texts, and prayed.  I did not cry, my emotions were..."frozen".

  He died 'alone' in the street, in an apparent drug overdose...heroin.

  I was praying, asking God to reveal the state of Ronnie's soul to me, and I received the word "darkness" which led me to believe the state of his soul was in purgatory. The next morning before I opened my bible, I prayed to the Holy Spirit to reveal to me through His Word, what I needed to make it through the day, and this is what I received: "Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in Him there is no 'darkness' at all. If we say, we have fellowship in Him, while we continue to walk in 'darkness', we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of His son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, we are not without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1 5-10.  This passage was not aimed at Ronnie, it was aimed at ME, my emotions were "frozen" because I had not forgiven Ronnie for what he had done in life, my anger at him, for his children's sake overrode what should have been forgiveness on my part. After all, as I have revealed, without Ronnie, I don't have what I have.

  For all I know, Ronnie, as he lay dying, in the street, 'alone' could have made perfect contrition with God, reciting the prayers I sent him in jail, and very well could be in heaven. As the tears finally start to flow,  "I forgive you Ronnie"!

  May God rest your soul!

  p.s. we NEVER know what state a soul is in at the time of death.


  1. Randy,
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    I can relate to your story all too well. You got the phone call I was always afraid of getting. I watched a dear friend battle this same addiction. Heroin plays dirty on so many levels. While my friend managed to get off heroin, his mental illness has gotten the better of him. I owe much to my friend for I would not have returned to my faith were it not for him and his cooperation with God's grace on my behalf, even while in the midst of his addiction and prison sentences.
    I have learned that with addicts, forgiving them is a long process. I think God gave you that Scripture passage to jump start the process for you.
    You are right when you say we never know the state of a soul at the hour of death. I believe there is potential for boundless mercy in those brief seconds between a final act and the moment of death.
    My prayers for the repose of Ronnie's soul. May Our Lady console you and all those who mourn his death.
    God bless.

  2. Thank you, Karinann.

    Your comment reminds me of the thief on the cross with Jesus, "today you will be with me in paradise". God's mercy for sinners is powerful, after all it is why he sent His only Son. Your knowledge on forgiveness for addicts is true, lengthy. I have been angry with Ronnie for years, but I do beleive, had he been able to "flip a switch" and get off drugs to regain his family, he would have! There are far more good times than bad with him. I must focus on those. Peace to you!

  3. Randy, my sincerest condolences on the death of your friend. You wrote that he died alone. That is not necessarily true. God was with him. At that moment right before death God asks or will ask all of us whether we are sorry for our sins. With all the prayers being offered for Ronnie, I'm sure God answered the prayers and saved his soul.
    May Ronnie rest in peace.

  4. Thanks Esther, I appreciate it. What I meant by "alone" was that he had no family or friends surrounding him, yes, I pray that peace was made with our Lord. I continue to pray....