Daniel was 6 years old when he moved into our home with his younger brother, Jason. Daniel was a sweet, loving child who wanted to please. He was very athletic and made friends easily. Daniel’s
teen years, however, were difficult for him, and he struggled in school. College did not stimulate him either, though his employers at the tire shop were happy with his skills and hard work.
Daniel’s birth parents were alcoholics. My husband and I were concerned that Daniel might be genetically predisposed to alcoholism or addiction and we warned Daniel about this. Our daughter, Jessica, finally told us that her brother had been drinking heavily. We were in the process of finding help for Daniel when he told us that he had quit drinking cold turkey.
October 3r was a very enjoyable day for our family. Dan had the day off from work and, after doing his chores, he watched the Denver Broncos with his father, Milton and older brother, Charlie. That evening he ironed three work shirts and packed a large lunch for the next day. Nothing warned us that this would be our last evening together.
The next day, when the shop called to find out why Dan hadn’t come in, Milton went to wake Daniel — and found him dead. I knew something was terribly wrong when Milton called me at work to come home immediately. By the time I arrived home, the paramedics, fire trucks, and police cars lined our curb. It looked like a crime scene. Later, we found out this was customary when there is an unwitnessed death.
It took two weeks for the coroner’s report to come back. Daniel died from a bad reaction to the drugs Methadone and Valium. Due to the amount in his body, death was ruled an accident.
Daniel was an avid backcountry snowboarder and his final resting place overlooks the snowcapped Mount Evans and his favorite, Loveland Pass. We have encouraged memorial donations to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America in the hope that others will learn about the dangers of taking pharmaceuticals drugs without a doctor’s prescription.