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Tennyson C.

By Tennyson's father, Dennis

Tennyson Adam Abraham Cecchini

Salt Lake City, UT

Tennyson was born on 20 April 1982, the first-born son of Celeste and Dennis Cecchini. Celeste was a display designer with ZCMI and Dennis a practicing architect, both in their thirties. They relocated to Salt Lake City in 1972 after their marriage in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Tennyson was a beautiful baby boy; gregarious, inquisitive and full of the joy that a spirit invested in life can display. The first 24 years of his life contained all the experiences that help a young person grow to productive adulthood. Friends always came easy to Tennyson, as they were attracted by his personality and his attention to them. He attended public school, performed with the choir in junior high school and always had trouble with math. In high school, he became very good at hockey and won his letter two years in a row. He attended Weber State University but left one semester short of graduation, unable to fulfill his math requirements.

After college, he taught skating to children at a Taylorsville ice rink while he continued to play hockey and worked for a time in his father’s firm as a runner. He later got a position with a local healthcare equipment supply company and worked his way up from driver to warehouse and transport manager to store manager of the company’s flagship store. He developed the management plan for the company that was implemented in all of their stores throughout Utah. About this time, Tennyson met a young woman who he loved. They were engaged to be married, and together they had a beautiful baby boy of their own.

Tennyson always had some difficulty sleeping, but in his twenties, his insomnia became much worse and contributed to intense feelings of anxiety. He also sustained a severe shoulder injury playing hockey, which forced him to see a doctor for the condition. He was given medication to help him sleep and an opioid painkiller for the shoulder pain. This began the unravelling of Tennyson’s life. He became addicted to opioids and spent the next nine years pursuing a life predicated on addition. Keeping his illness from his family. Trying unsuccessfully to function on drugs, losing all of his wealth and personal relationships. Tennyson finally told his parents that he had excessive credit card debt and moved into their home to rebuild his finances. A year after that, he lost his job and told his parents that he was addicted to pain pills. His parents immediately helped him begin an outpatient treatment program for his addiction. But of course, by that time, Tennyson had moved on to heroin and was desperately keeping it from his parents. Because of federal confidentiality laws, Celeste and Dennis were kept in the dark about the true nature and extent of his illness, and he did not receive the aggressive treatment he needed.

A year later, Celeste and Dennis found out just how terrible and life-threatening a disease he had and forced him to accept residential substance use treatment. During that treatment, it was also discovered that Tennyson had been molested by a babysitter at the age of 6, and he had been trying to deal with that trauma every day of his life since. Even though he was so obviously mentally impaired by his addiction and trauma, his parents were not allowed to help him direct the quality and duration of his treatment and care. Because of insurance procedures that limit care for substance use, Tennyson was released from treatment after only 60 days. Although Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversing drug, was approved for use the year before by the Utah state legislature, Tennyson and his parents were never told about it and he was sent home without it. Four days later, Tennyson relapsed and overdosed on the bathroom floor. Celeste and Dennis were forced to watch the life of their beloved son pass away before their eyes as Celeste desperately performed CPR. Even the police officers who arrived first on the scene did not have Naloxone to administer. By the time the paramedics arrived, their son was dead. Dead at only 33 years of age and before he was able to fulfill all the promise of that young beautiful baby boy.

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