By Michael's girlfriend, Theresa
Michael James Turner Norwalk, Connecticut
December 19, 1982 – April 22, 2016
So many people think “drunk” or “junkie” when they see someone suffering from addiction. What they can’t see is a person that is stuck in a body they can no longer control.
My soulmate, Mike Turner, suffered from addiction. He was also type 1 diabetic and had a chiari malformation in his brain. He had a long history of alcohol and drug abuse and in the end, it was heroin that took him. Those were Mike’s labels, but that is not who Mike was--the man I knew was an affectionate, exciting and hilarious dad, boyfriend, son, brother, and uncle. He had integrity, he was honest, and charitable. Mike participated in Chiari Malformation Cancer, Autism and Addiction events. He planned on going back to school to become an addiction counselor. We planned on marriage, kids and everything else life had to offer.
We share a love like no other.
Mike acknowledged his issues and fought to better himself in the best way he knew how. I always respected him for that. Mike even went through a parenting course to try to be a better dad. He loved his kiddos--Mike Jr. and Amber--more than anything. He was all about his family and looked forward to weekly Sunday dinners at his mom’s house.
Mike was a funny guy--pretty clumsy and always getting into mischief. He was so positive and encouraged everyone around him in their pursuits. Everyone who knew the real Mike loved him.
Mike had his demons, however, and he knew that overcoming his addiction was the most important thing. As long as he was using he was useless to his kids, his family, our relationship, and his job. Mike knew the hurt his addiction caused others and that destroyed him. It killed me inside to witness his hurt and share his pain. Mike tried detoxing and rehab numerous times. He was part of a group called the SNAKES--Soldiers Needing Accountability Keeping Each Other Sober in Christ. In April 2016 he graduated from a program with 9 months clean.
On April 22, 2016, just three weeks after his graduation, Mike was living with me again. He woke me up with a start that morning and said he had low blood sugar. I fed him OJ and honey, which he threw up, so I ran to the pharmacy to get glucose tablets. By 8:30, his sugar was up and he said he was feeling much better--that I should go to work. Mike told me how beautiful I was that morning and how much he loved me. He said he was jealous of my coworkers who got to spend all day around such beauty. We were in the middle of installing a ceiling fan in the dining room and we planned on having a date night after we finished the project that evening.
Mike’s last message to me was at 9:17 AM: “no worries im alive :cP” I called him after my meeting around 10:30. He didn’t answer so I called again…still no answer. I kept trying. I had another meeting that ended around 11:45. I tried calling again and there was still no answer. Fearful that his sugar had dropped too low, I ran home as fast as I could. I got home around 12:30. I opened the door and found him.
Mike had relapsed after being 9 months clean. I had no idea that he had been using. He overdosed some time between 9:17 and 10:30 that morning.
It feels like an eternity since Mike passed away, but the pain feels like it happened yesterday. I witnessed him fight so hard for so long that I forgive him and the things he did due to his addiction. We fought the battle together--I have so many memories of him using and overdosing...so many at-home and inpatient detoxes, so many rehabs. I'm realizing now just how valuable the 3 minutes were when we got to talk during his stay in Carlson detox. What I would give to talk to him for 3 minutes.
I know, right now, Mike is probably beating himself up for what happened that day and the traumatic implications of my finding him. I will learn to overcome this and, as he did, put every effort into overcoming the devastation that addiction entails.
I love you, Mike Turner, for eternity. I will look back on our time together and think of the wonderful experiences we have had--from pillow talk to wedding trips to hospital stays--from my MBA to your Chiari symptoms. No matter what the issue was, together we were a rock. And I'll remember the laughter. You will not be forgotten. I wear you around my neck so you are against my heart always.
Be at peace.