I would like to tell my son’s story, and the family he left behind. He is my youngest child, his name is Ryan Joseph Souder. He is forever 21.This is a picture of one of my sons, Ryan Joseph Souder, myself (on left) and my daughter, Lauren Ashley. It’s so special to me because it was taken exactly 6 days before Ryan passed away due to a heroin overdose. He was just 21. Ryan was the type of person that everyone wanted to be around. He had a great sense of humor and was always smiling. He loved to surf, played sports and skateboarding and he wanted to be a snow board instructor.
He loved his family so much, especially his 2 sisters and brother and my parents. And most of all he loved me, his Mom. He started using drugs when he was in high school and when I found out about it I was told that he was using ecstasy every day. From there were the pills and anything he could get his hands on. I was heartbroken and put him in rehab, which didn’t do much that first time. He started using soon after he got out. I remember sitting in his 2nd rehab, parents’ night, and hearing the speaker say that it usually takes them 4 or 5 times in a rehab for them to work. I was so upset by that. Then came the overdoses, probably about 6 or 7 times. He had started using heroin, looked awful and became homeless. Each time I would beg him to stop and each time he said he would. I drove him to his last time in rehab, at the end of September 2012. He called after 10 days saying he wanted to leave. Of course I tried to talk him out of it. Short time later his counselor called to say that Ry had contacted one of his friends and that he was getting picked up. What type of friend would encourage someone to leave a rehab after only detoxing?
I was very upset. His so called “friend” took him to live with him, and less than a month later (Oct.12,2012) my precious baby boy overdosed alone in that friend’s house.
A week before he passed, the aforementioned picture was taken of the three of us. I love it because he looks happy. It did not show up on my daughter’s phone until the day of his funeral. She is sure it wasn’t there before. I’d like to think its a special gift to me.
Ryan grew up in the suburbs around Atlantic City NJ. He never really hung out in Atlantic City where he grew up in a nice safe neighborhood. He also has a brother and they are 16 months apart. Since Ryan’s passing my other son, Ricky has started using heroin as well and is now incarcerated, which is a blessing to me because I don’t have to worry like I do when he’s out.
Story by Tina Guarracino