27-Year-Old's Obituary Confronts His Addiction

Ryan Bossie's family decided not to shy away from his struggle
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2015 8:09 AM CDT
27-Year-Old's Obituary Confronts His Addiction
An image of Ryan Bossie from a GoFundMe page.   (GoFundMe)

What may have been easier: to somewhat vaguely just state that Ryan Bossie died on Jan. 30. Maybe toss in the word "suddenly" or "unexpectedly." But what the family of the man from Caribou, Maine, chose to do instead was much bolder, and more difficult. They opened his obit with this line: "Ryan Douglas Bossie, 27, died January 30, 2015, in Portland after losing a hard-fought battle with addiction." Bossie's brother, Andrew, now talks to the Bangor Daily News about the decision to do so, explaining that the first pass at the obituary didn't name Bossie's struggle with drugs. "I just said I don't think we should be ashamed of this," recounts Andrew. "I hope that by including that maybe it helps someone else just a little bit, that their story has a different ending."

And so the family agreed to take what the paper calls "the rare step" of mentioning the addiction; it's believed Bossie OD'd on heroin. His struggle with drugs included six prior overdoses. A GoFundMe page set up to cover Bossie's funeral expenses noted the investment the family made in trying to get help for Bossie, there described as someone who "purposely confronted life, always trying to please the people he loved while balancing personal demons." Bossie died a day after a 26-year-old Ohio man whose obituary was even more explicit about his heroin overdose. "All of the wonderful blessings that he had: talent, friendships, positive outlook on life, and, most importantly, family were sidelined by a wrong decision to do drugs," wrote Alex Hesse's family. They similarly expressed a hope that Hesse's story might "help one person not make the same mistakes that Alex did, save one family from losing a loved one far too young." (For more unusual obituaries, read this, this, or this.)

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