Submitted by his sister, Christina Cangemi
Patrick with his nephews
Patrick with nephews Nathan and Dante

What Patrick was like

He was so smart. He was extremely passionate about the things he cared about. He loved comic books, astronomy, baseball, “Game of Thrones.” His friends and family meant the world to him, and he loved them fiercely. He was a caring brother, son, uncle and friend.

Patrick was always playing pranks

Patrick on Christmas morning, with Nerf gun and Punisher mask
Patrick on Christmas morning

He was a big kid at heart. And he was gross! One time he shaved his head and left his hair in family members’ beds. He would hide in the closet and jump out to scare you. He’d wait until you went to sleep and then set things up all around you. At one point, he told our sister to go into school and ask a teacher if she remembered him, and said the teacher would only know him by this certain nickname. So she did, and it turned out he had never met the woman.

And he loved Nerf gun wars with his nephews. We have a picture of him in a Punisher mask from Christmas morning, wielding a Nerf gun. We’d be trying to cook dinner in the kitchen during family gatherings, and there would be all these Nerf missiles flying around, and it wasn’t the kids; it was him. His laugh was amazing.

How drugs became part of his life

Patrick broke his hand in a mosh pit at a Mudvayne concert. They’re a heavy metal band. He started taking painkiller pills. That’s how his addiction began. He was up to so many a day it started affecting his liver function.

He told us he had a problem, and I was stunned. He went to three rehab facilities over the next 14 years. He was on suboxone for many years. He fought for a long time.

Patrick with his sisters
Patrick with his sisters, Caroline and Christina, at Christina’s wedding

How our relationship changed because of opioid-use disorder

He was not the same person. He was difficult to be around.

The last moment we shared

I last saw my younger brother on August 25, 2017. We had gotten together to watch Floyd Mayweather fight. He wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t going to come over, but then he did.

He was very spiritual toward the end of his life, and that night he gave me a religious medal, showing Mary and Jesus. We were Catholic, but I’m not sure he identified with that. He was definitely a Christian, though. We had a wonderful evening with family.

Patrick and his nephew Nathan

How Patrick died

He was living at home with my parents. He texted me a YouTube video that morning, when I was getting my kids’ school bags ready.

He was alone in his room for maybe 40 minutes, and when my parents went in to see him around lunchtime, he had already passed. It was an accidental overdose. At first, my mother thought he was joking.

If I could say one thing to Patrick right now it would be

I miss your laugh and being able to talk with you daily.