Submitted by Sean and Dennis’ mother, Penny Thibault

Brothers and best friends

Sean and Dennis
Dennis and Sean Thibault

One of my most vivid memories is when we first brought Sean home. They were a year and a half apart. Dennis would go into Sean’s room and pick up the bumper pad, because he wasn’t tall enough to see into the crib. So he would pick up the bumper pads and just talk to Sean. Sean, this infant, newborn baby, and Dennis — he would just talk to him, you know? It was instant.

Who they were

Humor was at their core. They were hysterically funny, smart, hardworking, dedicated and polar opposites.

Sean loved the past: knights in shining armor and mythology. Interestingly, he worked with his hands as an extremely skilled master machinist, forging steel and metal.

Dennis loved the future: space exploration and the potential for man to travel to Mars someday. He worked as an outstandingly skilled IT specialist, embracing the technology that moves the world forward. Both highly respected, and both very proud of their accomplishments in their respective fields.

How we learned of their struggle with opioids

We don’t know when or how they became addicted. Evidently, pills were popular when they were in high school. I believe this may have been the beginning, an experimental stage. We never knew. We believe now that they were just turning the corner to alternatives to pills when they died. They never used a needle on their bodies. They never showed any outward sign to anyone who loved them. We never knew of their struggle until the day they both died of pure fentanyl poisoning — assumed to have been snorted.

Our relationship with Sean and Dennis never changed. They were still so full of life and the same great guys that I was so proud of until the very day they died.

My boys are gone from an epidemic that I didn’t know existed, because it had nothing to do with me.

What it’s like to live without them

Dennis, Jerry, Penny and Sean Thibault
Left to right: Dennis, Jerry, Penny and Sean Thibault

I’ve relived every single minute of my children’s lives over the past four years since that moment, the day they died.

Every day, there are so many reminders of their essence. A song on the radio, a commercial on TV, a TV show. They both recommended, repeatedly, a show called “Psych,” to my husband and myself. We finally relented and found the show so absolutely funny. We shared many laughs together, all of us, when we recounted the episodes. Since their deaths, we have binge-watched repeats of that show too many times to count. The two characters behave much like Dennis and Sean did in real life. We remember all the parts that they found so amusing.

How they would want to be remembered

They would want to be remembered as I remember them: funny, happy, successful, loving, charitable, strong and proud. They were creative thinkers and were commended for finding solutions by thinking “outside the box.” They were always willing to lend a helping hand to friends or coworkers.

All my memories of my two sons are nothing but good. I continue to be fortunate, because I still have those memories and I get to relive them all over and over again.

But all these things bring tears to my eyes.

If I could say one more thing to them, it would be

Why didn’t you come to me? I would have done anything to save you. I miss you both so much, and I can’t bear it some days.

Penny Thibault spoke about her sons in “Brothers’ Keeper: A Mom Wants a Dealer to Pay for Her Sons’ Overdose Deaths” in the August 31, 2016, issue of Seven Days.