Submitted by Timothy’s daughter, Myrissa Havens
What people should know about Tim
He was so funny and loved making people laugh. My dad loved listening to rock music really loud in his home. His favorite band had always been Creed, and even though I made fun of him for it, I secretly liked them, too. I remember us driving home from Virginia when I was maybe 9. The windows were down, the music was up and he was just so carefree then. I’ll always remember that.
How I found out about Tim’s opioid-use disorder
He was 13 when he was given his first pill. He struggled with his addiction for 32 years. I’m not sure I actually “found out” he had a problem. It was just this part of him that was always there. After my 8-year-old brother was killed by a truck while we were riding bikes, I saw my dad falling apart. Once, my dad brought me to a get-together with his friends. I was playing with all the other kids when I fell on my wrist. I remember running to my dad and yelling that I was hurt. He had this blank expression on his face, and I felt like he was staring through me. To this day, I can remember screaming for him to help, but he was too far gone to even know who I was.
Remembering the good times
Every now and then, he would get clean. I suppose he was doing it for my siblings and me, to be present with us. He was the absolute best person when he was sober. My most vivid memory is probably the time we were playing basketball and the ball rolled off and he went after it and tripped. We’re a pretty tall family, so when he went down, his legs went flying in the air as he rolled down a hill. Imagine when a horse rolls around on the ground with its legs straight up. That was my dad. It was so funny. I smile every time I think about it.
How opioids affected our relationship
As I got older, I started to avoid him because I knew he was high. I felt like he wasn’t my dad — he was some man who swallowed pills to make it through the day. Before he died, while I was living with him, he had been clean for a year or so. When he started using again, I didn’t know what to do. I was 15 and had no idea how to handle my 45-year-old father’s drug addiction.
Our last moment was not a pleasant one. I had grown exhausted avoiding him, so I asked my brother to pick me up and take me away. When my dad realized I was gone, he begged me to come home, saying how much he needed me. I never responded, and he was dead four days later of an overdose. I never got to tell him I loved him one last time. He was my best friend when he was clean. I wish I had the answers and solutions to end this terrible, terrible disease.
How Tim would want to be remembered.
As a good father, someone who wanted the best for me.
If I could say one thing to my dad, it would be
I love and miss you so much. I’m so sorry that you ever were introduced to this. Had I been older, maybe I could have intervened and saved you.