Standing with my hands in my pockets still and silent, I stared at my childhood friend Nick from across the room in the funeral home trying to remember the long-lost memories of our friendship.
On the other side of the room, Nicholas Pelfrey, 33, laid in his casket. He died of a heroin overdose on Nov. 7. Another casualty of the heroin epidemic that has devastated so many families across Ohio.
In Lorain County alone, there were 132 heroin-overdose deaths in 2016, according to Lorain County Coroner’s Office.
Nick and I first met as young children when we attended Cascade Elementary School in Elyria, which at my age of 33 seems like a lifetime ago. We were never best friends during that time, but I do remember we always enjoyed each other’s company.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school when a mutual friend of ours reintroduced us and we three started to regularly spend time with one another. One of my favorite spots that we normally would meet and hang out at was the wooden staircase (or “the steps” as we referred to it) at the old Auto trail in Cascade Park.
“The steps” was one of the entrances to Cascade Park that was easily accessible from walking down a dead-end street located in the neighborhood where Nick and a few other friends lived. For whatever reason, we and friends of ours were the only people who hung out in that location, which made it feel like it was ours.
The time we spent there holds a special place in my mind and heart because that was during a tough period of my life. The troubled marriage of my mother and father had escalated to the point where they were only either yelling at each other or not talking at all. Furthermore, being a typical moody high school teenager, I absolutely hated going to high school, and became completely apathetic to my education.
Hanging out with Nick and all of our other friends was really the only thing that brought me happiness during a time where I couldn’t find happiness anywhere else, and that is how I wish to remember my friend Nicholas Pelfrey.