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James Pinka

Jan 26, 1997 - Jul 6, 2016

James grew up in the small town of Bayport, NY with many friends. He enjoyed basketball and lacrosse. By the time he was in middle school his passion turned towards skateboarding. My husband actually built him a half-pipe in our backyard. Soon he became interested in motocross and quad riding. He loved boating and the beach. James grew up in Watch Hill Marina and eventually began working there at a job he truly loved.

James’ troubles began in his early years of high school as he began smoking marijuana and drinking in the woods. It wasn’t long before he started experimenting with pills. By the time he was a senior in high school, he began using heroin. At this time James was also DJ’ing in NYC. He had always been interested in music, playing the drums all through grade school. His talent was grabbing attention and soon he began working with a promotion team that secured some pretty amazing gigs in Manhattan. James was beginning to taste fame and he loved it. But it was a fast paced life, a rave life filled with drugs and James was only 17 years old when he entered it.

At 18 years old,  he went to rehab for the first time. He actually loved it and loved his sober self but he relapsed only one day after returning home. The second time he went to rehab James came home with a desire to change. He was sober for 8 months before he was dared by a friend to swallow a bottle of cold medicine to experience a poor man’s LSD high, as he was told. Unfortunately the interaction of that over-the-counter medication and his prescribed Xanax took his life at the tender age of 19.

I often reflect back on things James would say as he was growing up. He once told me that he didn’t expect to live a long life. He didn’t want the life I had. He didn’t want the worry or the responsibility. I always wonder if his soul was speaking to me in those moments as if he was trying to prepare me.

To say that I miss my son is not enough. There are no words to describe the loss but there is hope and promise and above all, there is strength to say James’ name loudly and often. I love you James.

Submitted by Lauren Pinka, mother

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