It would have been easier to state, vaguely, that Ryan Bossie had simply “died” on Jan. 30. Maybe put the word “suddenly” or “unexpectedly” behind it. But what the family of a young man from Caribou, Maine, chose to do instead was much bolder, and more difficult.
They opened his obituary with this line: “Ryan Douglas Bossie, 27, died January 30, 2015, in Portland after losing a hard-fought battle with addiction.” Though the obituary continued as a touching ode to a beloved son and brother — “He enjoyed skateboarding, snowboarding, hiking, gardening, fishing, participating in moose hunts, and “chillin” with his family and friends” — the first sentence was groundbreaking because his family went where most don’t.
The Bossie family confronted Ryan’s cause of death head-on with a clear admission to the public that their loved one had died from a drug overdose — and in doing so joined a growing number of families who are using obituaries as a way to warn people about the tragic reality of drug addiction.