Mike Stollings took a picture of his 20-year-old son, Jeramie Ratliff.
It was a disturbing photo of his child he didn’t want to hide away from the world. His goal was to frighten people with it.
Stollings’s child lost his battle with drug addiction in November 2014, according to Liftable.
But Stollings didn’t curl up in a corner and cry for his child; he pulled out his camera and took a chilling picture of his dead body on the gurney, just an hour after he arrived at the funeral home.
The Ohio dad watched as Ratliff went through treatment programs for his addiction, only to go back to using, time and time again.
Ratliff just couldn’t fight his way out of using drugs, which put him on the metal table in a funeral home, with a sheet draped over him. This time, he had overdosed on dextromethorphan, an ingredient found in over-the-counter cough suppressant medication, also known as “DXM.”
Stollings hoped the photo of his dead son might help someone who is on their way to ending up in the same place.
The father admitted “grief and guilt” also pushed him to snap the haunting photo of his son’s drug-addicted dead body. He shared in a raw Facebook post the details of Ratliff’s life and death:
Stollings started out sarcastically, but his emotions took over, and his vivid description turned dark:
Lets take another look at how fun drugs are…………… this is my son about an hour after the funeral home got him late monday afternoon. When he died he had been bleeding out of his ears and had blood in his hair and foam in his mouth. They were kind enough to clean him before we got there. His body was ice cold from being kept in a refrigerator. My cold dead son.
The heartbroken father wasn’t the only person Ratliff left behind, as Stollings explained. His son had a large loving family — and a young child of his own, a son named Asher:
Father of a 10 month boy. Grandson to 3 living grandparents. Step-brother to 2. Half brother to 3 son to 2 living parents and a step parent that helped raise him since he was a young child. All completely devastated. Well little asher is too young to know what is going on but will live his life wondering what it would be like to know his dad.
Ratliff’s dad was not blind to his son’s addiction — he didn’t try very hard to hide it:
As many of you know Jeramie was pretty open about his relationship with LSD. He was a little more quiet about his love for Dextromethorphan. Despite the begging and pleading from me and many others in his family he craved the trip and was obsessed about it…………look I know that not everybody that takes drugs is going to die from it. but many do.
Stollings pointed out his son blindly believed he could handle his addiction, but that wasn’t the case. Now, his family is left with nothing but devastation, funeral bills, and special moments they will never get to have with Ratliff:
Jeramie thought he had it under control. he thought he was smarter than the drug and had more control than the drug. now he is in a refrigerator in a funeral home in englewood. Now people are in transit from all across this country to say their final goodbye’s. Now my family has to spend over $5000 in funeral expenses. Now I will never be able to hike with him or ride dirt bikes with him. He will never be able to take his son camping.
Stollings pleaded with people who use for “a little fun here and there,” to think of the other people who are using around them that may be suffering from mental illness, like his son. He said:
He was carrying some mental baggage that even I can’t comprehend.
The father begged those people to stop encouraging them and enabling them to to turn to drugs as an escape.
That is the every last thing people like this need. these people need actual help. these people need encouragement to heal in healthy ways. they need to feel genuine love and uplifting encouragement not encouragement to get high again. think about the influence you have on these people. think about the path of destruction being left behind.
Stollings hopes his dead child’s body will help stop someone else from heading down the same path as his son. He even offered to help anyone who needs it if they are alone:
People, learn from this. help make something positive from this tragedy. walk away from this lifestyle. find someone that loves you and ask them for help. don’t let this become you. don’t do this to your family. use our pain and anguish. learn from it. it’s not too late to save yourself and your family from repeating this horror.
The father signed out with a warning: “Believe me when I say you do not want to experience this and you do not want your loved ones to have to experience this anguish.”
Stollings ended by admitting he still doesn’t have all of the answers, and he probably never will:
“I’ll spend the rest of my days on this earth racking my brain trying to figure out what I should have done differently,” he said.