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In Memory of Stephen Paul Hudec

Lori Fung writes in this Letter to the Editor that she learned about Stephen by listening to his family and friends tell stories of him.


On a quiet, snow-covered morning, we laid to rest a young man, Stephen P. Hudec. He was a great brother to Lauren, James and Hanna and a loving son to Sara and Steve. His mother weeps for her son, his father holds his children near, as they deal with the disease Stephen was trying so hard to beat ... addiction.

Addiction will destroy you in ways you could never imagine. It eats at your soul, makes you do bad things and is there waiting in the darkness for that one weak moment to jump in and take over. The disease did this to Stephen, it intervened on his weakest moment and took his life at only 20 years old. 

I'm writing this to save his name, to add some clarity and light to the former articles written of him. Yes, he had his faults; he's made mistakes. But in the past few weeks before his death, he was trying so hard to make things right—talking to the police, giving things back that were stolen from local residents and paying for his sins.

It hurt him greatly to read the articles written of him in the Pine-Richland Patch. He read the first article and tears welled up in his eyes. He told his mom, I didn't do all the things they said, I told the police everything, I'm trying to make amends. I don't want people to think these things of me, things that aren't true.

To those residents of the homes that were robbed, please know that Stephen was truly sorry. To the young man, Tyler Gazdik, who was with Stephen during the robberies—may he do the same, may he figure out that this is his time to stop, to make right with what he has done and get the help he needs.

I learned so much more about Stephen listening to his family and friends tell stories of him this past week. He had a big heart, always tried to make you laugh when you were down, a great listener and a smile that could light up a room. He was even a poet and writer, I never knew this and let me tell you, he was great at it.  

Stephen was also an outstanding big brother to his little sister Hanna. He tried to keep her blocked from everything happening as much as he could. Stephen had so much remorse for the things in the past that he had done.

Fighting every bit as he could, he couldn't just brush off the addiction, and he knew that. In and out of rehab wasn't his ideal spot to recover. Stephen dreaded leaving his family and missing out on holidays and birthdays to go to rehab, but he always pushed himself to go.

As he started confronting all of his mistakes, following his 12 step program, his anxiety kept building up.

Now after his passing, I hope those who pushed him away when he needed them the most, regret losing such an amazing person, brother, and best friend. And come to realize that not all that shows up on the news and in the papers is always the truth behind the story.

Rest in Peace Stephen P. Hudec 3/11/92 - 12/21/12

To learn more about addition and substance dependence please read this http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/addiction/. If someone you know has this, it's time to find them help and give them the hope they need to fight this addiction and live a normal life again.

Jane Ditmore February 02, 2013 at 02:48 PM
As a close family friend we loved Stephen for who he was inside. He always had the greatest respect for me because he was brought up in a loving caring home. Being led astray by something as horrible as addiction is something every parent fears. He was well loved by all who truly knew the "real" Stephen. Rest in peace adopted son. Love you always Mrs. D :)
Stephanie February 03, 2013 at 12:38 AM
He was always there for me in high-school. The one who always offered a smile and a hug. The one who cheered me on when I was doing the color guards at the football games when I was in AFJROTC. I can't believe he is gone. Steven You Will Always be in my heart.
Susan M. February 04, 2013 at 03:10 AM
My heart breaks for his family and for this poor boy, who had to endure so much pain with his addiction and knowing he broke his parent's hearts. RIP Stephen.
Christine February 04, 2013 at 03:42 AM
My heart aches for the hudec family. This horrible addiction has affected our family as well. We have a good family. I ask myself everyday what went wrong. What didn't I do? My faith has helped me in these dark times. Something needs to be changed with the way the government is handling people who are addicted to drugs. I believe rehab should be geared more to an individual not a one size fits all. Many addicts don't stay clean after one time. I don't know the answer but whatever the government is doing now isn't working. God bless the hudec family.


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