His sometimes-happy, sometimes-tumultuous life took a few unusual turns. One turn took him to Rome where he met and fell in love and was married.
But addiction to prescription medication plagued Jonathan until the day he died in Rome, in the woods, alone. He was 29.
His father Mike has recently published a book. It’s Jonathan’s story but told from Jonathan’s perspective. Using journal entries, personal anecdotes and contributions from the people who know and loved Jonathan, Mike Dacy has put together a book that honors his son but which speaks to individuals and families affected by addiction.
Ultimately, it is a book about love — and how love allowed a family to look past one man’s demons to see what was truly there.
“Jonathan is my son and it happened to any of my kids I’d want to honor them,” said Mike Dacy of his new book ‘Jonathan Behind Blue Eyes.’ “When I started going through all of his stuff I came across a lot of things he wrote. I found his journals from when he was growing up. And the family supported doing the book. This book is from Jonathan. If this was a film, he’d be the producer. I’m just the director.”
The book takes readers through Jonathan’s life, from his childhood in Chicago, his family’s move to Florida and Jonathan’s choice to live with his dad in Atlanta when his parents divorced, and eventually his pursuit of a loving relationship in Rome.
“He started having severe migraines at about age 13,” Mike said. “I would take him to the doctor and he’d take pills for it and sometimes they got better. But when he was introduced to Oxycontin at around 18 years old, that’s when he found relief from them. But then he started taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication which were all prescribed but he went back and forth to different pharmacies and doctors to get different prescriptions filled and he self medicated heavily.”
Mike remembers times when Jonathan was very happy, and other times when he would have emotional breakdowns in public when he was high. He could be extremely sensitive and would cry easily.
“One time he walked out of his bathroom and collapsed,” Mike said. “I thought he had died. He could be sitting there eating and just pass while the spoon was halfway to his mouth. That happened sometimes when he had self medicated.”
In April 2009, Jonathan met Tiffany, a nurse and photographer living in Rome. They met online and met shortly after. They seemed to be drawn together by what Tiffany says was a strong spiritual bond, despite his addiction.
“He was a really interesting person,” Tiffany remembered. “He wrote extremely well. And once I met him in person I could see he was a very deep thinker. We had a lot in common. We could sit and talk for hours on end and never run out of anything to say. And he was very handsome.”
Jonathan told Tiffany about his addiction and that he was in a program in Cartersville to get off pain medication.
“I accepted that,” she said. “I cared about him as a person and I could see who he really was.”
Despite his addiction, Jonathan and Tiffany were married in 2010 at the courthouse in Cartersville.
“We were very happy together,” she said. “The addiction would pop up every so often and he might have to go stay with his dad for little while but I tried to separate the addict from the true Jonathan.”
On April 23, 2010, Jonathan went missing. He simply left. Mike, Tiffany, family, friends and even strangers helped search for him and distributed fliers throughout Rome.
Someone saw him in the Coosa area and he was spotted at the hospital as well. After nine days, the search ended when Jonathan’s body was found in the woods near some railroad tracks on John Davenport Drive. The coroner concluded that Jonathan had lethal amounts of medication in his body.
“From a black and white standpoint I can see where they would call it a suicide,” Mike said. “But Jonathan always said that when he was ready to give up the drugs, he would go into the woods and find God. I think that’s what he was doing.”
The book, “Jonathan Behind Blue Eyes,” contains fond memories of Jonathan as well as heartbreaking words from Mike, Jonathan’s mom Terri, Tiffany and from Jonathan himself. The following is an excerpt from the book. It was taken from Jonathan’s journal and is a letter to his addiction while he was in the hospital in 2004…
Jonathan Dalmond Dacy:
February 7, 2004
I know I haven’t seen you in a few days. I’m writing to you to let you know where I’m at and what’s going on with me. But first, I want to thank you. I remember when we first met. You were always there for me. Whenever I started to get a headache you were willing to take away my pain. Do you remember? I’ll never forget that. I started having migraines all the time, and so you were there with me all the time. Before I knew it, we were best friends. I wanted to have you around all the time. And you were. Not only would you take away my pain, but you gave me confidence, you made me feel so good. Before I knew it, you were the only reason I wanted to get up in the morning. I appreciate your willingness to make me happy. But just one thing, where the ... are you now? Why did you take all my money? Oh, it’s OK, I only have a son to raise. I only had car payments and rent payments. But you didn’t seem to care about that. Oh, it’s no big ... deal. I’m only in a hospital now because of you. You wonder where I’ve been lately? I’ve been ... miserable.”
The book also contains wonderful words from Jonathan and the family — messages of love and hope and patience.
In the final chapters, Mike recounts the family’s desperate search through Rome for Jonathan, including conversations with family members right up until his body was found and immediately after.
“Jonathan always wanted to be certified and educated to help people with addiction problems,” Mike said. “That was a big motivator to write this book as well. In a way, this is his way of doing that.”
Jonathan has a son, Remy, who is now 11 and who is very proud of the book. He visits Jonathan’s grave site with Mike and asks questions about his dad often.
Mike said Jonathan would have been proud of the book.
“It’s exactly what he would have wanted since he couldn’t be here physically to put the book together himself,” Mike said. “His wish was to help people and to teach about living and loving life. This isn’t just about addiction. It’s about how to live a life of love.”
“Jonathan Behind Blue Eyes” is available online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com as well as through the publisher, Balboa Press.