September 18, 2018
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Maine family loses second son in less than a year to drug addiction

Courtesy of Rachel Curtis
Courtesy of Rachel Curtis
Sean Michael Yankowsky
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

Two months after David and Shelly Yankowsky spoke to 500 people about the death last year of their son, Adam, of an opioid overdose at the age of 25, their younger son, Sean, succumbed to his drug addiction.

Sean Michael Yankowsky, 21, died Saturday of a drug overdose at a friend’s home in Bangor, his mother said Monday.

Adam David Yankowsky died Aug. 7 at his parents’ home in Glenburn.

Dave Guthro | Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
Dave Guthro | Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
Maine State Trooper David Yankowsky and his wife, Shelly Yankowsky, a police dispatcher, speak at an April 25 interfaith opioid healing service about the death of their son Adam Yankowsky of an overdose at their home last year.

Shelly Yankowsky of Glenburn said Monday that she knows her boys are together again and at peace because they no longer are struggling with their addictions.

“Every parent only ever wants their children to be happy,” she said. “I think that’s every parent’s goal. Sean was so broken up over his brother’s death. I know both of my children are in heaven and are happy together.”

[‘It’s easy to shut addicts out. Instead, find help’: Dispatcher who heard her son’s overdose call brings message of hope]

Like his older brother, Sean attended Glenburn Elementary and All Saints Catholic School. They graduated from Bangor High School.

Adam’s birthday was June 19. Sean would have turned 22 on July 10.

“Sean and Adam are together in Heaven now,” the Yankowskys said in Sean’s obituary. “We know Adam is driving with Sean hanging his arm out the passenger side window with big grins on their faces. We are at peace knowing their internal suffering is over.”

The Yankowskys, who both are employed by the Maine State Police, have no other children but are helping raise their two young grandchildren, whose father is Adam.

Shelly Yankowsky posted Sean’s obituary on her Facebook page Monday morning. She and her husband believe it is important to be open about the impact drugs are having on young people in Greater Bangor.

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Shelly Yankowsky is reflected in her son's gravestone in Glenburn. Shelly’s son Adam Yankowsky died in August 2017 of a drug overdose.

Shelly told the gathering in April that it is important to remember that the person is not the addiction.

“Love your child and love them a lot and make sure they know you love them,” she said. “It is going to be very easy to scream and yell because you are at your wit’s end. It’s going to be very easy to shut them out of your life.”

[Maine saw 418 overdose deaths in 2017, continuing a deadly trend]

Bangor police continue to investigate Sean’s death to determine what drug or combination of drugs were in his system, his mother said.

A record 418 Mainers died last year of drug overdoses, including Adam, according to the Maine Attorney General’s Office. In the first quarter of this year, 86 people died. Sean’s death will be included in the 2018 overdose death figures.

Sean’s funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. John Catholic Church on York Street in Bangor. A private burial will be held at a later date.

For more information, visit the Penobscot Heals page on Facebook or call 942-6941. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call 211 or visit www.211maine.org.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.


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