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In Memorial

Reid Gorecki

September 9, 2004 - May 11, 2023

Reid Matthew Gorecki passed away at the age of 18 on Thursday May 11, 2023. Reid embodied an all encompassing creativity and tenderness of spirit he shared with the world through his art and his charismatic, funny, and sensitive personality. From infancy and through the entire span of his short life, his drive to make meaningful art and treat everyone with compassion and with fairness made a tremendous impact.

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Letter from Reid's mom:

Reid was my world. He was every morsel of every minute of thought, energy, and movement for the last 18 and a half years. As I sit here in our back yard struggling to gather my tears and words as I have been since his passing on May 11th, I lift my eyes in any direction and they fall on some manifestation of him. Traces of his mark and his gift to this world. Traces of his humor, his thoughtfulness and his forgetfulness, traces of his “all are welcome” thinking, his embrace of the act of creating as a way to connect with others and himself.

Sifting back in my memories to the first day I got to meet him at Huntington Hospital, He was late and it was so very hot, one of those well over 100 September days.  He just wasn’t quite ready to make his entrance, 30 hours after labor began, On September 9th, 2004 that beautiful little old man looking gorgeous old soul was in my arms and I was in love. 5 days in and I got my first smile, folks say that is early, but not for a kid whose singular mission on this earth was to relate and bond with others. 

We have been in Pasadena Reid’s whole life. We moved to our current home, a home with a soul as old as Reid’s, when he was just 13 months old. The backyard, that many of you wonderful friends know so well from recent years, was ever changing and a place for his forms of expression to take shape. As the child of artists, there were always sculptures, wood, tools, and an ever present mess of some kind here or there for him to imagine a world that exists only in his mind. A world that took shape as he battled with super villains, talked to bugs, identified flowers, climbed to the top of mountains to meet the gods, solved mysteries, slayed dragons, cast magical spells, swam in the ocean, flew to outer space and made a million and a half friends, all in that backyard. He was a solo child, but he was never alone out there, everyone that was in his head and every person he ever met was with him out there. Every time he went outside, he would ask me to come watch as he shared his imagination with me. I could pick my story, he wanted me to pick the story, he would give me options each day to choose from, he called it "Reidivision". He wanted me to feel a part of it, part of his creation, part of his story, this became the theme of his life. 

He spent his entire elementary and middle school years on a stage of some kind, in that backyard world, or on the one at Mckinley school, or as he hiked through the foothills, in friends houses and yards, on playgrounds, on walks, wherever he went, the stories he was drawing in a sketchbook, writing in his head or the characters he was cast as in a play, all where oozing out of him. I think these stories, had some incredible magical way of wrapping around the people in his life and pulling you in. His wonderful birth family, his chosen family of his friends, his teachers, the community, all of you were in those stories. All of you were there with him all the time, in the audience, on the stage, in the pages, in the words, flipping through the mountains of drawings, calling out encouragement, calling out understanding, offering him love. We all wanted to be part of his stories, part of his story. He was magnetic and always has been. 

As he transitioned to high school, the all encompassing creativity just kept building, and his passion to connect, relate, understand, and embrace everyone he met through his art and the warmth of his personality was bubbling up to a intensity sometimes even his struggled to keep up with. We all know Covid made being with people nearly impossible for the first year, and for Reid this was devastating. He loved being surrounded by people, and losing that contact impacted him tremendously. He held on and pushed forward through his art. He tried each and every day to make something, anything really, a doodle, a song, a script. In his recent self reflection for college applications, he said, “ Through my sketchbooks, my writing, my music, my sculpture, my film and animations I am coping, growing, and getting the never ending flood of ideas out of my head as best I can so they don’t overflow.” As pandemic restrictions lifted, he was able to once again put his love and himself back out in the world and bring it home too. Like his ideas, there was a never ending presence of friends in our small Pasadena home, he brought EVERYONE home. Well actually, I did, I was the mom who picked them all up and said yes to sleepovers. Reid was the person who accepted everyone, celebrated everyone, and wanted everyone to feel welcome. Ours is the house with 7 teenagers sleeping in the living room, and no matter how challenging that may have been, it was everything to see him smiling, laughing and creating with others. It most definitely was his happiest place. 

I think I will end this note here, in the place that Reid liked best. He is with us, and we have all some of him in our hearts and minds and we will all help him to keep the story going.

Reid is survived by his mother, Alicia Gorecki, his grandmother, Milli Gorecki, his aunts and uncles, Dan Gorecki (Lori), Dana Yaross (Joel), Aaron Gorecki (Summer), his cousins, Paige (Travis), Samantha (Jake), Hannah, Jordyn, Addison, Milanna, and extended family members. Reid is also survived by the exponential number of friends, teachers, supporters and community members who have lovingly embraced and encouraged his untamable passion to make art and treat everyone with love, acceptance, and to meet them where they are.


Support the story through following and sharing on @whereisreid and support our mission of youth mental health through art by making a purchase of Reid's work in the STORE

Additional Memorials and tributes on MYKEEPER memorial site

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